The Collaborative: A New LGBTQ Collaboration
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center (The Center), Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center (Callen-Lorde) are excited – during LGBT Health Awareness Week – to announce a path-breaking, joint health equity initiative across our organizations called The Collaborative. While each organization will retain its independent status and work, we share an important, overlapping history, including various partnerships over the years. The Collaborative will create a new relationship with one singular goal: improving health and quality of life for LGBTQ people of all ages. The launch of The Collaborative is the result of more than a year of preparatory efforts, funded in part with visionary support from the New York Community Trust.
SAGE, Callen-Lorde and The Center have long been dedicated to achieving their common goal of improved quality of life, health and wellness, and equity for the entire LGBTQ community. The Collaborative will build upon the existing strengths of each organization, focusing on a streamlined integration of services. The Collaborative will seek to create improved access to a comprehensive continuum of services and care for LGBTQ individuals throughout their lives, across the entirety of New York City. In addition, The Collaborative will explore access to new revenue streams in order to expand services for the community, to support our shared efforts, and to foster the ongoing financial sustainability and stability of our individual organizations.
Health disparities are a result of social inequalities. Homophobia, transphobia, and racism have had devastating impacts on our communities. They result in violence, discrimination, lack of access to a living wage, and lack of access to competent healthcare and long term care, to name a few. There have been significant policy changes on federal and state levels impacting LGBTQ health, such as the legalization of same-sex marriage and expanded transgender health benefits through the New York State Medicaid program and inclusion mandates on commercial insurance. However, the impact of these policy changes is insufficient to address the breadth of LGBTQ health disparities and their root causes, particularly for our most marginalized communities. To make matters worse, traditional funding sources for community services are shrinking, even while the need for those services is growing. One potential bright light is the opportunity for partnership between the health care sector and community-based service organizations like ours to improve community health outcomes. In this context, last year New York Community Trust provided seed funding to our three organizations to explore the feasibility of establishing The Collaborative. Having determined that there is great need for enhanced coordination and great opportunity to join forces on behalf of LGBTQ people of all ages, we are excited to be publicly launching The Collaborative during LGBT Health Awareness Week.
In addition to our role as service providers, The Collaborative will also focus our collective efforts on advocacy to advance health equity and wellness for LGBTQ communities. Our three organizations’ strong traditions of social and clinical services and community education and organizing make The Collaborative uniquely positioned to work, in partnership with other community leaders, to advance a powerful LGBTQ health equity agenda for New York City and State.
Callen-Lorde, The Center and SAGE are excited about this new and evolving effort. While The Collaborative’s initial work will focus significantly on formal integration of existing programming and coordinated community organizing efforts, the expectation is that new and innovative projects will follow. This newly-forged relationship is an exciting first step, and is one that will continue to grow to serve the needs of the diverse LGBTQ community for generations to come. Stay tuned for more news about exciting new projects and initiatives from The Collaborative in the months ahead.
About The Center
Established in 1983, New York City’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center empowers people to lead healthy, successful lives. The Center celebrates diversity and advocates for justice and opportunity. Each year, The Center welcomes more than 300,000 visits to our building in the West Village neighborhood of Manhattan from people who engage in our life-changing and life-saving activities. To learn more about our work, please visit gaycenter.org.
SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders) is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, and provides training for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging. With offices in New York City, Washington, DC and Chicago, SAGE coordinates a growing network of 28 local SAGE affiliates in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Learn more at sageusa.org and lgbtagingcenter.org.
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center provides sensitive, quality health care and related services targeted to New York’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities — in all their diversity — regardless of ability to pay. To further this mission, Callen-Lorde promotes health education and wellness, and advocates for LGBT health issues. To learn more about Callen-Lorde, please visit callen-lorde.org.