BY BTL STAFF
The David Bohnett Foundation, created in 1999 by the philanthropist and technology entrepreneur bearing its name, has recently awarded the Ruth Ellis Center with a CyberCenter grant, which will provide 10 new fully loaded Mac workstations for use by youth in the organization’s Drop-In Center.
Among other initiatives, The Foundation provides state-of-the-art computing technology to roughly 60 community spaces nationwide that directly serve people who identify as LGBTQ. REC received its first David Bohnett Foundation CyberCenter grant in 2008 and has continued to reapply and receive new hardware every three years. The new computers will arrive later this month.
“The David Bohnett CyberCenters are places where gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people can comfortably get on a computer, access services, and network with each other in a nurturing and supportive atmosphere,” says Paul Moore, program officer at the David Bohnett Foundation. “We are proud to be long-time partners with the Ruth Ellis Center in providing the lifesaving services to our LGBTQ youth.” The “refresh” grants, he adds, allow the CyberCenters to keep pace with constant advances in hardware and software.
Incorporated in 1999, REC is a youth social services agency with a mission “to provide short-term and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk” LGBTQ youth. The Second Stories Drop-In Center, located at its headquarters in Highland Park, serves anywhere from 30-75 youth on any given Drop-In day. The computers will provide young people access to vital technology to help them with academic achievement, job attainment, and social supports.
“Continued support from the David Bohnett Foundation has played an instrumental role in REC’s ability to serve LGBTQ youth experiencing barriers to housing, health, and wellness,” says Mark McCormick, director of Development & Advancement at REC. “As the Center continues to build upon its 17 years of service in this community, use of the David Bohnett CyberCenter is expected to increase in the coming months and years.”
The delivery of the computers will also coincide with #40toNoneDay, a campaign by the True Colors Fund that aims to support LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. Participants nationwide will post “unselfies” on social media on April 26 to bring attention to a startling statistic — 40 percent of LGBTQ youth experience homelessness, even though they account for only seven percent of young people in the U.S. The True Colors Fund is working to end homelessness among the LGBTQ youth as well as working to create a world where young people can be their true selves.
For more information about REC, visit http://www.ruthelliscenter.org.