The Center, Denver's GLBT nonprofit, moves to fancy new digs; check them out today!

After 34 years spent advocating for and supporting Denver's GLBT community, The Center has a home of its own. The nonprofit, which sponsors Denver's annual PrideFest celebration, has moved to fancy new digs on the corner of Colfax and Lafayette -- and Westword got a tour of the new building (complete with a rooftop deck with a mountain view!) yesterday at a VIP celebration for donors.

The general public -- that's anyone and everyone! -- is welcome to drop by today from 3 to 8 p.m. for The Center's grand opening.

But we wanted to offer you a sneak peek. In the words of Carlos Martinez, The Center's executive director: "This building represents unity, strength and power within our community. The community really rallied behind this project."

It started with a $1.2 million donation nearly three years ago from a volunteer named Roy G. Wood. When Wood, an quiet man who tended The Center's library, died, he left 90 percent of his estate to the organization, an arrangement that took The Center by surprise. They were grateful, Martinez says, and they wanted to spend the money in a meaningful way. Rather than just buy an existing building, The Center decided to leverage Wood's donation into a capital campaign to raise money for a building of its own.

"He inspired us to think big and to dream big," Martinez says. The Center moved from its rented space on Broadway to its brand new, four-level building about seven weeks ago. The new building is bright: full of windows and vibrant colors. The lowest level houses Rainbow Alley, The Center's youth drop-in center. On October 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the downtown Sheraton hotel, Rainbow Alley will host Gaybutante, an event modeled after the debutante tradition at which youth tell their coming out stories for friends and supportive adults. The main level includes a common area named after Wood, as well as several smaller conference rooms, the organization's legal resources and a "cyber center" complete with new flat-screen computers. Staff offices and cubicles occupy the second floor. And then there's the rooftop deck; yesterday, it was filled with chairs and a podium, a C-shaped black leather couch, tables full of hors d'oeuvres and a DJ spinning Soft Cell's "Tainted Love."

So far, The Center has raised $2.8 million of the $3.5 million needed to complete its capital campaign. To reach its final goal, the organization is encouraging folks to sign up to donate $27.77 a month for three years, which adds up to $1,000.

"It's a way for everyone to give back," Martinez says.

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Melanie Asmar is a staff writer for Westword. She joined the paper in 2009 and has won awards for her stories about education, immigration and epic legal battles. Got a tip? She'd love to hear it.
Contact: Melanie Asmar