It's a bright outcome for the Gay Community Center of Richmond. The center is staying put, after months of uncertainty. The organization put its building on Sherwood Avenue up for sale after it was no longer able to afford it during the not-so-bright economy.
Moving would have meant that GCCR and its Diversity Thrift store downsizing. GCCR director, Bill Harrison, says the organization would have had to pay more money to lease a new building, while likely not being able to raise as much. That's because GCCR wouldn't have been able to pay for a space big enough to house bingo nights, the thrift shop and space for other non-profit groups to meet. Bingo nights score a major boost in funding for GCCR, as do sales from Diversity Thrift.
"We would not be able to take bingo with us. We would never have been able to afford a facility large enough to have a thrift store and bingo," said Harrison.
The organization opens its doors to other non-profit groups needing space to meet. Salem Acuna says his group, Southerners On New Ground, or SONG, gathers monthly at the big, rainbow building.
"Having the center here as a free space for all sorts of different organizations and groups to access is really, really vital to our work," said Acuna.
Harrison says a smaller place without bingo would have made for smaller donations to the other charities, like the Fan Free Clinic, the Historical Society, and the Holocaust Museum of Virginia.
However, GCCR was able to survive and pulled the for sale sign last week. "We've cut some expenses. We've tightened our belts," said Harrison, whose been CEO of GCCR since February.
By December, the Harrison says GCCR will have up to $20,000 dollars available to donate to other charities in the community. This is something they haven't been able to do for about three years, under the struggling economy.
Harrison says much of the support is also from people outside the GLBT community.
"The attitudes on the gay community are changing. (The more people get to know us) they realize the more we have in common, than the more we have in difference. And that's been a significant factor in us getting back on our feet," said Harrison.
GCCR has donated approximately $750,000 dollars to charities since it began in 1999.
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