(Burlington, VT) – Vermont organizers working to open a Queer Community Center for the last five years have succeeded and will celebrate the opening of their new Center on Saturday, June 12th from 1-5 p.m. with a festival of music, food, family activities and more. The new Community Center is located at 34 Elmwood Avenue in Burlington and represents the culmination of five years of work by mostly volunteer organizers to raise funds, plan programs and acquire a lease on a downtown Burlington building. Board Chair Cathy Resmer noted, "It is with great pride that we open the new R.U.1.2? Community Center. Burlington is the smallest city in the country with a fully-functioning Queer Community Center. Once again, Vermont is leading the way forward for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Vermonters."
Funding from the David Bohnett Foundation and other sources allowed organizers to move from a one room office on the waterfront to a historic, early 20th century Victorian home owned by the First Unitarian Universalist Society. Bohnett Foundation funds are targeted towards the creation and promotion of a CyberCenter within the Community Center. One of many services and activities offered at the Center, the CyberCenter will give thousands of Vermont residents the opportunity to log on, take classes, hold meetings and bridge the digital divide. Other services at the Center include Coming Out Support Groups for Adults, Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings, health care referral services, meeting space for grassroots organizations and advocacy on LGBT issues.
In 2004, the David Bohnett Foundation invested more than $350,000 in 18 existing Bohnett CyberCenters nationwide with state-of-the-art IBM technology, including the latest in software and hardware design. The first David Bohnett CyberCenter was established in 1998 in Los Angeles. R.U.1.2? Community Center in Burlington hosts the newest and most rural Bohnett CyberCenter in the nation.
"We are very pleased to celebrate the opening of R.U.1.2? Community Center and our David Bohnett CyberCenter for the gay and lesbian community of Vermont," says Michael Fleming, executive director of the David Bohnett Foundation. "It's very important for the LGBT community to have a warm, inviting environment for computer training, work on the Internet and other activities. Vermont's R.U.1.2? Queer Community Center is an outstanding, modern facility and we know this will promote an even greater sense of community."
“IBM's rich diversity heritage is built upon our commitment to equality and involvement in the communities we serve,” says Michael Fuller, vice president, BTO Global Partner and co-chair of IBM's LGBT Executive Diversity Task Force. “Our company has long supported the LGBT community, and we're pleased that IBM technology will help foster a virtual sense of being connected for this constituency and enhance the lives of all those that R.U.1.2? and the David Bohnett CyberCenter serve.” "The Community Center fills a vital need for queer people in Vermont," says Christopher Kaufman, executive director of R.U.1.2? "We are very grateful to the David Bohnett Foundation for encouraging our growth and allowing us to expand our educational opportunities in information technology." The David Bohnett Foundation was founded by David Bohnett, who started GeoCities, an Internet-based media and e-commerce company in 1994. Bohnett, a gay man, was determined to improve society through social activism. He recognized the importance of the Internet in creating that change and he sought to ensure the LGBT community was connected and using the immense potential of the web.
R.U.1.2? Queer Community Center was founded by two students from the University of Vermont in 1999. Their mission is to address the social, cultural, educational and health needs of Vermont's queer and allied community across all ages, races and genders through community building, social support and civic engagement.
For further information about Vermont's R.U.1.2? Queer Community Center, contact Executive Director Christopher Kaufman 802.860.7812 or firstname.lastname@example.org, www.ru12.org.
For information about the David Bohnett Foundation, contact Executive Director Michael Fleming at 310.277.4611; email@example.com; www.bohnettfoundation.org