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History

The Pride Center of Western New York, Inc. was founded in 1998 by a group of individuals and business owners concerned by challenges facing the LGBTQ communities in all eight counties of Western New York (WNY). The Center incorporated in 2001 and received its first funding for staff and programming from the New York State Department of Health in 2002. The first grant funded a Director, Program Coordinator, and a part-time Mental Health Counselor as well as office space. Initial Pride Center goals included; developing gay friendly referral lists for primary care, mental health and addiction services, to provide limited mental health support through individual and group work, and to develop a region - wide network of LGBTQ organizations. In 2008, the Pride Center joined the Evergreen Association, with partners Evergreen Health Services  formerly AIDS Community Services of WNY), Evergreen Medical Group, Community Access Services, the Pharmacy at Evergreen, Benedict House and the Evergreen Foundation. The Association provides fiscal, personnel, marketing and strategic planning to its members. Concurrently, the Pride Center moved into a 1,500 sq ft newly renovated space inside the Evergreen Center in downtown Buffalo, co-locating with Association partners.  In 2013, The Pride Center moved from the Evergeen Center to The Victorian right next door. This arrangement allows a comprehensive continuum of services to be provided onsite in a safe and secure physical environment.

The Pride Center's ongoing programmatic success led to receipt of a series of on-going awards from the NYS Office of Alcohol & Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) to develop and produce a "Crystal Clear" campaign targeting LGBTQ individuals.  In 2007, the Pride Center received funding from the David Bohnett Foundation to establish a regional cyber center targeting young LGBTQ adults who need access to and use of the internet in a safe setting. In 2010, the Pride Center became organizers of the WNY LGBTQ Pride Parade & Festival and has since turned what was known a "Pride Weekend" into a week-long line-up of events.  In 2012, The Pride Center was awarded one of two grants in New York State focused on transgender sexual health. Through the Trans Health Initiative grant, the Center was able to organize Western New York's Annual Transgender Health Conference.