Chicago LGBT Community Needs Assessment Kicks Off

Via Press Release

CHICAGO – The LGBT Community Fund, an initiative of The Chicago Community Trust, is pleased to announce the kickoff of its new Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Needs Assessment with a press breakfast briefing at the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., Chicago, at 8 a.m. on Friday, October 7, 2011.

The Steering Committee of The LGBT Community Fund, a newly established identity-focused fund of The Chicago Community Trust, is seeking information on the needs of and issues facing Chicagoland’s LGBT community in order to allocate funding in a way that effectively meets those needs and addresses those issues. Morten Group will be conducting the assessment.

The press briefing will include Ngoan Le, Vice President of Programs at The Chicago Community Trust; James L. Alexander, co-chair of the Fund’s Steering Committee; and Mary Morten of Morten Group.

The Chicago Community Trust began The LGBT Community Fund in 2010 with a $500,000 matching challenge grant. The Steering Committee of the Fund will oversee a fundraising campaign that plans to raise $1 million over the next three years to match the Trust’s challenge grant.  The Steering Committee will distribute the $1 million over the same time period to nonprofits serving Chicagoland’s LGBT community; the Trust’s $500,000 will go towards a permanent endowment benefitting the LGBT community.

The project will be conducted in two distinct phases. Phase I will consist of the distribution of an online survey to be completed by a minimum of 1500 individual community members. In addition, partner organizations in the community will be asked to place community drop boxes in their buildings, where individuals can fill out data cards responding to questions about the community’s “most critical needs” and “strongest resources.” Both the survey and the data cards will be available in Spanish as well as in English. Phase II will consist of in-depth interviews with approximately 50 leaders in the LGBT community, as well as 15 different focus groups with 10-15 individuals each throughout the Chicago region.

The assessment seeks to cast a broad net over the Chicagoland area by incorporating the voices of LGBT community members from diverse neighborhoods, cultural backgrounds, ages, and socioeconomic levels. For this reason, focus groups will be held across Chicago, as well as in Evanston, Berwyn, and Oak Park.

“We on the Steering Committee of The LGBT Community Fund at The Chicago Community Trust,” said James L. Alexander, “are for two reasons very excited to be working with Mary Morten and her team on performing this needs assessment. First, while needs assessments have previously been performed on aspects of our community, no one to date has undertaken a needs assessment of the entire LGBT community in Chicagoland. And, second, the results of the needs assessment will inform the Steering Committee on how strategically to raise and distribute the $1 million dollars we need to satisfy the challenge grant from The Chicago Community Trust.

Community partners for the needs assessment have agreed to distribute the online survey link to the individuals they serve, display community drop boxes onsite, and host focus groups. A complete list of community partners is forthcoming.