Go Groupon shopping, help Rush Center expand

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Everybody loves a good deal and a good deed. So is it good fun to help a gay cause through Groupon? Of course it is, and Atlanta’s LGBT community center is counting on you to take advantage of a Groupon offer to fulfill the final project in its multi-pronged expansion plan.

The Philip Rush Center – homebase for Atlanta Pride, Georgia Equality, the Health Initiative and several other local gay groups – takes part in Groupon’s 2014 Community Center Pride Fundraising Initiative. Every cent of funds raised goes toward renovating a space for private meetings including support groups, as well as additional workspaces for volunteers and interns.

The finished project would meet two priorities from an LGBT needs assessment that set the Rush Center on its current course, according to the Groupon campaign announcement.

In a 2011 needs assessment of the LGBT community in Georgia, 72% of respondents said support services were a top priority for unmet needs.  In that same survey 56% said that a safe meeting space was a top unmet need.

Sounds good, but how much will it cost? Don’t worry. It won’t take another $31,000 rent party like the one that made the up-and-running Rush Center Annex and other Rush Center reno projects a reality. In fact, it's the affordable, final phase of a two-year expansion plan at the center.

An estimated $7,500 can renovate existing rooms in the Rush Center front offices to create the new space, says Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality and one of the Rush Center organizers. They’re looking to raise $3,500 to $4,000, half the meeting space budget, from the Groupon campaign, says Graham (photo, left, with Rush Center partner and Health Initiative director Linda Ellis).

The project is totally doable, and it’s crucial to the people who’ll use it, Graham says.

“We feel that it’s incredibly important,” he says. “Our support groups and other meetings currently take place in our community room. It’s a wide-open space and we sometimes have others walking through, so it’s really important for us to have that confidential safe space for them.

“We also think it’s going to be an enhancement for the entire community, because it’ll be available to rent out for small meetings of all kinds that they may need to have,” Graham adds.

That’s where you come in. Through July 1, the Rush Center partnership with Groupon Grassroots, the online discount hub's non-profit arm, is open for your Rush Center donations in increments of $10. Center honchos cleaning your toilet not included.

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