What is your organization’s issue focus?
CenterLink is an international nonprofit organization and member-based association of LGBTQ centers and other LGBTQ organizations serving their local and regional communities. Our mission is to strengthen, support, and connect LGBTQ community centers. We currently have over 325 member LGBTQ centers worldwide providing essential services, promoting growth, wellness, and connectivity in their communities.
What is something your organization is currently prioritizing? Can you tell our readers a little about the goals of the campaign/project?
CenterLink and our programs are committed to providing services that better target and more effectively meet the capacity building needs of our 300+ LGBTQ+ community center members. We are currently focused on building advocacy capacity by helping centers to become powerful champions of change, at the local, state, and federal levels. We are also helping to expand the organizational capacity of centers by helping to increase their level of professionalism and community linkages. Finally, we are building a network of youth centers and community center youth programs that will provide training, technical assistance, and networking opportunities.
Do you have an “Advocacy Tip” to share or “Lesson Learned” while organizing this or other campaigns? Do you have any general words of wisdom that you’d like to share with other staff engaged in advocacy?
One thing I’ve learned while running ActionLink, the advocacy and policy branch of CenterLink, is that not every member center has the same capacity to do this kind of work. It’s our job at CenterLink to provide them with the best tools and support possible so that they can better educate their lawmakers and communities. That could be something as simple as providing one center with a graphic and social media post, to something as complex as helping another center create a statement or testimony.
Many of our member organizations work with both our Bolder Advocacy initiative and our Justice program. How has either or both most helped you? How have you worked with either or both?
Bolder Advocacy is an excellent initiative and CenterLink utilizes the resources very regularly. Many of our new member centers aren’t even aware that they can do advocacy work, and the materials on Bolder Advocacy give them assurance while providing details as to how the work can be done, and why it should be done.
Who inspires you??
My coworkers at CenterLink, along with the leaders of our vast LGBTQ+ center network, inspire me every single day. The work we do is not easy. It requires us to wear many hats, respond quickly, and continually think outside of the box. People are doing this kind of work because they love it and believe in the mission, not for the money or for accolades. I consider myself fortunate to be able to work alongside many of the top LGBTQ+ leaders in the country.
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