When considering a move to a new state, some LGBT house hunters like to see what some of the top gay and lesbian organizations have to say about their new home. There are some organizations out there that rank states, cities, and businesses by according to how welcoming they are. These same groups may also be more visible in certain cities, which is great if you enjoy volunteering with a charitable organization. Here are some of the best LGBT organizations in the U.S. that you might want to work with or listen to when selecting a new place to live.
The Human Rights Campaign is perhaps the most visible LGBT group. They do a lot of work for equality, including supporting LGBT candidates, homeless shelters, and more. You’ll find that the HRC is always needing volunteers, but you’ll also find that they want you to pay yearly membership dues, and the group does spend a good amount of money on fundraising. Still, they’re a very visible organization that does a lot of good.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project focuses on suicide prevention and crisis counseling. It seems like we hear about another LGBT teen committing suicide every day, and that’s what the Trevor Project seeks to stop. They operate a free crisis hotline staffed by trained counselors, plus a confidential online chat service for those who have questions about their sexuality or gender identity. While the crisis hotline requires volunteers to be trained, the online service accepts volunteers. If you live in one of the seven major cities that have a Trevor Ambassadors program, you can also volunteer that way.
The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute
This institute, also called the Victory Fund, provides funding for the LGBT leaders of the future. The group operates a number of educational programs and after-school programs. They have also partnered with President Obama before he took office to help him identify LGBT people who could fill key positions in his administration. Best of all, the Institute is very careful about how they spend their money: less than ten cents of every dollar given to the Victory Fund is used for administrative costs. They are by far the most efficient LGBT group as far as budgeting goes.
CenterLink helps support new and existing LGBT community centers. They help new centers do the paperwork and find funding to get up and running, and they assist existing centers by providing training and spreading information about new programs and funding sources. You can volunteer with CenterLink directly (especially if you live in Fort Lauderdale, FL, where they are headquartered), or you can work with a local LGBT community center that works with CenterLink.