2015 Impact Statement
More People...More Services
In 2015, the LGBT Network reached and helped more people than ever before with a growing number of programs and services for LGBT people, their allies, and support systems. The organization educated and trained more people, helped more youth get support, increased the number of people enrolling in health insurance, conducted more HIV tests, created more workshops and training curriculums, … and more!
- Largest Coming Out Campaign Ever: LIGALY coordinated its largest National Coming Out Day Campaign ever with 83 schools participating, engaging more than 87,000 students and educators. 22 of the schools participated for the first time. This one-day campaign engages entire school communities to take a stand against anti-LGBT bullying by wearing rainbow ribbons or “ally” stickers, organizing educational activities, and coordinating presentations. LIGALY conducted 22 training workshops to build youth leadership and help coordinate the campaign at schools.
- Helping Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Clubs Stop Bullying: LIGALY delivered a record-breaking 36 sessions of training for gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs, helping youth leaders to address bullying through peer education, awareness campaigns, and school organizing. LIGALY helped to start 2 new GSA clubs, while working with 4 additional schools to start GSA clubs through training and support. LIGALY also held a GSA Mixer to bring youth leaders from different schools together to network and learn about making the biggest impact with their GSA club.
- Ensuring Schools Address the needs of Transgender Students: LIGALY performed faculty-wide trainings about the NY State Education Department “Guidance to School Districts for Creating a Safe and Supportive School Environment for Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students,” helping staff understand and implement the new guidance so that schools are safe and supportive for the needs of transgender students.
- Anti-Bullying Education: LIGALY’s Safe Schools Initiative delivered 260 workshops to more than 6,386 students in Long Island schools that reduce bullying against LGBT youth and prevent suicide.
- Training School Staff: LIGALY delivered 37 trainings for 1,464 school staff and administrators about how to address and prevent anti-LGBT bullying in schools.
- 15th LIGALY Prom: 15 years after LIGALY held “America’s first-ever full-fledge suburban gay prom,” this year’s prom was another great party for LGBT youth and their allies to gather and celebrate year’s end without fear of harassment and bullying.
- Helping more homeless LGBT youth: As the epidemic of homelessness among LGBT youth continues, LIGALY worked with the county Departments of Social Services to secure housing for LGBT youth and link them to needed services.
Education and Training
- More Education, More Support: The LGBT Network’s expanded its education work with its new Training and Leadership Institute, increasing its capacity to reach and train more community and government providers, including staff at Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center, Family and Children Association, Nassau County Department of Social Services, nursing homes, and over 150 new recruits in the Suffolk County Police Academy. The new Institute also developed its offerings of training to increase knowledge and skills to supporting transgender people with two additional workshops.
- Helping People get Health Insurance: Project HELM (Health Enrollment for the LGBT Market) is expanding outreach at local libraries and food banks, including innovative solutions like “setting up shop” at a local eating establishment to enroll all of their employees in health insurance helping the LGBT Network reach and serve more people.
- Sex Education in our Schools: LIGALY is conducting sexual health education curriculums in high-need Long Island schools, that creates a safe-space for all youth to talk freely about sex, while training youth about how to serve as peer educators with messages about safer sexual activities.
- Major Expansion of HIV/AIDS Outreach, Testing, Support, and Education: The LGBT Network was awarded three new major grants to expand its HIV/AIDS work, supporting the organization’s efforts to help more people living with HIV/AIDS such as linkages to health services, getting more people tested for HIV, outreach to more people, and increased education efforts.
- Leading cutting-edge HIV prevention efforts: The LGBT Network launched a comprehensive outreach and education effort for the LGBT community to learn about PReP and PEP, the new medications that help combat the transmission of HIV.
- Helping more people know their status: The LGBT Network conducted 317 HIV tests, helping more people know their HIV status, and to connect those who are positive with needed services and support.
Community Services & Community Building
- 25th Long Island Pride Parade and Festival: The LGBT Network celebrated 25 years of Long Island Pride with this year’s event, attracting a record 18,000 attendees for a day of entertainment, exhibitor booths, food, a Kid Zone, and VIP Lounge to celebrate LGBT equality and pride.
- 20th LGBT Conference: The LGBT Network held its 20th annual LGBT Conference at Stony Brook University welcoming more than 400 youth, educators, counselors, and other community members and professionals for a full day of empowerment and leadership building.
- New Initiative to Help LGBT-headed Families: The LGBT Network launched “Center Families,” a new program to help LGBT people start and grow their families, and building a community of LGBT-headed families. As part of the initiative, the LGBT Network is working with the Department of Social Services to help LGBT people become adoptive and foster parents, while training other prospective foster parents about to support an LGBT foster child.
- A Home for more Transgender People: The LGBT Network’s transgender support program – Long Island Trans Experience (LITE) – is helping more transgender people and their support networks than ever before. Weekly groups are welcoming the largest and most consistent participation ever.
- Empowering LBT Women: The LGBT Network held its first LBT Women’s Weekend Retreat to bring together women of all ages for a fun and educational weekend. The event enhanced the cohesiveness of the LBT women we serve, building bridges between ages and among various gender and sexual identities.
- More services for LGBT Victims of Domestic Violence: The LGBT Network’s Anti-Violence Project – Long Island served more LGBT victims of domestic violence this year with the addition of more intensive services, such as court room advocacy and assistance with filing Order of Protection.
- Providing Support: The LGBT Network’s Counseling, Advocacy, Resources, and Education (CARE) Program served 337 people with counseling and support groups. Staff fielded 585 HELP Line calls and provided more than 1,400 referrals.
- Social Networking: A renewed commitment to social media is helping the LGBT Network reach more people and increase its visibility – its presence reaches more than 10,000 each month.
- Connecting with Home-bound LGBT Older Adults: SAGE-LI launched its Friendly Visitor Program, a service that connects and trains volunteers to visit homebound LGBT older adults to help them with daily needs and provide social support, especially for those who suffer from isolation and family rejection, or who have no children or family. We’re helping LGBT older adults in need of socialization and connection to the community.
- Aging Proudly: SAGE-LI served 287 LGBT older adults with weekly programs and special events that build community, reduce isolation, and help keep active – it is a lifeline of support, particularly for LGBT older adults who have been rejected from their families and live alone.
Community Engagement & Partnerships
- A Leader and Voice for the LGBT community: The LGBT Network plays a leadership role on over 45 committees and coalitions on local, regional, statewide and national levels to ensure that the voices and experiences of the LGBT community are represented in important community and policy-level decision-making processes. The results speak for themselves: The LGBT Network’s leadership has resulted in the inclusion of LGBT people in vital surveys and efforts by other service agencies to make their services more LGBT-affirming.
- Partnering for Inclusion and Impact: The LGBT Network collaborates in more than 20 collaborative projects with other organizations to ensure the inclusion and support of LGBT people. This includes a partnership with Family Residences and Essential Enterprises (FREE), a non-profit committed to empowering individuals with disabilities to realize their full potential, to serve LGBT people of all abilities. Additionally, the LGBT Network established a new partnership this year with Community Action for Social Justice (CASJ), a non-profit committed to improving the health and quality of life for individuals who inject drugs, so that the LGBT Network can reach more LGBT people at very high risk for HIV/AIDS, and to facilitate connections to HIV testing and substance abuse treatment.
LGBT Network Capacity & Growth
- Flagship LGBT Center Announced: The LGBT Network announced its work towards a new, flagship eco-friendly community center in Patchogue. The effort was recognized by the region’s Economic Development Council and has already been awarded two grants totaling $1 million in support. The center will host and launch a variety of new programs to serve more people in more ways. Coming in 2016.
- Expansion into Queens: The LGBT Network announced in February its expansion into Queens so that it can reach and serve more LGBT people in need of services. The LGBT Network has already achieved great results working with schools to deliver anti-bullying education, to start gay-straight alliance (GSA) clubs, and advocate for inclusive policies.
- International Recognition: LGBT Network CEO David Kilmnick was selected by the U.S. Embassy of New Zealand to represent the United States at its LGBT conference in Auckland, recognizing the LGBT Network’s accomplishments and innovation. Subsequently, an international LGBT youth exchange program was created to foster international education and networking.
- Helping LGBT Centers Nationally: The LGBT Network won a $600,000 competitive federal grant to launch and lead a national effort to help and train LGBT community centers to establish services for LGBT victims of domestic violence.
- Building Capacity and Sustainability: The LGBT Network expanded its donor base on the East End with the launch of two new summer events in Bridgehampton and Sag Harbor, building sustainability for the Hamptons LGBT Center.