- The initiative to study the possibility of having an LGBTQIA2..community center here in Roanoke began. Several brief but telling community surveys were done in the previous two years re. Communications in our community, and also interest in a community center. An initial web site: GLBTRoanoke.com came out of those results which indicated a dire need for communication, and the widespread desire for a visible, effective community center.
- The initial meeting in February 2011 was a call for interest, to gauge if our community was willing to say “yes” let’s form a study committee to explore the idea of a center. The attendees voted unanimously to begin that effort.
- Initial efforts were made by the committee (about a dozen) to look at various area community centers, discuss and create a basic flow plan and documents for Phase I of the initiative, and to plan and conduct surveys of community leaders and of our diverse community in general. The goal was to measure interest and support for a possible center here in Roanoke. This would be the basis on which to either continue to Phase II, or to stop the effort at the end of Phase I.
- The committee reviewed all of the survey results and discussed in depth those questions of community interest and support. The question of interest was overwhelmingly positive from all segments of our community, as well as from community leaders. Survey results re. potential for adequate support from the community and leaders were mixed, however positive enough to deem it satisfactory. The decision to proceed to Phase II was made, again by unanimous vote. From the survey results obtained, it is clear that our community has a desire for a visible, supportive, effective and fun community center here in Roanoke.
- The RDC obtained it’s long awaited 501 ( c ) (3) IRS tax status as a non profit organization . Donations to the Roanoke Diversity Center are now tax deductible to the extent of the law. Please consider helping us with this community-building effort. Thank you.
- The RDC effort continues...Join Us. We completed a Film Festival at the Taubman Museum of Art and Shadowbox Cinema venues leading up to the Roanoke Pride in the Park Festival, attended a large Centerlink - LGBT Community Center Summit conference in Richmond, and we are now continuing efforts with a benefit fashion-talent-silent auction show on Oct 13th at Arzu Restaurant here in downtown Roanoke. Please consider attending and/or helping as you can with this event. Thank you ! Work will now also proceed with RDC program development, fund raising/grant writing, volunteer development, space research and budget projections. Do you have an idea for programming, do you want to use your passion to push things along?? PLEASE join us..whether your commitment can be large or small, short or long term, we want and need your help! We would love to chat with you by e-mail, or in person at your convenience. You may also attend one of our Board or subcommittee meetings if you wish.
- The RDC Board has begun planning for, and will be initiating in the near future, several program elements in the areas of African American LGBT Young Adult Support, and also Elderly LGBT Support. Please join us and be a part of this planning and development process. All are welcome…and did we mention that we really need your help? Thank you.
- Several Board members will meeting with the director of Centerlink in Ft. Lauderdale,Fl in mid November to discuss the RDC plans, what areas it may need assistance with, etc etc. This is the national organization which supports many LGBT community centers around the country, and the RDC is proud to be a member.
- The RDC has plans to move into its first operational space at MCC Blue Ridge …ground floor, located at 806 Jamison Ave SE, Roanoke,VA 24013. This will be our initial operating space …a safe, effective and comfortable space for all.
- The RDC welcomed Josh Olinger of VWCC - Human Rights Club leader as a student intern for four months. The RDC welcomes Josh and says Thank you for choosing us!
- The RDC prepared its first space at MCC Blue Ridge, to open Feb. 22nd ! Come join us!
- The RDC has its grand opening! Thanks to all who have contributed to seeing this vision come to fruition for our community! Join Us! We have initial hours of: Sat..4pm-6pm, Sun 9am-11am, Wed & Fri..5:30pm-8pm.
- The RDC begins social programming and volunteer recruitment. Space enhancements, office equipment etc is obtained.
- The RDC obtains multimedia equipment including a projector, screen, and a 60” HDTV via contributions to a fundrazr campaign. A blanket MPLC license is obtained and routine film showings are initiated. A PS3 game system is donated to the RDC and “Game Nights” now include a wide variety of video games.
- The RDC holds its first “Diversity Summer Camp” at Craig Springs Campground and Retreat Center. (July 31st-Aug 4th). It is attended by ~30 and is very well received by participants and by the media.
- The RDC initiates several eight-week support groups for those having serious problems with coming out, and for those dealing with serious illnesses. The RDC is very grateful to the four area counselors who helped plan and facilitate those groups at the RDC.
- The RDC is approved as a state grant recipient with the Roanoke Drop-In Center to plan and facilitate MSM… Out, Proud, Aware events. The RDC is proud to work directly with the Drop-In Center in regards to HIV prevention efforts.
- The RDC becomes fiscal sponsor for the Informative Q Magazine. Board membership is 13, including 4 Board officers. Plans for the 2nd Annual Diversity Camp scheduled for Aug 5th-10th are underway. The camp is expanded to 5 days. Gradual increase in donations to the RDC. Small support groups and workshops, speaker’s Bureau outreach/educational events, as well as social events including many (weekly) film showings are strong points in RDC programming.
- The RDC held its Diversity Camp during the summer of 2015 at Craig Springs Campground and Retreat in New Castle, VA. This event doubled in size over 2014 and was filled with activities including hiking, swimming, and music, dancing’ workshops and a camp fire to sit around at night and roasted marshmallows and made s’mores. The impact on the attendees are life changing. If you would like to donate to the Camp Fund go to https://rdc.nationbuilder.com/diversity_camp_scholarship_fund
- The RDC Winter Fête was held on December 13th, at the Patrick Henry Ballroom. The event featured DJ Bobby Hash with dinner and the Grave Dancers Burlesque performing. There was a silent auction that was filled with a multitude of donations made by friends from all over the Roanoke Valley. We honored Frank House, Richard Sifton & Suzanne Asheley.Original plans were for around 70-75 attendees and that number turned into 125. Hope to see you for the 2016 Winter Fête.