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The Giving Marin Community Partnership, a major initiative of the business community and Marin Independent Journal, offers local nonprofit organizations assistance with marketing through sponsored ads in the paper and online along with exposure via social media platforms.

At the end of 2018, Giving Marin gave back 15% of revenues generated through the program to Marin County nonprofit organizations.More than 130 organizations
applied for the grants. Through a rigorous process, six organizations were chosen to receive $10,000 each. Over the next few months, we will share with you the impact of these grants.

The Spahr Center is a nonprofit community agency serving, supporting and empowering Marin’s LGBTQ community and everyone in the county living with and affected by HIV. The focus today is on assuring the rights and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ youth and seniors, as well as providing people living with HIV the services they need to live long and healthy lives and to prevent new cases of HIV.

Although Marin County has laws and institutions that are supportive of full inclusion in all aspects of life, LGBTQ+ youth can be reluctant to come out here, and do not always find family, schools and the larger society to be fully supportive. Isolation, depression and thoughts of suicide are much higher for this group. And one recent survey found that support for the rights of LGBTQ youth is slipping somewhat among younger Americans in today’s political climate.

Giving Marin’s grant to The Spahr Center supported itswork to assure the well-being of LGBTQ+ youth. Spahr currently holds discussion groups in two county high schools in which LGBTQ+ youth find support with other students and discuss pressing issues. It holds three drop-in youth discussion groups at community centers in Novato, San Rafael and Mill Valley. The agency also has individual counseling and therapy services for LGBTQ+ youth and parent sand it operates two discussion
groups for the parents of LGBTQ+ youth that help families come together to help children thrive.

The Spahr Center is especially proud of the work being done by its brilliant Youth Advocacy Coalition, whose members come from Marin high schools and colleges. The coalition’s goal is to help Marin’s schools and social service providers assure a welcoming and supportive environment for LGBTQ+ youth and make sure that these students receive the quality education and services they deserve. The coalition conducts trainings throughout the county to increase the skills of adults working with LGBTQ+ youth. Last year, it trained over 900 people, and as schools starts again, it has set another ambitious training agenda.

Youth coalition members pictured above (left to right) are Simon Darrow, Youth
Program Coordinator Felicia Agrelius, Grace Marshall and Alex Marshall outside the Capitol Building in Sacramento.

For information about programs and services, visit thespahrcenter.org.

-Photo by Felicia Agrelius

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