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The Rush Center on DeKalb Avenue, a partnership between ALHI and Georgia Equality, has been serving the community by providing meeting spaces for numerous LGBT and ally groups as well as offering office space for organizations including MEGA Family Project, Atlanta Pride, In the Life Atlanta and the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.

In March, Ellis and Georgia Equality Executive Director Jeff Graham announced the Rush Center received a $35,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta to conduct a broad needs assessment for the state to determine how to best serve LGBT residents.

“This is the first state of the community … a broader snapshot of LGBT Atlanta and throughout the state,” Ellis said at that time.

Graham noted in March this needs assessment was also a step to see if Atlanta was ready for a comprehensive community center.

“There will also be a needs assessment — launching what are the comprehensive needs of the LGBT community in Atlanta and Georgia to help tailor what the future might be and how we go from a shared space to a comprehensive community center if in fact that is where we need to go,” Graham said.

Added Ellis in a press statement today: “As a part of the strategic planning effort for the Rush Center, we are taking on what we believe to be a first effort to capture the experiences of the LGBT community statewide. This has potential to be of significant help to all of us (organizations and individuals), and it’s our intention to share the results very freely.”

The survey seeks to better understand the needs of the LGBT communities across the state, Ellis said.

From Ellis:

What is the survey?
“For the first time, our organizations are joining forces to ask the state’s LGBT community to define their own needs by telling us about your life, your successes and your challenges.”

Why should I fill this out?

“First and foremost, because you are an important part of the LGBT community in Georgia. By sharing your experiences, you will help shape the knowledge that policymakers and the public at large have on our community.  By collecting information on LGBT Georgian’s throughout the state, we will be better able to plan services, programs and engage in advocacy that will help us all. We will be sharing the findings with LGBT organizations throughout Georgia to help them in their own program planning and fundraising efforts.”

Is the survey confidential?
“Yes, all individual responses will remain confidential. Please be assured that this survey is for research purposes only and is being conducted by an independent research company, The Schapiro Group.”

What is the Phillip Rush Center?

The Phillip Rush Center is a partnership between the Atlanta Lesbian Health Initiative and Georgia Equality to provide a central gathering place for LGBT organizations. In the past two years, the Rush Center has become the home to Atlanta Pride, MEGA Family Project, Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, In the Life Atlanta and Circle of Grace Church.  We also host weekly and monthly meetings and special events for dozens of additional organizations serving the LGBT community. While the physical location is in Atlanta, we envision of future where resources can be shared throughout the state. Building a broader statewide LGBT community in Georgia is one of the keys to advancing equality and fairness for us all.”

How can I support these efforts?
“Because our goal is to learn more about ALL LGBT communities throughout Georgia, we need you to share this survey with your friends, family and colleagues throughout the state. If you have an organizational list serve, please post this message to your members.”

For more information, call Graham at 404-523-3070 ext. 2 or email him at Jeff@georgiaequality.org or call Ellis at 404-688-2524 or email her at Linda@thehealthinitiative.org.

Photo: Linda Ellis and Jeff Graham of the Phillip Rush Center. (by Dyana Bagby)

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