The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, which opened in 2016, provides arts, health, and youth programs for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the Lehigh Valley.
The center’s wide-ranging programs include a 2,100-volume LGBT library, two fine art galleries, the Reel Queer Film Series, a free legal clinic, biweekly HIV/STI testing and screenings, daily LGBT youth programs, and more. All these services aim to support a regional LGBT population that increased by 55 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to U.S. Census data.
“Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center is a vital addition to the greater Lehigh Valley because it provides a safe and welcoming environment for LGBT youth and adults, who many times are rejected by family and friends because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Donna Cruciani, president of FUSE, PPL Corporation’s employee group for LGBT employees and allies. “The center is a place where any LGBT person can go to receive assistance, training, attend health workshops; read and learn about LGBT history, arts and culture; or just to meet new friends.”
Adrian Shanker, executive director of Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, says the center wanted to add more technology-focused offerings. Its plans included youth writing workshops, resume clinics, computer classes, and enrollment events for Medicare and other health services, not to mention drop-in Internet access.
But to do that, the center on West Maple Street in center-city Allentown needed to open a computing center.
“In 2017, the Internet and access to technology is no longer a luxury,” Shanker said. “Without technology, people can’t apply for jobs. They can’t access health insurance. They can’t do a lot of the things many of us take for granted.”
In June, Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center received a $5,000 grant from the PPL Foundation to support hard-wiring and network setup for its new Cyber Center. The grant was part of a larger round of Foundation grants totaling $450,000 distributed across PPL Electric Utilities’ service territory in central and eastern Pennsylvania.
The Cyber Center also received support from private donors, as well as PowerOn, an organization that refurbishes and distributes technology to LGBT community centers.
The Cyber Center opened in late summer, and offers the community nine computers with secure, high-speed Internet access – further cementing Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center’s role as a key destination for the area LGBT community.
“We’re very grateful to the PPL Foundation,” Shanker said. “These services allow us to better serve our community.”
“PPL celebrates and acknowledges its commitment to its LGBT employees and the growing Lehigh Valley LGBT community by its continued financial and verbal support of the Center,” Cruciani added. “PPL is a champion for equality for the LGBT community.”