April showers Ruth Ellis Center with good news

By |2018-01-16T05:21:48-05:00October 31st, 2017|Uncategorized|

DETROIT – April has been a month of good news for Detroit’s Ruth Ellis Center. The LGBTQ organization received a grant, a humanitarian award, and held a successful fundraiser in Dearborn.
REC announced last week that it has been awarded a grant from the McGregor Fund for $65,000. The grant will be used to support and expand operations of the street outreach program and drop-in center for runaway, homeless and at-risk LGBT youth in Southeastern Michigan. Nationally, approximately 40 percent of homeless and runaway youth are LGBT.
“Ruth Ellis Center is proud to be the recipient of this award,” said Grace McClelland, the center’s executive director. “To have the McGregor Fund, a well respected funder in Detroit, award a young agency with a mission that is relatively new in social service, is a significant vote of confidence for our programs and our work with youth.”
On April 10 REC received the Tony Garneau humanitarian award at the annual Performers Awards of Detroit ceremony at Gigi’s. The award is named for the former owner of Gigi’s, who was well known for his generosity and who passed away in 1992.
The awards committee chose REC this year because of the center’s service to young people. Last year, Ruth Ellis Center had 9,807 contacts with youth through its street outreach program and drop-in center, making it one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation.
This year the center is expanding both its hours of operation and the variety of services provided at its drop in center. “We are excited to be moving to the next level of programming for our kids,” said McClelland.
“This award acknowledges not just the programs that we provide,” she continued, “it also recognizes the youth we serve, their needs and how important it is that they receive support and strong services.”
Also on April 10, the Lambda Alliance of the University of Michigan-Dearborn hosted a fundraiser for REC at the Tenny Street Roadhouse. The event was sponsored in part by Main Office Mailers and drew a crowd of about 50. Bands such as Electric Larry and Giva performed and helped raise just over $1,000.
“After the election everybody was so bummed out and I wanted to raise everyone’s spirits,” said Maria Hawkins of the Lambda Alliance, explaining her motives for putting together the evening. “It’s the right thing to do. It’s positive. It’s just good karma.”
Javona Williams, another Alliance member, was more direct.
“I think it’s really important that Detroit help Detroit,” she said. “You just don’t see enough of that anymore.”
Regardless of how the event got put together, Beth Bashert, director of development for REC, said she’s just glad it did.
“People had a great time,” she said. “The facility was a wonderful host, very friendly and supportive, and we’d definitely like to go back there again.”

About the Author:

Jason A. Michael
Jason A. Michael earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Wayne State University before joining Between The Lines as a contributing writer in 1999. Jason has received both the Spirit of Detroit Award (presented by the Detroit City Council) and the Media Award from the Community Pride Banquet & Awards Ceremony for his writing and activism. Jason is also an Essence magazine bestselling author having written the authorized biography "Strength Of A Woman: The Phyllis Hyman Story," which he released on his own JAM Books imprint.