LIKE ME Lighthouse to Launch Campaign for a Permanent Location

On June 1, LIKEME Lighthouse, greater Kansas City's LGBT community center, will announce the start of a conversation about funding a new permanent space. A capital campaign will follow to sustain the Lighthouse through its next stages.

The center officially opened its doors on Main Street on March 10, 2012. As an outreach of country singer Chely Wright’s LIKEME Organization, it has had national exposure and stewardship, while serving the local community.

If you’ve been there recently, you will have noticed that it is slimmer, having given up part of the leased space to the north. The interior has been redesigned to allow visitors to come and go with little or no disruption of the meeting space. According to Felicia Kyle, Lighthouse director of operations, the reduction in square footage will help save money on rent.

With stability and longevity in mind, LIKEME Lighthouse plans to call its new capital campaign Home.

“We want to continue to offer our services to the community from a location that will remain open for future generations,” Kyle states in promotional materials.

The announcement will be in the form of an invitation to the community to discuss the new project. This conversation will begin at 1 p.m. Sunday, July 10, at LIKEME Lighthouse. Local artist Gk Callahan will facilitate the meeting.

To prepare for the campaign, LIKEME Lighthouse has recently reincorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit with more local control (official name: LIKEME Lighthouse-KC Inc.). Greater autonomy will give its board more flexibility in decision-making and will allow it to take advantage of additional grant opportunities.

As these changes have been made, several new board members have taken their seats. Many of their talents align with fresh needs at the center, such as composing nonprofit governance documents, planning fundraisers, grant-writing, IT experience, business management and fiscal reporting.

Other essential details include establishing an online merchant account to process direct monetary transactions (for donations, ticket sales, etc.) and protecting the center’s name and logo via trademark. The Lighthouse board hopes that the methodical process it is now undertaking may serve as a template to be replicated by other LGBT community centers. CenterLink (lgbtcenters.org) maintains an information network among existing LGBT centers.

Several community groups now meet at the Lighthouse, including PFLAG-KC, Rainbow Warriors, EQUAL Trans Support Group, Hear Me Out Toastmasters, Mature Adult Gay Group and Bear Mafia.

The Lighthouse aspires to be a clearinghouse for local LGBT resources. Establishing or re-establishing ongoing events such as Family Fridays and movie nights are possibilities. Drop-in hours should also increase soon. Look for the Lighthouse booth at Kansas City PrideFest in June, and keep an eye out for a parking-lot barbecue event in the fall.

Several different kinds of helpers are on the Lighthouse’s “wanted” list: social media mavens, scholarship endowers, marketing experts, website designers, nonprofit IT support, donor database establishment and – as always – volunteers. Specifically desired is an intern who could donate 30 hours of service. To volunteer, go to the <Get Involved> tab on the website, likemelighthouse.org, and click <Volunteer>, or send a note to Courtney Ahnen at volunteer@likemelighthouse.org.

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