Our Fund Foundation and The Pride Center at Equality Park announced new gap funding to provide financial assistance to help offset an increase in meeting room rental rates for existing health, wellness and support groups that meet at The Center. This funding will help fill the gap between what support groups paid for space before the pandemic and current rental rates.
“The health and wellness of South Florida’s LGBTQ+ community is Our Fund’s primary concern,” said Our Fund President & CEO David Jobin. “Many in our community were concerned that new rental rates would cause some groups to seek lower rental agreements at facilities outside of central Wilton Manors at venues that may not be hospitable to LGBTQ+ clients. We are proud to help remedy the situation.”
The Pride Center reopened rental spaces to group meetings this summer after being closed to face-to-face meetings for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Center established new room capacities and rental rates for each meeting room before reopening. This meant all rentals, including health and wellness groups, faced increased costs upon returning.
“We understand that The Pride Center needed to adjust fees,” says Jobin. “Both to bring equity among the diverse groups renting space and to help offset the many expenses that The Center has invested in rental spaces in recent years to greatly improve security, safety, air conditioning, sanitation, cleaning and COVID protocols.”
The Center’s costs for staff, security, utilities, cleaning and sanitation are exponentially higher now than when they moved and established The Equality Park campus in 2009. The Center has worked hard over many years to ensure that group rental rates remain low. Our Fund’s generosity can now offset more costs for groups.
“We want those seeking support to find a safe, welcoming home at The Center,” says The Pride Center at Equality Park CEO Robert Boo. “The Pride Center subsidizes and helps underwrite the costs of groups that meet on campus. We always have, and always will. That has been true throughout our history, remains true for every support group that meets on campus today and will remain the reality in the future.”
To provide a solution to that challenge, Jobin petitioned local businessperson and LGBTQ+ philanthropist, Michael Kalb for help subsidizing the financial gap.
“The Pride Center is a key institution in Broward County and making rental space available to support groups is a core component of their services,” said Kalb. “Along with Our Fund, I felt compelled to help ensure that members of recovery support groups can continue to attend regular, in-person meetings to receive uninterrupted, vital peer support and treatment at a place where many in the recovery community have met for many years.”
“Our message to the community is: This is your home and you are welcome here,” says Boo.