Letter from Executive Director

Letter from GRIOT

Hello GRIOT Community

We hope that everyone is having a great start of 2023

As a continued supporter of our mission and great work, our intention for this year and beyond is to keep you more engaged and informed of the happenings at GRIOT.

As you may recall, 2022 was an arduous year for the organization. The loss of our in-kind permanent space – our home for over a decade -, as well as significant funding, required us to pause and institute long term fundraising and strategic plans that would anchor the organization for years to come. Thanks to our supporters and our community partners (namely SAGE and The Spanish Speaking Elderly Council- RAICES) we were able to lean continue serving our members with innovative classes and learning opportunities, as well as support the staff. The leadership will always be steadfast in doing this.

One key recent accomplishment has been that through the fierce advocacy and leadership from the NYC Council Chair on Aging, Crystal Hudson, and the NYC Speaker Adams (and undoubtedly their peers), we were able to secure $300,000 via the LGBT Senior Center in Every Borough Initiative. This new funding has assisted us with retaining key staff members and health and wellness consultants. But more importantly, it will allow us to find, and fund, a new office/programmatic space for the organization.

So, what's next?

Currently we are looking at several permanent locations in the Downtown Brooklyn area. We have identified several properties for consideration, and have intentionally included the input of our resilience GRIOT members who have been steadfast with their support and patience. To this end, our search will consist of securing a location that has ample public transportation options and appropriate access for our members, and also allow us to provide innovative programs and services on evenings and weekends – beyond the aging center model of 9 a.m - 5 p.m.  In short, we are being measured and methodical about this important decision.

We are also extremely excited about, aside from finding our new home, embarking on a strategic plan that will allow us to re-imagine and re-design our portfolio of services, vision, and goals. One that speaks to the best practices and approaches to serving LGBT+ elders of color.  To ensure this, the staff and members are working with a organizational development consultant to help us create an agency that fits the needs of our community as we help LGBTQ elders of color ‘age in place.’ An agency that is radically inclusive and promotes healing justice.

As we work on these two critical components and position ourselves for growth, we are continuing to employ a hybrid model of services. Through a partnership with the Brooklyn Community Pride Center, we are serving members live, twice a week. Here they are able to take advantage of numerous health and wellness classes and support groups. In addition, we continue to provide remote classes, as well as also dialing up the provision of social/cultural outings for our members in the warmer months to come.

Exciting opportunities are in store for GRIOT this year and we look forward to sharing more news as they develop. Please continue to stay connected with us as we re-write a new chapter in the organization’s history.

Thank you and stay resilient.

The GRIOT Circle Team