Make a commitment to support the New York City LGBT community this year. There are myriad service and activist groups that will appreciate your contribution. Here are a few organizations worthy of your time and energy.
The Ali Forney Center
The Ali Forney Center is a 501(c)(3) that supports homeless LGBT youths between the ages of 16 and 24. It's Day Center, located in Chelsea, provides kids with everything from food and HIV testing to employment assistance and medical care. The nonprofit is perhaps best known for its emergency and transitional housing, and it also operates counseling and education programs for families. Besides making a tax-deductible donation, AFC accepts gifts of toiletries, linens, interview-appropriate used clothes, and other items, and it welcomes volunteers to participate in meal preparation, workshops, and mentorship.
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
Although its predecessors focused on sexually transmitted diseases, today Callen-Lorde Community Health Center provides healthcare of all kinds to LGBT New Yorkers, need-blind. In fact, $4 million in care goes unreimbursed every year. Donations can be made online, and the money supports health services as well as education and advocacy.
God’s Love We Deliver
Ganga Stone and Jane Best founded God's Love We Deliver in 1986, bicycling a handful of meals to people living with HIV/AIDS. In 2008, GLWD prepared 800,000 meals for more than 1,600 clients, feeding men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS as well as cancer, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s, and other conditions that prevent that from comfortable preparing their own meals. These recipients live throughout New York, and some are even located beyond city limits. In addition to accepting donations, volunteers may work in the GLWD kitchen, assist with meal delivery, and lend a hand at special events or administratively after attending an orientation and a food-safety class.
The Hetrick-Martin Institute offers a safe haven to LGBT youth during the school day, and in the hours after the final bell rings. The social services agency hosts Harvey Milk High School, and it conducts an array of after-school programs that allow kids to express themselves through the arts, teach them about self-sufficiency and wellness, prepare them for higher education and employment, and even assist young LGBT people suffering domestic abuse. You may consider donating to HMI, donating new or gently used clothes, or volunteering -- which requires submitting an application and may also include an interview, background check, and an orientation.
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
What does the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center not do? It is, after all, the second largest LGBT community center in the world, providing social service, public policy, and programs devoted to gender identity, voter outreach, nontraditional family-building, and more. Donations and membership keep the doors open, and you may consider volunteering at the Center itself or for any of the grassroots groups that meet there.