Kimberly Bush has been named as the new full-time executive director of The DC Center for the LGBT Community, a nonprofit community center that educates, empowers, and advocates on behalf of the D.C. area’s LGBTQIA2S+ communities.
Bush had served as Interim Executive Director since the departure of David Mariner in 2019, and served as director of arts and cultural programs prior to that.
“The Board greatly appreciates Kimberley’s steadfast and effective leadership, deep compassion, and extraordinary perseverance as she has been able to successfully continue our work in such unprecedented times,” DC Center Board President Andrew Zapfel said in a statement. “We look forward to her continued leadership as we enter this new era of the DC Center.”
In more than two years overseeing the community center’s operations, Bush has faced numerous hurdles, including keeping its services and programming operational amid a global pandemic.
Under Bush’s leadership, The DC Center was recently recognized for its work benefitting the larger LGBTQIA2s+ community and received a $150,000 grant from the BHT Foundation to help continue funding its various initiatives, including its soon-to-be-launched Center Wellness program, which will provide free meditation and yoga classes, nutritional counseling, and other health and physical fitness services.
Additional initiatives include the DC Center’s HIV/STD testing and educational programs, its Center Arts program, which fosters the talents of LGBTQ artists and creatives through exhibitions, art shows, and film festivals, and its mental and behavioral health counseling services for survivors of trauma and people struggling with addiction, depression, or unhealthy behaviors.
Zapfel noted that the BHT grant — one of the last grants ever issued as the historic organization sunsets after 45 years of service — comes at a particularly exciting time for The DC Center, when Bush assumes her new role as the organization’s full-time executive director.
In her new role, Bush will oversee a “return to normal” that coincides with the District of Columbia’s decision to relax its most stringent COVID-19-related restrictions, hopefully ushering in the return of large-scale gatherings — including many of the DC Center’s various support groups — as the number of COVID infections continues to decline.
Bush also hopes to oversee the expansion of services and advocate for more funding for programs or initiatives assisting members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community who are suffering from hardships such as financial insecurity, housing insecurity, and unemployment and underemployment.
“I am most fortunate and truly honored to be of service to our LGBTQIA2S+ siblings and equally honored that our Board of Directors has the utmost belief, confidence, and surety in me to continue to reside at the helm of The DC Center as a strong, effectual, fiercely driven, progressive and compassionate leader,” Bush said in a statement to Metro Weekly.
“In addition, I am extremely proud to be able to continue to guide our small yet mighty team through these extraordinarily challenging times into brighter chapters of our lives, as we provide a safe and peaceful space as well as the much-needed support, kindness, outreach, care, celebration and affirmation to our LGBTQIA2S+ community.”
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