Center Donor Profiles
The Center wouldn't exist without the generous support of its donors. Our donors come from a variety of backgrounds and life experiences, but they all share a vision that the Colorado LGBT community deserves a space of its own -- a space that is warm and inviting and provides resources, advocacy and support for the LGBT and allied community.
The following profiles highlight just a few of the people who have donated to The Center recently:
Earlier this year, Alyssa Kopf was given a deck of cards with words written on them and was asked to narrow them down to the four words most important to her. She ended up with appreciation, family, honesty and participant.
“For me, those words line up perfectly with The Center and the importance of supporting the capital campaign,” Alyssa said. “My gift to The Center is an appreciation for all I have been given in life, recognition of the importance of taking care of those I call family, being honest about who I am and what is important to me, and choosing to be an active participant in building a better community.”
Alyssa, who is the CEO of the nonprofit Community Shares of Colorado, is donating $27.77 per month for three years – or $1,000 -- to The Center for the Something for Everyone campaign. The $27.77 campaign seeks to provide community members of all financial backgrounds, as well as their families and friends, a chance to be a part of history by participating in The Center’s $3.5 million capital campaign, “Something for Everyone.”
The Something for Everyone capital campaign will pay for The Center’s new building and its renovations, finance the core operating fund and create a $1 million endowment to ensure The Center’s future success.
“I think it’s great The Center created the $27.77 campaign so everyone has the opportunity to be involved,” Alyssa said. “It’s a community center and it should be built by the entire community, not just the wealthiest few. I hope we see a lot of new donor names on the walls like mine.”
Arman Lorz had never been motivated to volunteer or get involved with a nonprofit organization before in his life. He decided to participate in the $27.77 campaign after “listening to the stories and feeling the passion of the leaders at the Center,” he said. “Yes, 27.77 a month breaks down to some cents a day. But at the end of the day, what I'll remember is the feeling I experienced from seeing that passion and that sincere interest in my well being as part of the community.”
Arman said contributing to the campaign made the new Center take on a whole new meaning for him. The $27.77 campaign made him feel like The Center “is from the community, for the community.”
His life, he said, has taken some peculiar twists and turns after growing up a Mormon in Mexico, and that he has been blessed with supportive family and friends during his coming out process.
“I think life has been very patient, forgiving, and generous with me and I have felt several times in my life that I should be giving back to my people some of the blessings I have received,” Arman said.
Click here to join the $27.77 campaign now!
Thanks to his many years of experience doing fundraising, Ray Merenstein is not afraid to pick up a phone and ask for a donation.
“The worst that could happen is that they say ‘no,’” Ray said.
Ray was the consultant for The Center’s $3.5 million capital campaign, and he says he has fundraising in the blood. He cut his teeth at a work study position making calls to alumni asking for donations. Later he took on the role of vice president of The Children’s Hospital Foundation during its $250 million fundraising campaign. After the campaign wound down, he set up his own fundraising and public relations consulting firm.
Ray’s chance to learn what it is to be an LGBT community ally came when he was asked to bid on The Center’s capital campaign. It was a chance for him to advance a non-profit that he believes is making “an incredible difference.”
Growing up, he learned to embrace diversity and believe in equal opportunity for everyone. He saw parallels in the struggles of the Jewish people and the struggles of other people fighting for their rights. And he has a brother-in-law who is gay.
“There are tons of straight allies out there,” Ray said. “They just don’t know it. They have not been asked to be involved.”
Working on The Center’s capital campaign has been a wonderful opportunity for Ray to extend is values to his children. A father of three, his children know who his clients are. They see their Dad taking on clients who are different from them. Ray has taken his kids to events hosted by The Center and they often ask when the next event will be.
One of the biggest lessons Ray learned from his work on The Center’s capital campaign was simply to ask.
“If we ask and we have a reason, people will give,” Ray said.
Despite a 20-year interval spent living and working in London, England, b. Frank has considered Denver home since 1969. She and partner Ronni McCaffrey met 15 years ago at The American School in London where they were both employed and the two returned to Denver to live full-time in 2006. The move came as a both a culture shock and wake up call to the couple.
In the UK, b. and Ronni were legally recognized as civil partners and had rights that are still not accorded to same sex couples in the USA. Having a legally recognized civil partnership was immensely important to the couple and returning to a country and state that did not recognize their partnership concerned them greatly. The two debated whether they should continue to live and work in Europe or return to the US and join in the fight for our civil liberties here? They chose to return and to get involved by becoming supporters of The Center.
“Living openly in a supportive community was one of our primary goals,” says Frank. “We believe that a viable and visible LGBT Center is indicative of a strong and vibrant community, the kind of community in which we want to live. The central location and visibility of the new site for The Center are symbolic of how central our community is to the Denver and to Colorado. By supporting The Center we are – perhaps somewhat selfishly! - helping to create a community where we, our friends, and our family can live open, honest and productive lives.”