With more than 10 years of success serving Southwest Michigan’s LGBT community, we are 1 of only 7 such nonprofit organizations in Michigan.
Founded in 2003 by local community members, the OutCenter began as a local YWCA program to serve the local LGBT community.
In 2009 the OutCenter moved to its current home in the Arts District of Benton Harbor, Michigan.
In 2010, with the help of funding from the Arcus Foundation, we became an independent non-profit organization.
The OutCenter continues as an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization led by a Board of community members. We are expanding our efforts to serve Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties in Southwest Michigan. Our intent is to set new precedents in serving the LGBT community while also working to establish safe and whole communities for everyone.
Our mission is to provide LGBT people and their families support and advocacy. We work to establish respect, understanding and nondiscrimination of LGBT people in Southwest Michigan. We fulfill that mission through direct services, as well as change-oriented initiatives.
The OutCenter envisions Southwest Michigan as a fully integrated community in which lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons and their families are welcome, respected, valued, understood, and afforded the same rights and responsibilities as everyone else.
Highlight of Impacts
2003 Out Film Festival received Mayoral proclamation in Benton Harbor
2004 Whole Lives, Healthy Lives Adult Support Group is launched
2006 Youth program is launched
2007 Sponsored first LGBT float in 109 year-old Blossomtime Festival
2007 Recipient of Triangle Foundation Catalyst Award for leadership and civic engagement at Blossomtime Festival
2009 Convened faith communities and leaders as Affirming Clergy
2010 Organized “Out of the Closet, Into the Light” conference on faith and sexuality
2010 Received designation as 501(c)(3) organization from IRS and Michigan
2011 Launched first major golf fund raising event, securing over $50,000 net
2013 Celebrate 10 year anniversary and received funds from Frederick S. Upton and Berrien Community Foundations
2014 First ever Teen Pride Prom; LGBT Cultural Competency Training provided to largest employer in Berrien County; three additional agencies and organizations also received training.
Board of Directors
Todd Dockerty - Chair
Paul Lane - Vice Chair
Francie Porter-Snyder - Treasurer
Marci Weber - Secretary