Happy New Year! As a board member for Passages, Kansas City’s LGBTQIA youth group, I would like to tell you about the organization’s vision for 2013 and beyond. As we focus on the future, please share this information with friends and co-workers and do what you can to help.

Passages has served more than 3,000 unique LGBTQIA youth over the last several years, offering a safe, hate-free space and critical educational resources that are not available in traditional classrooms.

Passages’ vision aspires to a model already in place at a similar organization in Dallas called Youth First Texas. YFT serves a similar age range of LGBTQIA youth in the Dallas/Fort Worth metro area, and it also shares Passages’ goal of providing a safe space and critical educational resources. The differences, however, are where Passages has room to grow, with your help.
For example, YFT:
• Operates five or more days each week.
• Has a second physical location operating weekly.
• Provides a broader array of educational programming given the additional days of operation.
• Has an executive director on staff.
• Has tremendous community and corporate support.

These components represent an aspirational vision that works well in a larger metro area like Dallas, but Passages’ vision must be relevant to the needs of our Kansas City community. Moreover, the vision must be achievable. Looking ahead, Passages’ vision is to:
• Maintain Wednesday educational programming with existing partners like the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project, Synergy Services, reStart, Kansas City Free Health Clinic, MGRA, and others. The content we jointly make available to the LGBT youth of Kansas City drives squarely at risk reduction, from educating about healthy relationships to STI and HIV prevention.
• Re-establish weekend social nights as a safe space for youth to access our unique resources.
• Move aggressively to establish the sustained giving support required for an on-staff executive director responsible for day-to-day operations, grant management, and community partnerships.

These are tangible and achievable components of the near-term vision. The longer-term vision is dependent on these starting points, but possibilities may include additional days of operation, additional relevant services, and a focus on building a multi-year endowment. Passages has been and will continue to be transparent about its budget so that supporters know that every contribution goes directly to operations and is responsibly utilized. As a reference point, monthly expenses average $1,000, which covers rent and utilities, liability insurance, and phone and Internet costs, making Wednesday and weekend services possible.

Passages is a 501(c)3 organization, and tax-deductible sustained giving has a tremendous impact on achieving the full vision. If you, your business, fellow community members, or corporate leaders are interested in starting or continuing a legacy of supporting critical services to the LGBTQIA youth of metro KC, please contact Passages at www.kcpassages.org or info@kcpassages.org.

Whether you're spreading truth, information, or love, traveling abroad for humanitarian reasons can have risks. Detained American journalist in Myanmar, Danny Fenster, is to be released from jail, and to fly home soon. But it doesn't always end well for every foreign national attempting to do good in a foreign country.

The missionaries consisting of sixteen Americans and one Canadian kidnapped by the Haitian “400 Mawozo” gang on October 16, is extremely scary. The gang has threatened to kill the humanitarian Christians if a million dollar per person ransom is not fulfilled. The group consists of men, women, children and an eight-month-old baby.

Keep reading Show less

The Black Trans Fund, incubated at Groundswell Fund, and Grantmakers for Girls of Color launched the Holding a Sister Initiative, the first-ever national fund explicitly dedicated to transgender girls and gender-expansive youth of color.

Dr. Monique W. Morris, president and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, and Bré Rivera, program director of the Black Trans Fund are together spearheading the Holding a Sister Initiative to bring attention and resources to organizations supporting trans girls of color, normalize concern and investment in their success, and create learning opportunities for cis and trans girls of color to move in deeper community with one another.

Keep reading Show less