OGDEN — Ogden Pride is looking for a home. Literally.
The organization, which focuses on celebrating and supporting the LGBTQ+ community, is seeking a physical presence in Ogden, according to Harrison Spendlove, board president of Ogden Pride. The group just launched a two-year campaign to raise $500,000 to purchase and renovate a home or office to create the Ogden Pride Center.
“We sat down and analyzed the needs of the community,” Spendlove said. “We have Utah Pride, but honestly, they’re based in Salt Lake. We just don’t have the resources the community needs up north.”
And among those resources is a physical space that would allow Ogden pride, and groups that align with its mission, to have a permanent space to offer services to the local community.
“It’ll be a safe space, a community gathering space, and a space for our youth program,” Spendlove said. “We want to create a sense of belonging, and a type of home.”
Indeed, Spendlove said high on the group’s wish list is finding an actual house to renovate — that way, it has more of a “home feel.” He said they’re also looking for something in central Ogden, in a safe cultural area, preferably downtown, that will be “visible to the community as a whole.” It also needs to be near public transportation so it is easily accessible to youth.
Spendlove admits it’s a tall order.
“Our initial vision is a home or house, possibly a storefront, in central Ogden, he said. “That’s a lot, but we feel like we’re going to need to be visible.”
And with a $500,000 price tag for purchase, renovation and initial operating costs, Spendlove knows the fundraiser will have to be a total community effort.
“I know it’s a tall order, but Ogden has achieved great things in the past,” he said.
Spendlove said the four goals of the new pride center for the LGBTQ+ community will be:
• Provide a safe space for LGBTQ+ people in Ogden and the surrounding areas.
• Foster an environment for gathering in celebration and unity.
• Educate the greater community on the issues and needs facing LGBTQ+ people.
• Support programs and resources that benefit the LGBTQ+ community.
Spendlove said suicide is one of the biggest problems in the state, and the LGBTQ+ community is one of the highest at-risk.
“We want to create a sense of belonging, and a type of home, to combat issues like this,” he said.
According to Spendlove, the new Ogden Pride Center will include a “youth zone,” a resource library, a kitchenette and conference space. He said he envisions the spaces will be interchangeable, and the new center can act as a community gathering place.
Ogden Pride would love to attract an “angel donor” to fund the new center, but Spendlove said any donation is appreciated. Donations can be made online at the ogdenpride.org website. Click on the “Ogden Pride Center” tab, then “Click Here to Donate.”
“All of those funds will be directed into an account, separate from our general account, that is earmarked for building the center,” Spendlove said.
Donors can also call 801-917-4588, or mail a check to Ogden Pride, Inc., P.O. Box 13353, Ogden, UT 84412.
The bottom line, according to Spendlove, is that Ogden Pride needs a greater physical presence in Ogden.
“We need a tangible space to offer the community,” he said. “We want something that people can say, ‘That’s Ogden Pride.’”