In June of 1994 the heads of the Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and New York Centers (respectively, the late John Thomas, Kat Morgan, Lorri L. Jean, Ann DeGroot and Richard Burns) launched the National Association of LGBT Community Centers as part of the celebrations marking the 25th Anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion with the goal of strengthening the movement of LGBT community centers. At that time, more than thirty centers gathered for an all-day meeting at the Lesbian & Gay Community Services Center of New York during the Stonewall 25 commemorations. The Association began organizing twice-yearly annual meetings, in conjunction with the Health Association conference and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Creating Change Conference. Regional meetings also were organized around the country.
Without paid staff, the Association relied for many years on the leadership and coordination efforts of an annually elected Executive Committee comprised of seven leaders of member centers. By 2004 the Association had become successful enough to hire its first full-time staff person.
In 2008 the Association changed its name to CenterLink. Today, CenterLink has eight full-time staff and over 170 member Centers. CenterLink produces an annual summit for executive directors and board leaders of LGBT community centers and provides technical assistance and support to over 500 individuals and centers every year.
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