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The Ally Coalition, the LGBTQ advocacy organization founded by the pop-rock trio fun. (Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost, and Nate Ruess) and designer Rachel Antonoff, today announced the launch of an initiative to raise funds in support of the Ruth Ellis Center, the social services agency serving the needs of Detroit’s homeless, runaway and at-risk LGBTQ youth. An estimated 800 LGBTQ youth live on the streets of Detroit, and, last year, the Ruth Ellis Center provided hot meals, clothing, medical services and life skills training to more than half. The funds raised by TAC will benefit REC’s capital campaign to build a new Community Health Center, which will increase its capacity to help by 25 percent.
“The homelessness problem among LGBTQ youth in this country is nothing short of an epidemic, and the city of Detroit is in particular need of support right now. This campaign will be The Ally Coalition’s primary focus until the project is fully funded,” TAC co-founders Rachel Antonoff, Jack Antonoff, Andrew Dost and Nate Ruess said in a joint statement. (While LGBTQ comprise 5-7 percent of the general population, they represent up to 40 percent of the overall homeless youth population. These vulnerable youth are also far more likely than straight peers to be victims of depression, violence, bullying and suicide.)
Dost, a Detroit native, added, “The Ruth Ellis Center is an incredible organization, and what they’re doing in my hometown fills me with hope. It’s a place where people can get a good meal, can be among friends, and are welcome and safe no matter what.”
In an interview with Between The Lines last year, the “We Are Young” band’s guitarist, Jack Antonoff, was very vocal about the group’s passion for gay issues: “Being someone who others presume wouldn’t care, or even opposes gay rights, gives you an even greater power in speaking up for gay rights.”
The total cost of the project is expected to reach $250,000. A private donor is funding design and initial construction costs, and the goal of REC’s capital campaign is to secure the remaining funds.
Throughout its last three tours, fun. has donated $1 of each ticket sold to The Ally Coalition and TAC distributes these funds at the discretion of the band. The band has elected to use up to $50,000 of these funds to match the gifts of TAC donors to support the Ruth Ellis Center’s capital campaign.
To support this campaign, please visit http://www.theallycoalition.org/detroit.