The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center is dedicated to enhancing and sustaining the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals, our families and allies, by providing educational, social, and health related activities, programs and services.
The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center was founded and incorporated in June of 2017, by two African American gay men, Jeff Myers and Joe Hawkins. The Center was established as a 501(c)(3) by both the IRS and the State of California in February of 2018. Joe Hawkins, who is also co-founder of Oakland Pride, is the Center's first CEO/Executive Director. Jeff Myers, who also worked as a volunteer coordinator with Oakland Pride, is the Center's first Board Chair.
The Center headquarters opened with a single office and began operation, in July of 2017, in the "Co-Munity" co-working office space, located at 3207 Lakeshore Ave., in Oakland's beautiful Lake Merritt-Grand Lake district. The Center's first board of directors was organized in August of 2017. Over one hundred community members were recruited to help conduct a community needs assessment that included 22 focus groups, representative of Oakland's rich ethnic, cultural, gender, age and socio-economically diverse community. The grand opening for the new Center was held on September 7, 2017.
The Center's newly formed board of directors, were presented with an opportunity to take over the entire "Co-Munity" offices, after the co-working operator went out of business in December of 2017.
The Center's board of directors decided to accept the challenge and secured its first lease agreement, beginning January 1, 2018 and in May of 2020, the Center expanded by leasing the entire upper level at 3207 & 3209 Lakeshore Ave, to open Oakland's only LGBTQ plus centered clinic.
The creation of this service in Oakland marks the first time in our city's history, that a non-profit organization has opened a multi-ethnic, intergenerational, LGBTQ community multi-service center. The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center is also one of very few, all-inclusive LGBTQ community centers in the nation, led and founded by African Americans, and the first in the state of California.
Our goal is to become Oakland’s premier network of programs and services for the LGBTQ community.
The principles that guide the actions of the Center board, staff and volunteers are:
• Inclusiveness and diversity founded on human and civil rights for all
• Financial stability, transparency, and integrity
• Collaboration with consumers and other community agencies to provide a continuum of care and services
• Compassionate, quality service delivery
• Continual quality improvement
• Leadership development
• Measurable outcomes.