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SFGMC Receives Gift From Amazon To Increase Accessibility And Equity

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Investment also includes support of RHYTHM, SFGMC's educational youth outreach program, as well as Crescendo, the non-profit organization's annual benefit.

SFGMC Receives Gift From Amazon To Increase Accessibility And Equity

San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has received a generous gift from Amazon to support The Chan National Queer Arts Center, SFGMC's new home and the first-ever community space for LGBTQ artists and arts organizations.

The donation, totaling $250,000, will allow SFGMC to increase accessibility and equity at the Center through several infrastructure improvements, including the installation of an ADA ramp in the lobby, accessible restroom upgrades, and aesthetic improvements throughout the first floor. With an ongoing commitment to accessibility, starting in 2022 Amazon will provide support for RHYTHM, SFGMC's educational youth outreach program that partners with local school districts to foster a love of music, facilitates understanding, and educates young people on the impact of their words and actions. Amazon's support of Crescendo, SFGMC's annual benefit, will also continue.


"We are deeply appreciative to Amazon for their investment in our local community and commitment to making the arts more equitable and accessible to queer youth, LGBTQ+ seniors, people with disabilities, and more," said SFGMC Executive Director Chris Verdugo. "This extraordinary gift will support forward-thinking initiatives that will enhance the everyday lives of the diverse communities we serve."

"For over forty years, the San Francisco Gay Men's Chorus has fought against discrimination and bigotry and spread a message of inclusion and inspiration. Amazon stands in solidarity with the mission of the Chorus to lift up diverse voices that build community and foster compassion," said Sally Kay, Amazon's Senior Manager of External Affairs in Northern California.

"I'm pleased to welcome Amazon as a partner in supporting this important project," adds California State Senator Scott Wiener. "The State and the California LGBTQ Legislative Caucus have committed a total of $2.2 million to the Arts Center and look forward to it coming to fruition."

SFGMC purchased the Chan National Queer Arts Center in April 2019. Located at 170 Valencia Street in the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District, the building is a four-floor historic property designed by architect Harold Stoner. It was completed in 1931 for the Independent Order of Foresters, a fraternal society that sought a space for convenings. From 1976 until 2018, the space was used as the city's center for the Bahá'í faith. The interior has more than 23,000 square feet, including a spacious lobby, auditorium, stage, dressing rooms, office space, multiple conference rooms, kitchens, and storage.

The Chan National Queer Arts Center will thrive with vibrant programming to activate the space. The programmatic plans of SFGMC are organized among two pillars: Performances and Public Programs and Community and Partnerships.

The building will allow for SFGMC to embark on never-before-possible programs, including:

  • An ongoing Behind the Curtain series, including interviews with leading voices in the LGBTQ and musical communities
  • Guest performances from resident and visiting queer and queer-led arts groups
  • Sing-ins that bring together the community and the chorus in one room
  • Studio Q, a recording and production studio for capturing audio recordings, videos, live performances, and other digital content

For more information on The Chan National Queer Arts Center, visit www.sfgmc.org.


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