Thank you. You opened our eyes. You challenged us. You said that we should be more for more people.
You reminded us that while our intentions are laudable, our execution isn’t always perfect. Events over the summer have given us the opportunity to see our imperfections through different lenses and learn more about who we are and who our community needs us to be.
Stonewall is changing. Not just what we do, but why and how we do it. We are analyzing our approach and our execution. We are implementing long-term strategies, not just short-term fixes. These are internal, structural changes that are difficult to see. But like the foundation of a house, they are the essential building blocks of a strong and inclusive future.
Those building blocks aren’t just a metaphor. Not only is Stonewall renovating our systems and expanding our capacity for service, we are also renovating and expanding the community center at 1160 N. High St.
Stonewall has long imagined not just a bigger space, but one that was fully accessible and reflected the beauty of the community being served. In December 2014, community members Mary Jo Hudson and Tom Grote and allies Nancy Kramer and Tom Katzenmeyer volunteered to lead the most ambitious fundraising campaign Stonewall has ever undertaken – Stonewall Builds. They set a goal of $3.5 million in new, capital dollars to fund the renovation and expansion.
More than forty other community members stepped up as volunteer Stonewall Builds fundraisers and together they have raised $3.4 million.
While we are incredibly proud of the support we’ve received from the City of Columbus, more than a dozen local businesses, and over 200 community members, our foundation is incomplete. We need ALL of you.
Our desire is for everyone in the community to be part of the new Stonewall, and this is our first chance to not only say that, but to demonstrate it.
We invite ALL of our community to join us for Signing Day. See plans for the new building, share your thoughts about future programming, and literally become part of the new building by signing a steel structural beam. It is but one step on our journey, but a step we would love to take with all of you.
As we work diligently on the structure of our organization and the structure of our new building, we will continue to provide service to the community. From a young person who runs away from a religiously intolerant family and into our office to a senior who is burdened with loneliness until they take a trip to the theater with 20 new friends, we are here.
Stonewall Columbus – uplifting the LGBTQ community so that ALL of us THRIVE.