NEW LOCATION, NEW LEADERSHIP
Caption: Developing the organizational infrastructure to meet the growing needs of Manitoba's 2SLGBTQ+ community, Executive Director, Noreen Mian (right), is supported by three directors, (left to right): Joey Moore, Director of Services; Ashley Smith, Director of Advocacy; Evan Maydaniuk, Director of Development.
Just before Pride, the staff at Rainbow Resource Centre moved into their new home at 545 Broadway. This move was the first step to completing the vision of Place of Pride, a complete campus of queer services featuring the historic Wilson House, affordable housing for 2SLGBTQ+ older adults, and purpose-built cultural space.
Getting to this chapter in Rainbow's history, with a new location and construction well underway, is a testament to the leadership of Canada's longest continuously serving queer and trans community centre.
"Rainbow has found its home," says Noreen Mian, Executive Director, who saw Rainbow through the pandemic, secured the new location, and began building Canada's first affordable housing for 2SLGBTQ+ older adults and surrounding campus of queer services. "As we celebrate our 50th anniversary, we are confidently taking our place at 545 Broadway and proudly building a place to belong for the 2SLGBTQ+ community for the next 50 years."
With the physical infrastructure well on its way, Noreen has surrounded herself with a team of directors to ensure the organizational infrastructure is in place to support the growing needs of Manitoba's 2SLGBTQ+ communities and its allies.
Of her directors, Joey Moore, Director of Services, is most familiar with Rainbow. Joey joined the Centre in 2011 as a volunteer and in 2017 as a staff member holding many roles throughout their time, including School Equity and Inclusion Coordinator, Youth Programs Coordinator, and Participant Support Coordinator.
Joey recently co-coordinated the transition to Broadway while ensuring Rainbow's pillar of services (including the Youth, Older Adult, Counselling and Camp Aurora Programs) have space to flourish in the new location.
"Rainbow is truly emerging as a Place of Pride," says Joey, who recognizes the sacrifices of the trailblazers who paved the way for the community to thrive. "We are honored to continue this work to meet the emerging needs of the 2SLGBTQ+ community," they say. "Prioritizing queer joy and trans liberation will always be part of our future."
A new commitment for Rainbow is to be increase their visibility on issues that impact 2SLGBTQ+ communities and to develop a more robust educational experience. Director of Advocacy, Ashley Smith, equipped with a communications, education, and 2SLGBTQ+ advocacy background, has hit the ground running in this next chapter. You may see Ashley in the media speaking out against the rise of anti-queer rhetoric, but in the background, he's developing an exciting new DEI learning management system so everyone who wants to learn can.
"I've spent years working with and for 2SLGBTQ+ folks who fought for the equal rights we have today, and I have heard their concerns about later life," says Ashley, who ran the older adult program, Over The Rainbow, for the last two years. "Now, my work turns to using our platform to raise awareness of the many struggles 2SLGBTQ+ folks face daily and ensuring Rainbow's message reaches a national audience."
Evan Maydaniuk, Director of Development, recently joined Rainbow Resource Centre to bring a fresh perspective on development initiatives. His primary focus is building relationships with Rainbow's donors, sponsors, and change-makers to expand services and programming at the Centre. With his expertise and dedication, Evan is determined to take Rainbow Resource Centre to new heights.
"Rainbow Resource Centre is experiencing a period of unprecedented growth and progress," says Evan, "this is all thanks to the unwavering support and generosity of our 2SLGTQ+ community and allies. I cannot express enough gratitude for those who believe in Rainbow and the work we do. Together, we can achieve great things when we stand united. Let's continue to support one another and make a positive impact on our community."
While they wait for the completion of Place of Pride, every day at Rainbow is a buzz of activity: 19 full-time staff plus volunteer support staff and group facilitators offer counselling, education, youth and older adult programming, as well as numerous community groups; moreover, four thousand people access Rainbow's services every year, and that need is growing. Under Noreen's leadership and with her team of directors, the work of the next 50 years starts now.
Caption: Rainbow Resource Centre has moved to 545 Broadway, the future of home of Place of Pride (pictured), a complete campus of queer services that will include the historic Wilson House, Canada's first affordable housing for 2SLGBTQ+ older adults, and purpose built programming and cultural space.