Jim Toy Community Center to close office, starts GoFundMe campaign

Ann Arbor LGBTQ resource center announces new leadership, will close doors end of January

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The Jim Toy Community Center announced Tuesday that the doors of its physical office space, located at 319 Braun Court, would close at the end of January.

The LGBTQ resource center serves Ann Arbor and other Washtenaw County communities.

It will continue operating without a physical location, it said in a release.

Outgoing JTCC president Travis Radina said that the closing of other businesses in Braun Court and the challenge of maintaining the organization’s “largely-vacant” center have lead to the closure.

He added that the organization hopes to reopen a physical space in the future.

“Until then, we will remain focused on hosting Ann Arbor Pride and other community events, advocating for LGBTQ-friendly policies statewide and locally, and engaging with local LGBTQ community members to identify areas of need that our organization may be able to meet,” Radina said.

Jim Toy Community Center has also launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with the expenses of the volunteer-run nonprofit.

According to the campaign page, the organization has experienced “dramatic declines in fundraising revenue” while its expenses have remained the same.

The GoFundMe description notes that the organization also suffered financial loss and property loss due to a break-in at the center a few months ago.

Donated funds will go towards offsetting losses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and organization expenses while JTCC plans for the center’s future, according to the campaign page.

“That is why we are calling on the community for help: If you believe that Ann Arbor deserves a vibrant and robust LGBTQ Community Center, we need your support and investment, now more than ever,” reads the GoFundMe.

With a goal of $30,000, the campaign has received over $2,000 in donations as of Tuesday night.

Find the GoFundMe here.

New leadership

In addition to announcing the GoFundMe campaign and building closure, JTCC announced a change in leadership.

After the Jim Toy Community Center board of directors meeting in December, Joe Schoch was elected as board president in 2021. He is replacing Travis Radina, who was elected as an Ann Arbor City Council member representing Ward 3 in November.

Radina served as JTCC president for four years and will remain on the board of directors to help with the leadership transition.

Schoch was the director of Ann Arbor Pride for 2020, served on the JTCC board of directors for two years and worked with the Ann Arbor Pride planning committee for several years, according to a release.

He assumed his duties on Jan. 1.

Additionally, JTCC Vice President Diana Cass and Treasurer Robert Joerg were both re-elected for their respective roles in the organization, which also elected Sindhu Sreedhar as Board Secretary.

“I am very grateful for the confidence the Jim Toy Community Center board has expressed in me through this election and I’m very excited about the opportunity to shape the future of the Center over the next year. Between the closing our physical space at the end of January and managing other challenges presented by this ongoing pandemic, 2021 will be a critical year for the Center. I look forward to working with the rest of our leadership team to continue providing steady and responsible oversight of our organization, hosting Ann Arbor Pride and other community events, advocating for LGBTQ-friendly policies statewide and locally, and developing a vision for an even stronger post-pandemic LGBTQ Community Center.

Joe Schoch, Jim Toy Community Center President

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.