Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Gay and Lesbian Fund site gifted to PBS

Posted By on Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Former Gay and Lesbian Fund leader Mary Lou Makepeace now works for the Indy.
  • Former Gay and Lesbian Fund leader Mary Lou Makepeace now works for the Indy.
Since last October, when we learned the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado was shuttering its local offices, we have wondered what will become of the attractive Costilla Street building.

At first, it looked like it might be sold or rented. The hope of many LGBT supporters was that whoever the new occupant was would retain the building's old spirit of openness and inclusiveness.

Well, there's good news: The Gill Foundation has gifted the Costilla Street building to Rocky Mountain PBS. Not only will the building still be open to nonprofits, but there will be a network of activity at the site that could change the face of our community. Read more about it in tomorrow's Indy. For now, here are the basics:

Gill Foundation Announces Gift of Colorado Springs Building to Rocky Mountain PBS, Creating “Tim Gill Center for Public Media”
One-time gift, valued at $1.3 million, is the largest private donation in 56-year history of Rocky Mountain PBS

DENVER (July 17, 2012) — Continuing its strong commitment to local nonprofits and public broadcasting in Colorado, the Gill Foundation has announced a $1.3 million one-time gift to Rocky Mountain PBS through the donation of its building in Colorado Springs. With this gift, Rocky Mountain PBS will create the “Tim Gill Center for Public Media,” a collaborative initiative led by Rocky Mountain PBS to create cross-platform content for public media. In the spirit of the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado, the Gill Foundation program previously headquartered in the building, the new center also will continue to offer free public meeting space to local nonprofits.

The Tim Gill Center for Public Media will have wide-reaching positive impact on public broadcasting in Colorado and in communities across the state, bringing together 21 organizations to create cross-platform content, increase the collective impact of public broadcasting statewide, and link higher education with public media so that area college students can be trained with the requisite skills necessary to thrive in the new media environment.

“This catalytic investment is the largest private donation in our 56-year history,” said Doug Price, President and CEO of Rocky Mountain PBS. “Because of the generosity of the Gill Foundation and Tim Gill, Rocky Mountain PBS will create the Tim Gill Center for Public Media to serve as a place for collaboration, innovation and engagement in Southern Colorado and beyond.”

“With all the changes taking place in the media, public broadcasting is more important than ever,” said Tim Gill, Founder and Board Chair of the Gill Foundation. “A healthy democracy depends on informed citizens, and this new center will help public media have greater impact in Colorado.”

Rocky Mountain PBS will lead the center’s programs in collaboration with partner organizations that include the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Colorado College and KRCC 91.5 FM, Pikes Peak Community College, Pikes Peak Library District, and the Rocky Mountain Community Radio group which represents 16 public and community radio stations around the state.

“Since 1999, the Gill Foundation has supported public broadcasting in the state through our Gay & Lesbian Fund program. Although we expect to maintain that commitment at current levels, this one-time gift represented a unique opportunity to benefit many of our current grantees,” said Tim Sweeney, Gill Foundation President and CEO. “The commitment by Rocky Mountain PBS to maintain free public meeting space for nonprofits was also compelling. We knew what this space has meant to the community as a place to gather, have dialogue, and work together to build a better Colorado Springs and a better Colorado.”

A public celebration and ribbon-cutting event will be held in September when the building is reopened by Rocky Mountain PBS. Organizations interested in utilizing the building’s meeting and event space should visit www.rmpbs.org/TimGillCenter for ongoing updates and additional information.

In October of 2011, the Gill Foundation announced that, in light of the tremendous progress toward equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Colorado, the foundation would initiate a strategic re-evaluation of its Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado program. As part of that decision, the foundation consolidated the program’s physical location to its Denver offices, leaving the Colorado Springs building available for sale or donation. Multiple organizations approached the foundation with proposals for the building’s future. The Rocky Mountain PBS proposal was selected because of the potential impact the Tim Gill Center for Public Media will have in Colorado and nationally.

The Gill Foundation’s strategic re-evaluation of the future direction for its Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado program continues, and this gift does not reflect any future funding priorities. Earlier this year, the foundation renewed all grants awarded by the Gay & Lesbian Fund program in 2011, totaling $1.3 million to 240 Colorado nonprofits. The foundation anticipates an announcement related to the future strategy of the Gay & Lesbian Fund before the end of 2012.

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