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Harvey House

Harvey House is a drop-in community center for LGBTQ+ and allied teens in Toledo, Ohio. Our mission is to provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ teens to get education, find resources, and experience social opportunities. Tax ID 47-3744584


Harvey House operates as a drop-in community center for LGBTQ+ and allied teens ages 12-19. During open hours, teens can come in for programming, to get resources, or for necessary supplies, such as hygiene products, clothing, or male-affirming binders. Programming is offered in a variety formats over numerous topics, including writing workshops, support groups, educational courses, drag make-up, improv, LGBTQ+ inclusive sex-ed, and others.

In additional to on-site programming, Harvey House enjoys partnerships with numerous local organizations so our teens have the chance to experience some of the wonderful things Toledo has to offer, while being surrounded by teens and adults who embrace their identity. Harvey House teens are able to enjoy local theatre, music, and arts, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and donors.

A Note from Kristen, co-founder:

About three years ago, my wife said, "hey, are there any community centers for gay kids in Toledo?" Little did I know, this was the start of something incredible.

We launched Harvey House with nothing more than a desire to create a space we wished we had growing up. If I had been able to visit a space where gay was ok and I could meet people who were just like me, would I have ended up in an abusive relationship that lasted way longer than it should have and fucked me up (pardon my language) so bad, that I still struggle years later? It's hard to say, but maybe it would have made a difference. Maybe I would have learned things about myself sooner and made smarter choices. Maybe I would have been braver about coming out sooner. Maybe I wouldn't have gone through the "try to be straight" phrase. We'll never really know.

When I tell kids about Harvey House, I want them to understand they are safe here. I want them to know we will do whatever we can to get them what they need - classes, support groups, clothes, food, hygiene products, chest binders, mental healthcare, whatever they need. I want them to know that they are about to meet adults who do this work because they love it, not because it pays well, but because the rewards are so much greater than the struggles. I want them to know we will go toe-to-toe with their school administration and fight for their rights as students. I want them to understand that we may not have all the answers, but we are willing to look for them where ever we can. I hope they know the sacrifices we've made in our adult lives to prevent even just one kid from feeling the way we did growing up.

An example of some of the programming we've done? We've gone bowling. We've done escape rooms. We've held support groups and educational classes. We've hosted a Holi-gay party, a Thanks-gay-ving dinner, and an anti-Valentine's Day party. In June, we will host our first ever gay prom. We provide gender appropriate clothing to our kids (trans, non-binary and everything else). We provide chest binders to kids who can't afford them or who can't get support from their parents. We feed these kids, constantly. If you have a teenager, you know how much they can eat. We offer hygiene products, we have school supplies, we have a lending library, we have safe-sex supplies. We try to make sure every need is met for these kids who might not have their needs met at home.

For the Art Van Charity Challenge, Harvey House is competing against 46 other organizations for a shot at $50,000. The charity who raises the most money will get $50,000. Second place is $25,000. Then third, fourth and fifth place each get $10,000. It may not seem like much, but our annual operating budget is only about $30,000, and that's with a lot counted for programming. I can assure you every dollar donated is well-spent. Every dollar goes towards maintaining the space (rent, utilities, insurance) or providing programming (supplies, food, etc) to the kids. No one gets a paycheck. No one has a company vehicle. And if anyone has a vacation home, it sure has nothing to do with Harvey House. Every dollar donated goes right back to the kids. To be eligible for these prizes, we need to do two things. First, we need to have a minimum of 25 unique donors who give at least $10. People who live in the same household are counted as separate donors as long as they are doing separate transactions. Second, we need to raise at least the fifth most money out of all these organizations. I think we can do it. I hope we can do it. These kids are counting on you.