The Los Angeles LGBT Center celebrated the 20th anniversary and expansion of its CyberCenter today, made possible by a David Bohnett Foundation grant totaling more than $29,000 that provided 15 new Lenovo ThinkCentre computers preloaded with Microsoft Office 2016 and a printer/scanner with which Center clients can network, communicate, and explore professional and educational opportunities.
The first CyberCenter opened its doors at the Center in 1998 (then known as the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center). The CyberCenter became an immediate hit and served as the model for similar facilities throughout the country. In addition to Los Angeles, there are currently 58 active CyberCenters funded nationwide, including those in San Francisco, New York City, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Tulsa, and Seattle. They serve as prime examples of the Foundation’s commitment to making leading-edge technology available to the traditionally underserved LGBT demographic.
“Whether it’s communicating with distant friends and family, connecting with community, or searching for a job, the David Bohnett CyberCenter is a lifeline for many LGBT people who can’t afford a computer or high-speed internet access. Nearly a quarter of LGBT seniors in Los Angeles, for example, live on less than $1,000 a month, and many transgender people remain in poverty because they experience an unemployment rate three times higher than the national average. These parts of our community—and many more—have benefited from the CyberCenter,” said Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean. “Thank you to the David Bohnett Foundation for connecting LGBT people with the world for the past 20 years!”
The Center’s recent funding is part of a series of grants totaling $250,000 to CyberCenters across the country. The “refresh” program began in 2004 to keep the CyberCenters up to date. Every three to four years, each CyberCenter is supplied with brand new, state-of-the-art equipment. This year the Foundation is funding refresh grants to 15 locations.
“In establishing the CyberCenters, technology entrepreneur and philanthropist David Bohnett’s vision was to provide LGBT communities with a ‘wired’ hub through which its members could connect with each other and explore educational, professional, and recreational opportunities,” said Paul Moore, Director of Programs for the Bohnett Foundation. “We join with the Los Angeles LGBT Center today in celebrating the 20th anniversary and expansion of the first David Bohnett CyberCenter giving LGBT people of all ages quality internet access and providing a safe place to work and socialize.”