The Jim Toy Community Center needs your help!
Unfortunately, due to the challenges presented by the closure of our Braun Court neighbors -- Common Language Bookstore and Aut Bar -- in addition to the ongoing struggle of maintaining a largely-vacant physical center during a public health crisis, it is with a tremendous amount of sadness that we announced plans to close our physical center at the end of January 2021.
In addition to the loss of other major LGBTQ-focused businesses in Braun Court, the financial challenges of maintaining a volunteer-run and non-profit Community Center during a pandemic became unsustainable for our organization. We have experienced dramatic declines in fundraising revenue, while the expense of operating our physical, now-vacant, center has largely remained steady. We also suffered a break-in a few months ago that resulted in some physical damage to the Center, and financial and property loss.
Our board determined that if we wanted to continue operating and withstand the challenges of the pandemic, we needed to dramatically cut costs and generate extra funds to begin investing in a strong post-pandemic future for the Center. That is why we are calling on the community for help: If you believe that Ann Arbor deserves a vibrant and robust LGBTQ Community Center, we need your support and investment, now more than ever.
We remain incredibly optimistic that -- with your help to raise additional funds to help cover organizational expenses, help offset unexpected financial challenges from the pandemic and a break-in a few months ago, and to begin planning for the future of the Center -- the Jim Toy Community Center will, once again, have a physical presence in the Ann Arbor area at some point in the future. Until then, we will remain focused on hosting Ann Arbor Pride and other community events, advocating for LGBTQ-friendly policies statewide and locally, and engaging with local LGBTQ community members to identify areas of need that our organization may be able to meet.