WHO ARE WE?
The Dorian Gray Youth Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was developed to help provide funding and resources to the housing insecure LGBTQ+ population of Northeast Ohio, while increasing awareness of how and why this is an under served community. We act as a service connector and financial assistance provider to ensure that individuals in need are provided with either the funding or access to services or items needed.
Our mission is integral to us because at one point in both of the Founder's lives, they struggled with housing insecurity and the vulnerability that came along with finding LGBTQ+-specific resources. After navigating their own paths out of housing insecurity, they developed their careers but carried the lessons they learned. With the current state of the world, they wanted to lessen the struggles for future generations. Join Dorian Gray Youth Foundation in its mission to bridge the gap between hope and home!
WHY DO WE EXIST?
Currently, LGBTQ+ individuals have a 120% higher risk of reporting housing insecurity compared to those who identify as heterosexual and cisgender. It is estimated that LGBTQ+ youth make up to 40% of the unaccompanied housing insecure youth population (while only 5.6% of the total US population identify as LGBTQ+). This exponentially increases the risk of suicide, drug abuse, and risky sexual encounters. Oftentimes, LGBTQ+ individuals become housing insecure from being forced out of their nuclear homes, leaving them with no access to a support system.
Frequently, homeless shelters or community centers do not focus directly on sexual orientation or gender identity when providing resources or shelter. This can lead to dangerous situations for housing insecure LGBTQ+ individuals who are often stigmatized in these areas or placed into shelters that do not designate their gender identity. Additionally, not all resources available are LGBTQ+-affirming, making it difficult for these at-risk youth to have access to safe and unbiased services/resources.
Most often, the community at large is unaware that these gaps exist. In addition to providing assistance, the Dorian Gray Foundation seeks to bring awareness to the general public that the LGBTQ+ housing insecure community is underserved in the resources provided while encompassing a disproportionate percentage of those in need. Awareness is important to help those outside the community better understand our struggles and to help educate service providers (homeless shelters, community centers, religious institutions, etc) on where the gaps exist so that they can work to close them..
HOW ARE WE FUNDED?
The Dorian Gray Foundation currently receives funding through a variety of sources, with 100% of proceeds going directly to those in need:
HOW IS DORIAN GRAY GALLERIES DIFFERENT THAN DORIAN GRAY YOUTH FOUNDATION?
Dorian Gray Galleries was our 2022 fundraising project. We took in donated art at no cost and then auctioned it off all over the country! All proceeds from the sale of art (paintings, pottery, jewelry, antiques, etc) under Dorian Gray Galleries was used to fund the mission of the Dorian Gray Foundation. Dorian Gray Galleries was an exciting, enjoyful, and incredibly beneficial project and we look forward to doing other projects in the future!
HOW IS FUNDING ALLOCATED/DISTRIBUTED?
The Dorian Gray Foundation utilizes an online application for individuals to request funding for services or resources. In addition, the Dorian Gray Foundation works with social workers, homeless shelters, community centers, etc to connect directly with individuals in need. This ensures that 100% of the money needed by the individual makes it directly to their current needs.
Donations to the Dorian Gray Foundation is intended to provide housing insecure/at-risk LGBTQ+ individuals in need with funding for transitional housing, basic necessities, gender-affirming clothing, mental health services, career services, food, or other needs as requested.
HOW DO WE WORK WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS?
Community centers, homeless shelters, social workers, and religious institutions to connect directly with individuals in need and raise awareness of our mission
Local businesses for fundraising event opportunities and donations of often requested commodities that could be provided directly to individuals or other community centers
Other nonprofits to assist with finances for services they provide to the LGBTQ+ housing insecure community
Artists and art galleries for those interested in donating art or potential pop-up sites for fundraising events
WHY THE NAME 'DORIAN GRAY'?
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Dorian Gray, it is a novel from Oscar Wilde about a young man who lives life without abandon as only his portrait is affected by his life choices. People often see the character of Dorian Gray as villainous due to his immorality. However, Dorian Gray was one of the first openly queer characters and was written in a time when such topics were still taboo. The book was written as Oscar Wilde was coming to terms with his own sexuality and refused to censor the book at the request of publishers and public views. The book went on to be one of the most famous books in history. To us, Dorian Gray represents being unashamed and proud in the face of a society that so often misunderstands our importance.