From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Ford Foundation Gives $100,000 Grant to UFMCC Youth Program

Date 14 Oct 1998 16:32:54

N E W S   R E L E A S E
^From The Universal Fellowship of
Metropolitan Community Churches

For Immediate Release:  October 10, 1998

Ford Foundation Makes $100,000 Grant
To World's Oldest and Largest Gay Spirituality Organization
Grant To Benefit, Replicate UFMCC At-Risk Youth Program

LOS ANGELES -- The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches
(UFMCC), the oldest and largest spirituality organization touching the lives
of gays and lesbians, has received a $100,000 grant from the Ford Foundation,
the world's largest philanthropic foundation.

The grant is designated for UFMCC's programs for at-risk gay and lesbian

The announcement of the grant was made at UFMCC's 30th anniversary banquet in
Los Angeles on Oct. 6 where Willie Brown, mayor of San Francisco, was the
keynote speaker.

UFMCC has a long history of commitment to gay and lesbian youth. The world's
second alternative public school for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered
youth, The Eagles Nest, was sponsored and housed by UFMCC in Los Angeles.

The $100,000 Ford Foundation Grant will be used to sponsor UFMCC's flagship
youth program in West Hollywood and to replicate at-risk youth programs in two
additional cities.  The additional cities will be announced later. The West
Hollywood youth program is operated by UFMCC's founding church, Metropolitan
Community Church of Los Angeles.

"We are deeply grateful to the Ford Foundation for recognizing and supporting
UFMCC's commitment to at-risk gay and lesbian youth," said the Rev. Troy D.
Perry, UFMCC Moderator and veteran civil and human rights activist. 

"This is a significant step forward in our relationship with the Ford
Foundation and marks an historic milestone on behalf of LGBT youth," added the
Rev. Nancy Wilson, Senior pastor of Metropolitan Community Church of Los

The MCC youth program in West Hollywood is directed by the Rev. Dawn Wilder,
staff clergy at Metropolitan Community Church of Los Angeles.  Wilder notes
that the at-risk program ministers to a wide range of youth needs.  "Some are
street kids, some are or have been involved in prostitution. Some are homeless
or temporarily homeless. We are open to young people age 24 and under. The
youngest who ever came in for help was only 11 years old."

The program is known locally as "What's The T," a name selected by the youth
and originating in street slang. The evening and late-night weekend program
offers a safe place for youth to gather. The facilities offer movies, music,
dancing, games, refreshments, pool, reading materials and volunteer staff with
listening ears and open hearts.

The West Hollywood flagship program offers extensive referral services for
counseling and housing, free AIDS testing, safer sex information. Wilder has
even arranged transportation for some young runaways to return to their homes
and families.

At a time when many in the gay community have been lulled by medical
advancements for HIV and AIDS, Wilder notes that a majority of the youth
entering the program are HIV positive.

The Ford Foundation grant of $100,000 follows recent grants to UFMCC of
$50,000 from the Gill Foundation and $20,000 from the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Founded in 1936, the Ford Foundation has provided more than $8 billion in
grants to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote
international cooperation, and advance human achievement.

The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches was founded in
1968, nine months before the Stonewall Rebellion, to provide positive,
affirming houses of worship for the gay community.  Over the past 30 years,
UFMCC has grown to more than 42,000 members and adherents in 15 countries.
For additional information, visit the UFMCC website at or
send e-mail to


For Additional Information, Contact:
UFMCC Communications Department
8704 Santa Monica Blvd.,  2nd Floor
West Hollywood, CA  90069

Tel. (310) 360-8640
Fax: (310) 360-8680



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