raleighcenter_logo_smRALEIGH — Building upon a successful “strategic partnership” announced in late 2009, the LGBT Center of Raleigh and Triangle Community Works (TCW) have merged under the name of the Center. Announced in April, the merger is complete and the two organizations are currently operating as one.

Established in 1994, TCW was best known for its unique programming for LGBT community members, including youth group ASPYN, the GLBT Helpline, M Club and other community and educational initiatives. Bobby Hilburn, Center executive director, said it made sense for the two organizations to combine their resources.

“It allows us to both grow together,” he told qnotes. “TCW had been around for quite sometime and done a good job in the community offering programs it needed. But their name wasn’t largely recognized by a lot of people and their focus was on aiding the community through programming; they didn’t have the ability to do the fundraising as well as we have done so far.”

Hilburn said Center directors also felt like they shouldn’t “reinvent the wheel” and replicate services already being performed well by another area organization.

In a message to TCW supporters on April 11, former TCW chair Nick Buchser said the merger would benefit the local LGBT community.

“Together the impact of our services and the center’s momentum and resources, the LGBT Communites shall be greatly enriched,” Buchser wrote. “We are all very excited about the potential of this solidifying development

The merger brings two former members of the TCW Board of Directors into membership on the Center’s board of trustees. Buchser and former vice chair Andrea Mastrobuono, will oversee a new programming board.

“The programming board will operate in the same function [as TCW did] leading the programs they already have in place,” Hilburn said. “We will focus on fundraising, promotion and marketing.”

The Center’s board of trustees are also planning on discussing more in-depth plans and a revised budget. A strategic planning meeting will be held on May 8.

The LGBT Center of Raleigh’s grand opening is slated for this Friday, May 7, 6 p.m.- 10 p.m. at 316 W. Cabarrus St.

info: lgbtcenterofraleigh.com

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