The inaugural Ali Forney Centre Dance-a-thon raised over $500,000 for LGBTQ+ homeless youth facing food insecurity.
In an ‘immersive’ all-day experience, which included food, drink and of course, dancing, the centre raised money from 481 organisations,
The dance-a-thon was titled “We Are Family” after the iconic Sister Sledge song, and also recognises the importance of chosen families for homeless LGBTQ+ youth, many of whom have been disowned by their families because of their sexuality or gender identity.
The dance-a-thon took place on 20th November, the Transgender Day of Remembrance, and the organisers took special care to recognise and uplift transgender service users, as well as paying respects to transgender individuals who passed away.
This was especially poignant, the day after 5 people were shot in an LGBTQ+ venue in Colorado Springs. Two of the victims were transgender.
Guests included RuPaul’s Drag Race Alumni Monet X Change, who came 6th in Season 10 and won Miss Congeniality. She also won All Stars Season 4.
The Ali Forney Centre, based in New York City, is the biggest community centre in the USA supporting LGBTQ+ youth.
The fundraiser, which raised $534,037 in total, was focussed on funding the meals programme.
It provides hot and healthy meals to homeless young people through 17 NYC housing sites, and a 24 hour drop in centre in Harlem.
Since its launch with just six beds in a church basement, the organisation has grown to assist more than 2,000 youths per year through a 24-hour Drop-In Center, which provides over 75,000 meals annually, medical and mental health services through an on-site clinic, and a scattered-site housing program.