Message from GRIOT Circle's Executive Director (1)

As many of you know, at the onset of COVID 19 and during the protests for racial justice, GRIOT Circle's priority was to anchor our members by responding rapidly and implementing an array of innovative services to hundreds of our members that included, but was not limited to:

· Online health and wellness classes.

· Daily telephone reassurance calls.

· Meal delivery coordination.

· Supportive services and linkages to community resources

The staff, board, volunteers, community, and donors ALL contributed to maintaining services and meeting the needs of GRIOT "elders" during a time of crisis. This approach to the provision of services continues today, but with a measured hybrid model that includes in-person and remote offerings.

GRIOT recently faced additional challenges when it became necessary to move out of the office and programming space we have occupied for more than a decade. The NYS Office of Mental Health (NYSOMH) subsidized our area which allowed us to allocate 100% of our funds to support key staff positions and provide our portfolio of programs and services necessary to ensure that our members age in place, as well as live a life centered on dignity and grace. We are thankful to NYSOMH for their critical contribution.

NYSOMH and the building owners have parted ways, and all organizations, including GRIOT, have vacated the building at 25 Flatbush in Brooklyn, N.Y., as of March 1. Although the displacement required a great deal of planning, energy, and time, we have continued to provide critical support to our members. We continue to operationalize a strategic plan centered on a sustainable fundraising plan that will enable us to find GRIOT a permanent space, as well as allow us to provide the highest levels of service to our members. We are currently continuing to offer our online classes, meal provision, case management support, and continue to hold safe in-person services.

To this end, GRIOT and SAGE (Advocacy and Services for LGBTQ+ Elders) have had a strong collaborative working relationship, birthed by a subcontracting agreement made several years ago. SAGE is providing GRIOT a temporary space at the Stonewall Houses in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. This arrangement allows our staff to have a physical workspace and conduct live programming for our members.

We are thankful to SAGE and its leadership for providing GRIOT with a necessary temporary space as we implement our funding strategies and seek a permanent home.

GRIOT's priority is to build on our 25-year legacy of working with, and serving, LGBTQ+ elders of color. We are grateful to all our partners - donors, community organizations, volunteers, and members - for your support and belief in our mission over the years.

Please join us as we write a new chapter in the GRIOT story of aging with pride, dignity, and wholeness. We will continue to update you as we make strides to center our members and rise, as we have always done.

Lastly, please take a moment to read a recent article that appeared in Gay City News, highlighting one of our most popular classes

(Click here to read article)

Please feel free to reach out to any of our staff members if you have any questions or concerns by calling us at 718-246-2775 or reunion@griotcircle.org.

In service,

Jose Albino, Executive Director

Andriene Johnson, Board Co-Chair

Amanda Lugg, Board Co-chair