The Ruth Ellis Center, a non-profit dedicated to LGBT homeless, runaway and at-risk youth, is currently fundraising with a goal of $100,000 before the end of September.
Every $2 raised by the center will be matched by $1 from the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan as part of its yearlong program to aid emergency food and shelter organizations.
Last month REC launched a new, easy-to-use donation tool on their website. People can donate money with just a few clicks at http://www.ruthelliscenter.org.
“(The fundraiser) is going exceptionally well,” said Director Laura Hughes. “So often LGBT youth fall through the cracks and this outpour of support clearly shows there’s a commitment to LGBT youth in the community.”
The center must raise $80,000 to receive the full grant given by the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan. Currently the center has raised more than $65,000 in six months.
While the non-profit has felt the economic recession as most businesses and organizations have, the center continues to find support:
“It is really the youth in our area who are most affected by the economy. We are just fortunate to have the trust of our donors who know their dollars will be leveraged forward,” Hughes said. “Their support is what lets us support more LGBT youth.”
According to a study in 2007 by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, up to 40 percent of homeless youth in America identify as LGBT.
Along with general operating costs, the funds raised will assist the center’s three programs. Second Stories offers hygienic supplies, clothing, meals, Internet access and weekly support groups. The center also offers two residential programs: The structured Semi-Independent Living Program for 12 to 17-year-olds and the Transitional Living Program, an up to 18-month independent living arrangement for 16 to 21-year-olds.
Alternative to donation, the REC also seeks volunteers to mentor youth preparing to become independent. It is reaching out to local businesses hoping to acquire internship opportunities, so that the center’s young adults can gain job experience.
Donations to the Ruth Ellis Center can be made online or by mail to address 77 Victor St., Detroit MI, 48203.