In 2002, The Ali Forney Center (AFC) was founded to help LGBQT youth on the verge of homelessness gain access to housing and supportive services. Located in New York, AFC helps 1,400 young adults per year prepare for independent living. Last year, we began a partnership with the center and with the release of our Pride Blend, we donated $10k to the organization.
A lot has changed in the last year, but we are excited to release a new Pride Blend and donate another $10k to their LEAP program,( Learning, Employment, Advancement and Placement), which provides stipends and paid internships. We had the opportunity to check in with AFC’s Executive Director, Alex Roque, to get a better sense of how AFC has been impacted by the current state of the world and what they’ve done to pivot and continue to provide essential services.
While the country was shutting down, thousands of people left NYC. Young adults who have been kicked out of their house do not have the privilege of returning home to a safe place to quarantine. It is now more important than ever for AFC to be able to provide housing services for their youth.
Roque was proud to report that his team was able to quickly form a plan that was transparent and worked to keep everyone safe. They made sure mental services were available for both the youth and the AFC staff, held agency wide town halls to effectively communicate plans and updates to everyone, and provided support to those who lost jobs.
What seems like a whirlwind of chaos is really just another challenge for AFC. Having overcome setbacks and adversity so many times in the past, Roque knew his staff and youth were resilient and would rise to the challenge, supporting each other, and would come out on the other side having grown from the experience.
Seeing AFC pivot, adapt, and succeed despite unforeseeable odds, makes us incredibly proud to support and donate. Our Pride Blend is much more than a celebration of Pride Month, it’s tied to an incredible organization that wont stop working to help LGBTQ youth, no matter the circumstances. You can learn more about AFC or consider donating here.