Fundraising effort seeks to finance UT Knoxville LGBT center without state money

An effort called “Vol Means All” is underway to fully fund operations at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville’s LGBT student center without government support, according to Out and About in Nashville. The first official fundraiser will be Feb. 1 in Nashville with UT-Knoxville Chancellor Beverly Davenport on hand.

Chad Goldman, a UT alum who was born and raised in Nashville, is coordinating the effort. The California resident was struck by the Tennessee legislature’s decision to defund the Pride Center at UT-Knoxville for one year.

“I thought it was such a wonderful thing that there was a pride center at all,” he said. “There wasn’t one when I was there and had there been one it really would’ve helped me a lot so I was so excited to hear that they had one.” When it was defunded, he felt called to action. In response, he hosted a Super Bowl party/fundraiser a couple years ago with proceeds directed toward the center.

“We were able to raise a good chunk of money that we just handed over to the pride center,” he said. “And I guess it got some attention at the leadership level at UT.”

A member of the advisory board for the College of Arts & Sciences at UT, Goldman met with Chancellor Davenport subsequently where he was asked to lead a fundraising effort that would permanently endow the LGBT center with private funding. Removing its dependency on government funding would allow the center to operate without political interference.

“I want to be sure that everyone knows this is a non-partisan initiative,” Goldman said. “It has nothing to do with politics. It just has everything to do with making sure that LGBTQ and questioning students have a place where they can go on campus at UT. It’s a time in your life when you’re really just trying to figure out who you are.”

Note/Update: The group has a website HERE. The News Sentinel posted a later on the fundraising effort is HERE.

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