Arcus grant makes sky the limit for Ruth Ellis Center

Center receives state licenses, expands services

KALAMAZOO - Ruth Ellis Center Executive Director Grace McClelland had a dream. The Arcus Foundation, which awards grants to agencies serving the LGBT community, has made that dream come true.

Arcus has announced a grant of $322,821 over three years to help the center, which serves homeless and at-risk LGBTQ youth, hire a director of development.

Collette R. Ramsey will begin her new position with Ruth Ellis Center on Aug. 14. Ramsey is a 10-year public relations veteran who has worked for a state senator, the Clinton administration and the City of Detroit's Cable Communications Commission.

The Ruth Ellis Center grant was among $10.6 million in grants given to nonprofit groups working for LGBT equality and to organizations working globally to promote Great Ape conservation.

"The sky's the limit," Ramsey said of her fundraising goals for the Center.

"I think the awarding of the grant is a phenomenal opportunity. The way that I look at it is to merge both worlds - understanding of the corporate world, and its structures with regards to marketing PR and finance and the nonprofit world. That's what I'm so excited to be able to bring to the table and the non-profit arena."

In addition to her public service experience, Ramsey has served as chief executive officer of All Access Services, a full-service communications company based in Detroit.

McClelland called her organization's relationship with Arcus "a partnership."

"The award of the Arcus grant for our development functions within the agency is a result of a strong partnership between the Arcus Foundation and Ruth Ellis Center," she said. "Over the last three years we have worked strongly with the Foundation as we continued to expand and improve our services to LGBTQ youth. As one of only four such agencies in the country, the Arcus Foundation is helping to ensure our mission with and for our youth."

The Arcus Foundation, which was founded in 2000, has four separate grantmaking programs. The Arcus Fund, which awarded the Ruth Ellis Center grant, "supports efforts to improve the quality of life of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community within Michigan," according to the Arcus release about its spring grants. In addition, the Foundation makes grants in southwest Michigan through the Arcus Gay and Lesbian Fund and to national projects through the Arcus National Fund. The Foundation has offices in Kalamazoo and New York City.

In addition to the Ruth Ellis Center grant, the Arcus Fund awarded $140,000 over three years to Affirmations Lesbian and Gay Community Center's new Civic Engagement Program, $150,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union's LGBT Project, $13,500 to Kalamazoo's Gay/Lesbian Resource Center and other grants totalling $733,096.

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DETROIT - The Ruth Ellis Center recently received permission from the State of Michigan to serve more youth.

The licenses, issued from the Michigan State Department of Human Services, will allow the center to serve LGBTQ youth from 12-17 years of age in its emergency shelter program. It will also expand services in its transitional living program to include youths ages 16 and 17 in addition to the 18-21-year-olds who are currently housed. The emergency shelter and transitional living programs are located in a side-by-side duplex in Detroit.

The licenses are required before a social service program can serve youth under age 18 in any residential program in the state, according to Ruth Ellis Center Executive Director Grace McClelland.

For more information or to make a donation to the Ruth Ellis Center visit

For a complete listing of Arcus Foundation grants, Click here.

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