CHARLOTTE — In May, the Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund (CLGF) will host its third annual “Happening,” a lunch-time gathering of community members, leaders and supporters across the city. There, the group plans to honor those organizations receiving grants from the Fund this year. They’ll also hear from keynote speaker, Mayor Anthony Foxx.

CLGF Chair Pete Bonneau told qnotes he’s excited about each of the organizations, projects and programs chosen for this year’s round of grants totaling over $40,000. Bonneau said he’s proud to extend funding to unique programs like those of the Lionel Lee Jr. Center for Wellness.

The Lee Center serves those who are uninsured, underinsured or chronically ill, assisting them and their family members in meeting immediate needs. The group focuses on those suffering from cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, depression and other physical and mental illnesses affecting African-Americans.

The Lee Center’s funds are provided through a “Community Connections” grant meant for mainstream organizations working with or reaching out to LGBT people.

“They don’t just cater to LGBTs,” Bonneau said. “It was really touching for me. When you look at so many other groups, you think about how they got started — it’s all grassroots. Our grant will help them make a name for themselves. It felt nice to be able to create funding for the group and help them grow.”

The CLGF’s Happening, taking place May 13 at the Omni Hotel in Uptown Charlotte, will include speakers from the Fund’s board and keynoter, Mayor Foxx. The mayor’s appearance at the luncheon marks the first time a local elected official has appeared at a Fund event and the first time a sitting Charlotte mayor has spoken to an LGBT group in at least a decade.

“The Happening is a very important event that helps us to understand our responsibility in the community,” Bonneau said. “We’ll be looking for new support for the Fund, either through a donation or volunteer efforts, and, of course, a celebration of the successes we’ve had.”

Bonneau wouldn’t elaborate on the specifics of the Fund’s “successes,” but the group has been working feverishly for the past few months to match a $100,000 challenge issued by local philanthropist Sandy Berlin. Issued at last year’s Happening, about $30,000 was collected toward the challenge by the end of that event.

Bonneau hopes the Fund continues to grow “exponentially” and said future growth will ensure community strength.

“It is a great long-term approach to solving a problem that is evident today,” he said. “I would invite others to get involved and get excited with us and help move forward so we can fund more and more.” : :

— Learn more about the fund and reserve your space at The Happening by calling 704-665-1888 or by visiting

CLGF grant recipients

Operating grants ($47,000)
Campus Pride $7,000
Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte $7,500
Lional Lee, Jr. Wellness Center $5,000
One Voice Chorus $7,500
Time Out Youth $20,000

Community Connections grants ($20,000)
Campus Pride for a Charlotte, NC College Fair $2,600
Charlotte Pride Band start up $2,500
Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte for Community Choral Workshop Series $3,350
Holy Covenant United Church of Christ for workshop with Michael Piazza $2,500
Planned Parenthood Health Systems for new LGBTQA youth curriculum development $2,300
Theatre Charlotte for a new play about LGBTQ youth $3,750
Time out Youth for youth community service project $3,000

— Courtesy CLGF.

Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.

One reply on “Charlotte Fund announces grant recipients”

  1. Congratulations to all the grant recipients and thank you to the CLGF for their continued hard work and support of our community.

    I find it interesting that the Community Center did not receive a grant this year.

    Speaking of the Community Center, what’s going on with that anyway? Ever since it moved from the Plaza-Midwood location it’s like it fell off the face of the earth. The old location was much better. Well not the parking lot it was in terrible condition and very small. I understand the space was expensive too, but at least it was not hidden away. It had more than 2 rooms. The atmosphere was warm and welcoming. The new place is hard to find – even with the opening of the new street. The location is hardly welcoming. The entrance is nearly invisible – like we are being forced to sneak in a back door. With the exception of that little rainbow flag on that sad little flagpole, there’s no sign ouside indicating the Center is even there.

    On the plus side, parking was no problem. But that changed when the clubs, opened up. I stopped going to any events at the Center after a run in I had with 2 parking valets that blocked me in one evening. I actually had to argue with them to move a couple of vehicles to let me out of the parking lot!

    There are more serious issues with the Center other than location. Things like leadership and actually living up to the Center Values and Goals displayed on their website.

    There are many questions too that no one seems to be asking.

    *When does the Board meet?
    *How long do Board members serve?
    *How can interested parties apply to serve on the Board?
    *Where are the by-laws, minutes from meetings, etc. so the public can read them?
    *Why is there no annual accounting or financial statement available on the website?
    *Have the money problems been fixed? (Must be since there is hardly any fundraising going on – there is no way a bowling event or Pride can raise enough money to cover the annual budget.)
    *Why the invisibility and secrecy?

    Oh dear, it seems my comments on the article have turned into a rant about the Community Center. But I am so frustrated and disgusted because it seems no one else is talking about this. I used to support the Center with my time and my money but no more. Not until there is dramatic AND sustained improvement.

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