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2012 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Rainbow Center

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Civil Rights, Lesbian & Gay Rights, LGBTQ

Mission: The Rainbow Center's Mission is to eliminate discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity by providing education, resources, advocacy, information, and opportunities for empowerment to individuals and organizations in the South Puget Sound area. We find our activities falling into three categories: Educate, Advocate, and Celebrate.

Target demographics: People who are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, 2-Spiritied, or Allies in Tacoma, Pierce County, and Western Washington.

Geographic areas served: Tacoma, Pierce County, Western Washington

Programs: Victims of crimes advocacy, all ages karaoke and open mic nights, public computers, pool table, free wifi, lending library, space for group meetings, cultural competency sessions, and much more.

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

13

Volunteer

Rating: 1

I enjoyed volunteering but I went to sign up someone for the Oasis center and the child refused to sign the discriminatory policy. I first found this insulting, but later read it and understood the child. Oasis does not allow straight people, a discriminatory act. However, they are funded by the government, so it is illegal to discriminate, even against straight people. Kind of a backwards way of thinkg, isnt it? Because the gay population was discriminated against, they are now discriminating against straight and using public taxes. Not quite fair, is it?

Comments ( 1 )

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laura.brewer 06/21/2013

Unfortunately this review was posted under the wrong organization. Though we work closely together, Rainbow Center and Oasis Youth Center are not the same entities and do not have the same policies or the same 501c3 number.

1 Frank Leonzal

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am not just a current Board Member, I am also a Donor. After the surprise from the Advocate stating Tacoma Washington was the nations #1 Gayest city many were shocked. However this only confirms what many already know. Tacoma is a GREAT place to be right now. Tacoma is lucky enough to have a long continuous running Gay Community Center and this year it is full speed ahead as they along with OASIS Youth Center take the next step in Growth, Longevity and Community Building and move into a new shared space. Although I live in South Hill, SE of Tacoma it is the nearest place to gay life in regards to venues and events. The Rainbow Center has been in the mix for along time now doing many great things to help those who need assistance or those looking to have fun or meeting other people. It has provided myself and family the opportunity to do our small part in community outreach and support for those in need. As time goes on maybe one day there will be a 'center' in my part of the woods, until then I know I always have the Tacoma Rainbow Center and am proud to serve the community by being on its Board and as a ACTIVE Donor.

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

When I first came into contact with the Rainbow Center it was a small one room space in a United Way building. Today and several years later its is a free standing operation that is supported by its community and provides many much needed services in today's economic depression as well as many social opportunities. Serving as a Board Member today inspires me when I hear stories of how the center and we as a community work together to make peoples lives better and easier and even possible saving a life.

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

During my life in Pierce County I have been involved with the Rainbow Center in way or another, as a Board Member, supporter and participant. When the former organization that I was the last board member of approached the center board to merge it was met with enthusiasm and excitement. The one condition was I would again join the board- which I did. The center means alot to a great deal of people in many situations and different needs. Our board all believes in its mission, the community believes in our role and also supports the centers efforts. If the center was to vanish it would create a huge void that would be hard to fill. The center and its supporters have done great work and continues to do so while changing many lives for the better.

3

Client Served

Rating: 5

Tacoma's GLBTQ population is fortunate to have been served by the Rainbow Center for many years. It offers counseling , social opportunities, a library, drop-in center, information, etc., for the local gay community.

Review from Guidestar

2 Cheryl30

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a regular tuesday afternoon volunteer, I have been profoundly impacted by the sensitive, caring, compassionate nurturing, understanding, and help that the RC staff extends to absolutely every person who calls or walks through our door no matter their gender, sexuality, race, economic, or educational position in the world. If only staff and programs could be cloned to allow the rest of the community to learn from them. Cheryl

2 Lynn G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Rainbow Center provides tremendous support and and access to information and meeting space in the Tacoma area. In addition being the only LGBTQ center in the entire Puget Sound Region. They provide meeting space for many varied segments of the LGBTQ communities. This is an invaluable service. In addition they gather and distribute an incredible amount of information and services to help those individuals in these varius communities. The leadership run the center very efficiently in all the volunteer endeavors I have participated in with them. The Rainbow Center is an invaluable resource for our community and runs very efficiently.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Board of the Rainbow Center several years ago when I felt that I was ready for board leadership and wanted to give back to my community in a way that felt meaningful to me. During my tenure on the board, I have been consistently impressed with the effort, dedication and results of the team that works there. This is truly a small but mighty organization and one that is very much needed by our community. And, our current Executive Director and staff are the best and most professional that we have ever had. We are blessed to have them!

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Rainbow Center is the only place like it in the area. The staff works so hard and offers me space to work and get connected with resources. It is a safe environment for people in the community to come and get connected to jobs and have accesss to computers. Counseling and resources for people who have been victims of crime is important and the Rainbow Center provides this. It is a great place for LGBTQ members of the community to stop in if they are new to the area. There is also guides for LGBTQ supportive businesses. There are many support groups that meet throughout the week. I cannot think of a better place for people to get plugged into the LGBTQ community.

2 Mike45

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came here just looking for a place to hang out with other gay people and ended receiving a lot of help with issues that were and are a real roadblock to my happiness and well being. Many things in my life have improved recently, some of them are a direct result of my association with the Rainbow Center.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful interaction with those that come to the center. Staff always pleasant and helpful with resources to help empower those that come to the center.

1 Roger Laura O.

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been involved with many non-profit organizations and this is a great one! As the father of a gay man I am pleased that the Rainbow Center is there to provide services, advocacy and support to the LGBTQ community. I have been proud to attend the Black & White Gayla with my wife, mother-in-law, son and son-in-law. I have given both money and items to the RC and have always felt they would be well used. I have donated both computer equipment and my expertise and have enjoyed working with the director, Michelle Douglas and the center staff. My wife and I brought in a carload of snacks and instant meals for RC clients in need this past winter. I find the RC both a professional and welcoming place for all. They are good for the community as a whole.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a long time donor to the Rainbow Center. Their presence in in the South Sound is far reaching. From providing a safe space for our LGBTQ community, meeting space for many organizations, advocates for victims of crime and leaders in the area for teaching on diversity. The Rainbow Center continues to grow and expand. More donors will help make sure this valuable organization continues being the center of the LGBTQ coumminyt in Tacoma and surrounding area.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The Rainbow Center is a great local non-profit with a wide variety of services offered to a wide range of LGBTQ clients and supporters. I am amazed at how much this dedicated group of mostly volunteers is able to accomplish in our community. I have always seen them treat everyone who comes through their doors or to one of their events with respect and sensitivity. I was a supporter for many years before Michelle Douglas became the director and have been very pleased with the direction and professionalism she has brought to the organization. I never doubt that my donation of things or money is being put to the best possible use. I appreciate all that they offer to the LGBTQ community and to the Tacoma area in general. They really do help make our community a better place for us all.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The Rainbow Center is an organization that truly adds to the wealth of our community. It accomplishes this through various education efforts, through direct advocacy and service provision, through the sharing of space with community partners, and through always standing as a beacon hope, reconciliation, and prosperity for the LGBTQ community. The Rainbow Center staff are some of the most hard working, dedicated, and enjoyable people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They truly make this space a home for so many people and should be commended for all that they do for Tacoma-Pierce County. I wholeheartedly recommend that you all take the time to stop by and get to know the Rainbow Center better!

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first became involved with the Rainbow Center through a 20-somethings social group. I later started attending a community support and discussion group for transgender men, Tacoma T-Men, hosted at the Rainbow Center. The RC was there for me through one of the most difficult times of my life, my transition from female to male. I've since had the opportunity to give back to this amazing organization as a facilitator for Tacoma T-Men, becoming a member of the Rainbow Center Board of Directors, and by volunteering at many of the events hosted by the Rainbow Center, like Out in the Park and the Black and White Gayla.

1 Tiffany8

Client Served

Rating: 5

Me and my Wife ( A Transgender Male-to-Female) Traveled from Louisiana to Washington State to escape mistreatment When we got to Tacoma we were greeted with open arms,and given many resources to help us get settled in. The people there were always friendly,and happy to talk with us about any concerns we had. Whenever any of my LGBTQ friends have any problems or concerns,I send them to The Rainbow Center. They don't just help,THEY CARE!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As the primary co-founder and twice board chair person for the Gender Alliance of the South Sound, (G.A.S.S.), it has been my great pleasure to have worked with the many wonderful people who have stepped up either as ED's, Assistant ED's, Temp ED's, board members or other Center volunteers. Every one of them, to a person, were truely angels to our cause. Our work here in Pierce County really has only begun, and our current economic climate, however long it will last, is inarguably a temporary situation. The future of TBLG people in our country is nearing it's hey-day as laws respecting our civil rights and full access to public accomidations continue to be passed at ever increasing rates, and laws which support those who would victimize our people are being dismantled, the resonances of which are opening doors into the minds of less supportive citizens everywhere. We must not give up our fight. The Rainbow Center of Tacoma / Pierce Co. has provided the greatest of all opportunities to our transgender organization for which we will always be grateful. Time, space, and a multitude of other services too numerous to mention have allowed this South Sound Transgender organization to grow like we only dreamed was possible. We have much work to do in the years ahead, and just like the Rainbow Center, the work en-cue will always exceed the volunteer efforts available. But press on we must, for to give up on the change happening in front of our eyes is to give up on all those who've sacrificed the best years they had for our cause. After almost a decade of association with the Rainbow Center I look forward to The rest of my future here in Tacoma and my knowledge that it and the entire TBLG community will always be a big part of my life. Misha Balch.

Review from Guidestar

17

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Rainbow Center has been great! I love the staff, they are so friendly and go out of their way to help you in any way they can. The Rainbow Center offers a number of services and hosts a great selection of events and groups. I feel like there is something for everyone there. They also have excellent resources and can get you information on pretty much anything.

16

Board Member

Rating: 5

I moved to Tacoma from Seattle back in 2000. In Seattle, it seemed anyway, that the GLBTQ community was far more organized and there were a multitude of things to do whatever my interests. Upon my arrival to the City of Destiny however, there seemed to be little to no real organization - so my personal destiny would do something about it. Luckily the first place I was introduced to was the Rainbow Center - not long after I became a board member in January of 2001 stepping down in Novemember of 2007. My time on the board taught me so much and all those who mentored me in that time are near and dear to my heart. I have seen the RC almost from its humble beginnings - when all we had was an 8'x 8' office in the united way building. Today, there is an 1800 sq foot center, supported almost exclusively by the community. The Board, Staff and Volunteers are leading the way to yet another level of service to all south sound citizens by providing the garden of common ground for all individuals, groups and organizations to come together - work together - live together - grow together and just BE together. As one of the leaders of Out In Tacoma now, when we needed support to continue our mission, we went to our friends at the RC for guidance. Thank goodness for them...there will be a PRIDE in 2009. Leadership takes courage and lots of hard work...the Rainbow Center has both of these qualities in abundance. Thanks RC!

16

Board Member

Rating: 5

My experience with the Rainbow Center has been amazing. I have found that all involved with the Rainbow Center, fighting for the cause of equality and providing a safe space for the GLBT community to be invaluable. The energy that the staff, board and those that meet are a powerful force. Thanks for caring and thanks for letting me share. Sincerely, Sean Watson 253-858-2927