In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Jacob Kneip who saw a need to create an LGBTQ+ community support center in a conservative suburb 45 minutes outside of Chicago – Wheaton, Illinois. The organization is OutSpoken Leaders (https://www.outspokenil.org/)
I apologize for my mis-introduction. Neither caught that to rerecord.
Watch or listen to Jacob share his ah-ha moment and his journey so far in creating a safe and welcoming space for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, asexual, intersex, queer, and questioning youth.
01:30 Jacob shares his background and how never thought he was going to be an activist or community leader and how he need up in the Chicago suburb that is predominantly conservative.
04:00 One door closes and another opens.
06:00 A young person comes out to him and shares their fear of parents knowing. This was his ah-ha moment that a need for an LGBTQ+ support group/center existed.
08:00 How it got started, a grassroots effort.
10:00 The local library immediately, rejected his space request. He moved on to the Parks and Recreation Center immediately jump on to host the group on a regular basis.
14:30 Jacob describes his first meeting where a Mom attended and strategy for growth.
17:00 Regular programs are now in place both in-person and virtual.
18:30 COVID actually helped the organization grow and they started offering virtual support groups every day.
19:00 Beers with Queers spawned allowing the group to meet outdoors in a COVID-safe way and support a local business.
19:20 The group spans three communities with a combined population of around 100,000 people. We chat about recent studies showing 15.9% of Americans between 18-23 self-identify as LGBTQ. How to acquire the area general population and leverage that in grants and other fundraising efforts
25:00 Jacob shares how the group was initially funded and his amazing response from local businesses.
27:00 Jacob describes the benefits of getting business support.
28:00 Leveraging CenterLink’s resources, education, development, programming curriculum guidance, curated funding lists, and cross-country network of other center leaders to mentor and support each other. https://www.CenterLink.org
38:00 Jacob shares projects such as the area’s Pride is in planning that will be a hybrid virtual and in person.
45:00 Jacob offers to chat with you if you are considering starting a community resources center/group in your area no matter where you are in the world.
To connect with Jacob find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/outspokenil/
OutSpoken Illinois: https://www.outspokenil.org/
Join me and Jacob on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies, and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality-focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com
Would you like to be a featured guest on the show? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/