Believe it or not, The 519 is not a spin-off from the trendy Toronto nickname ‘The 6IX’. Nevertheless, true to Toronto values, it is a place that celebrates diversity and provides a space for acceptance and opportunity within its community. When 1970-era Torontonians learned that the building at 519 Church Street was going to be condemned, they recognized the potential of the space and rallied to have it established as a community centre. To this day, it continues to serve as a space for marginalized individuals, refugees, and many throughout the LGBTQ+ community that seek a space to connect.

The 519 is a Toronto City Agency and registered charity committed to the health, happiness and full participation of the LGBTQ+ community. With direct services and more than 60 programs developed from a deep understanding of the needs of their community, The 519 serves thousands of people each year and is Canada’s largest LGBTQ centre. Direct services respond to the evolving needs of the LGBTQ community and include counselling services and queer parenting resources as well as refugee programs and seniors support. The 519 also offers accessible and inclusive spaces for events and community-led groups and activities.

One of the ways that they have found success in creating safe spaces is through their Education and Training Program. Through this program alone The 519 provided more than 10,000 individuals with the skills and understanding to create an LGBTQ-inclusive environment within their personal and professional workspaces in 2016. 90% of participants indicated that they felt confident supporting a trans-identified colleague after the course, compared to 10% that felt confident at the beginning of the program.1 In this way, the 519 does an outstanding job of inviting people into the LGBTQ community to promote advocacy and awareness.

With such expansive programming and the increasing demand for space and services, The 519 is eager to explore digital solutions to program management and donor engagement. “As an inner-city organization in Toronto, it’s imperative for us to connect with our community and speak their language. As more and more day-to-day communications, experiences and exchanges move to digital platforms, we are constantly challenged to innovate in order to connect with our clients where they are. With a mandate to reach the LGBTQ+ community, we find that digital tech allows us to not only be accessible but to be relevant, adaptable and responsive to our community” shares Will Webb, Philanthropy Assistant at The 519.

At Gift The Code, you can expect to solve challenges that promote advocacy, optimize program data and organize backend processes. Use your innovative thinking to help The 519 promote healthy and happy LGBTQ+ communities! Register for Gift The Code 2017 today!

Interested to learn more about the other charities? Check out their charity pages!

1 The 519 2015/16 Annual Report