Founding Executive Director of Allentown LGBTQ Community Center Steps Down

By Michele Zipkin

The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center will bid farewell to Founding Executive Director Adrian Shanker in March 2022. Since founding the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center in 2014, Shanker has spearheaded capital raising, acquisition of properties and program development for the center as it grows. from a start-up to a $1.6 million organization run by two dozen employees.

“The Board is both grateful and saddened by the departure of Adrian Shanker as Executive Director,” Board Chair Claire Ippoliti said in a press release.

Through the Bradbury Sullivan Center, Shanker has left an indelible mark on the Allentown community and far beyond, in part by building a reputation across Pennsylvania for LGBTQ+ health advocacy. One of the ways he did this was to create the Pennsylvania LGBTQ Health Needs Assessment, the largest and most in-depth LGBTQ health data collection survey in the United States. Survey results help identify disparities in LGBTQ health, including breasts. Cancer screening.

Under Shanker’s leadership, the Bradbury-Sullivan Center joined other LGBTQ organizations in successfully suing the Trump administration for attempting to enforce three anti-LGBTQ orders. Shanker also led the center through a merger with Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley, which resulted in a substantial increase in the region’s Pride festival budget and programs.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to work to create, build and grow the Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center,” Shanker said in a press release. “The decision to step down from an organization you love, especially the one you are the founder of, is never easy, but I decided to do it because I have full confidence in the board. and staff at the centre, whom I know are well placed to continue to increase the impact of [Bradbury-Sullivan Center’s] programs and services in the future. I am deeply grateful for the trust of our community, of every donor and volunteer, who shared the vision we set out in 2014 and helped make this dream of an LGBTQ+ community center in the Lehigh Valley a reality.

The Bradbury Sullivan Center has served thousands of community members through its aforementioned initiatives and health services such as HIV and Hepatitis C testing; youth programs focused on building leadership and promoting artistic expression; and arts and culture programs that include preserving LGBTQ community archives, hosting LGBTQ film screenings, and producing LGBTQ author panel discussions.

In the spring of 2021, with the help of the Lehigh Valley Health Network, the Bradbury-Sullivan Center hosted several COVID-19 vaccination clinics to provide a safe and trusted space for queer and trans people to receive their first vaccinations.

The Bradbury-Sullivan Center board of directors will ensure that the leadership transition goes smoothly, according to a press release.

“An organization is greater than any individual, including the founder,” Shanker said in a press letter. “I have full confidence in the Board and staff teams here to not only keep programs and services running through this transition period, but to continue to thrive under new leadership. dynamic.”

Michele Zipkin is a reporter for the Philadelphia Gay News, where this story first appeared.

Jill E. Washington