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Case Study

Expanding support to the LGBTQ+ community


Addressing urgent needs

“Pride started as a riot, as a call to action,” says Elizabeth Schedl, executive director of Hudson Pride Center. “It’s a celebration of who we are, but it’s also about activism and all that’s left to be done.”

In 1993, the Jersey City-headquartered 501(c)(3) nonprofit launched to address an urgent need: advocacy and social services for both the LGBTQ+ and HIV/AIDS communities in Hudson County, New Jersey.

Person speaking through a megaphone at a pride rally

“Hudson Pride Center is about connection to affirming and supportive care, connections to services, and connections to safe spaces for individuals to take part in activities and celebrate who they are,” says Elizabeth.

With a staff of 15 and funding from the New Jersey Department of Health and various grants, Hudson Pride Center serves as a vital conduit for many essential services that the greater Hudson County LGBTQ+ community needs.

Statistics showing the impact of the Hudson Pride Center


Obstacles to proper care

The LGBTQ+ community faces very real barriers when it comes to healthcare, including pervasive misconceptions about HIV/AIDS. “A lot of people don’t understand that it’s an STI and that, if contracted, you can still live a full healthy life as long as you take the medications that are prescribed to you,” Elizabeth says.

Mental health access is another barrier. “It’s very hard to find an LGBTQ+ supportive and affirming therapist within your insurance company that has appointments available,” Elizabeth says.

Understandably, members of the community are often not comfortable in non-affirming environments. “It can be very scary for someone to go into a doctor’s office and discuss personal information, not knowing if that physician is supporting of their sexuality or gender identity, and this is often times a barrier to care and a reason many LGBTQ+ individuals do not go to the doctor on a regular basis.” Elizabeth continues.

Immigration status, poverty, insufficient health insurance, and the steep cost of medications further complicate the picture.

60% of LGBTQ+ youth wanted mental healthcare in the past year but weren't able to get it. 45% of LGBTQ+ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

It's just very hard for somebody to go into a doctor's office and discuss personal information, not knowing if that person is supportive of their sexuality or gender - Elizabeth Schedl, executive director


Robust healthcare and community offerings

The Hudson Pride Center ensures that all needs are met for LGBTQ+ members to not just survive but thrive.

Photo of a man attending a support group meeting

Hudson Pride Center offers:

  • Gender-affirming services and community resources like hormone therapy readiness assessments
  • Housing assistance for those living with HIV
  • HIV-prevention through the PrEP Medication Access Program
  • Mental health screenings and counseling
  • Food and hygiene supplies
  • Trainings for cultural sensitivity
  • Weekly support groups
  • Annual events including Friendsgiving and winter holiday dinner

Technology boosts reach

Technology has played a vital role in expanding Hudson Pride Center’s reach. “We used to be an agency that only offered in-person services and that very much limited who we could serve,” Elizabeth says. But using Zoom has enabled virtual gatherings from all over.

A couple relaxing and looking at a tablet

Before Bonterra, communications were splintered. “We had multiple platforms we were using that weren’t talking with one another and thus we couldn't fully capture or enhance our impact,” Elizabeth says. “Bonterra greatly expanded our reach , as well as helped us store and view all data in one place — data that we could then view and learn from to further our ways of communication and thus impact.”

Through one platform Hudson Pride Center can see its donors and sponsors at a glance. The community engagement manager uses the platform to set up all e-blasts, thank-you notes, and reminders for events.


A continued evolution

Hudson Pride Center is increasing its footprint and visibility with a new storefront in Union City, New Jersey. The organization hopes to expand staff onsite to include mental health professionals and licensed clinical social workers, instead of always leaning on outside referrals.

“The reality is it’s hard to say what's next for Hudson Pride Center in three or 10 years from now,” Elizabeth says. “Our goal is to always continue evolving and meeting the needs of our LGBTQ+ community, and those needs change overtime.“

Meanwhile, Pride is an opportune time to celebrate achievements and take an inventory of the work that remains.

“We should all feel like we can celebrate our existence and who we are,” says Elizabeth.

“But where we are today will look different from where we are next year when we talk about Pride. We still need a lot more acceptance, awareness, and education. One thing is for sure, LGBTQ+ people deserve to live fully and authentically themselves, and until this happens, we will not stop fighting for our equality. ”

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