The Binghamton University chapter of Pride and Joy Families, an organization dedicated to supporting LGBTQ families and helping members of the LGBTQ community achieve personal goals, is pledging to maintain an online presence after closing on April 30, when it lost its funding from the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH).
Pride and Joy Families was founded in April 2000 with a $43,000 grant award for LGBTQ Health and Human Services from NYSDOH. For the past 19 years, the organization has provided trainings, educational programs, information and referral services, a directory of LGBTQ-inclusive services and support for LGBTQ families and prospective parents.
Although the organization was denied funding, their application was approved by NYSDOH and they will continue to exist as a local nonprofit organization in the Binghamton community, according to Claudia Stallman, project director of the Lesbian and Gay Family Building Project.
“What the New York State Health Department told us is that this time around more organizations applied, and they made the decision to award some of our competitors this time around rather than us,” Stallman said. “Pride and Joy still exists, but we’ve been enjoying healthy support from the New York State Health Department for 19 years running. We’ve had to lay off our staff and we have closed our office in women, gender and sexuality studies on campus.”
Stallman said staff were disappointed when their funding was not renewed because they felt that their application had grown stronger over the course of the past five years, despite the increasing competition within the application pool.
“Rather than being under the rubric of the research foundation on campus, there’s a small, local New York state-incorporated nonprofit in the community called the Center for Gender, Art and Culture,” Stallman said. “Our program will come under that local community-based nonprofit, so we’ll maintain our nonprofit status. We have an advisory board of community members who will be trying to keep up the presence for Pride and Joy and seek other funding.”
Stallman said Pride and Joy Families feels members of the University community, such as families and preprofessional students, have benefited from the on-campus services Pride and Joy Families has offered. Specifically, Stallman said, the LGBTQ Cultural Competency Training includes educating their audiences on appropriate terms to expand their knowledge on the basics of sexual and gender diversity, helping to recreate intake forms that are affirmative and LGBTQ-inclusive.
Stallman said being on campus has allowed Pride and Joy Families to add a research element to their work, specifically with the help from psychology, human development and social work professors.
“Having scholars on our advisory board helped us with that social science piece of writing questionnaires, asking effective questions and really doing measurements to see how effective our programs were,” Stallman said. “That’s something that the New York State Health Department requires, that you get feedback from your audience and then take that feedback and improve your programming next time. We actually thought the move to campus would make us more eligible for future funding and would be giving the Department of Health more of what they wanted, but they seem to want something else.”
Stallman said Pride and Joy Families will continue to co-sponsor provider trainings and will work to maintain the connections they have made during their time on campus.