Big Changes, Update 1 of 2

Dear KCCI community,

As you know, we signed a long term lease in the summer of 2021. We believed at the time that modifications could be made to the space on Broadway to make it more accessible. These changes proved to be far more costly and time-intensive than we realized. After exploring many options, it became clear that the most effective solution was to find an alternative space that meets the community's needs. Unfortunately, we were locked into our lease. While our landlord was sympathetic to our situation, he was unable to release us from this commitment without jeopardizing his own plans, which included a desire to sell the building. We are pleased to announce that the building has been sold, and the new owners are offering us the opportunity to end the lease agreement. We are so grateful for their generosity, and can now turn our attention to finding a more suitable place for our community. We are so excited!

We have learned a lot over the past year about who we are and what we want to do in the future. Our main goal is to live up to our name as the KC Center for Inclusion. It is vital that all members of our community have access to our space, not at some distant time in the future, but right now. We hope to stay close to Midtown, which is well connected to public transportation, and accessible for many people in the community. We recently toured Plexpod and are strongly considering a move to the location near 39th and Gillham, originally the home of Westport Middle School. Plexpod is a shared working space where we would rent a small dedicated office near an accessible entrance. This office would be large enough for a couple of desks, our lending library, and a small clothing closet with binders and other things for our trans community. Additionally, there are several communal spaces and reserved meeting areas in the large five-story building. It is fully accessible with multiple elevators. This setup would keep our rent cost low, while giving us access to fully equipped spaces for our regular programs. It can support everything from social programs like board game nights, to our three support groups. We can even envision holding big events like our Teen Prom in the gymnasium!

One piece of the original vision for our space on Broadway was that we would be able to sublet the offices upstairs to partnering organizations that shared some aspect of our mission. This would have not only been a convenient hub for the LGBTQ+ community, it would also help sustain us financially. This plan was never fully realized, and the burden of the monthly rent has been draining our resources. We are funded by donations from the community. We feel obligated to be good stewards of these funds, and to make sure that the money given to us enables us to fulfill our mission, not simply to pay our rent – especially when our rent money is funding a space that many in our community can’t access. 

Plexpod is a more affordable option for us. A more affordable monthly payment, a more accessible physical space, and the option of signing a short term lease. At the end of the six month lease period, we would have the option of continuing to lease on a month to month basis. This flexibility is appealing to us, as we never again want to feel pressured into making a decision without full community participation. Plexpod is a temporary solution that meets all of our current needs, allowing us the time to look for a long term solution. It also gives us the ability to fulfill our mission as we work towards the future. One day, we hope to have a dedicated community space, so that we can grow and offer even more programs and services. While we don’t see it as a forever home, we think that moving to Plexpod would give us enough space to host programs, to provide resources to the community, and to build up our financial resources. We intend to create a sustainable organization that offers reliable resources, volunteer opportunities, book groups, family and youth programs, surgery funds, and vital support to the entire LGBTQIA+ community for years to come.  

Here’s where you come in. 

Email with your thoughts about Plexpod. Complete the poll in our Instagram and Facebook Story. You are also invited to attend our monthly board meeting on Sunday, August 21. The meeting goes from 9-11, and we will leave space at the end of the meeting for public comment and conversation. Email for a Zoom link. We are committed to including the public in major decisions about our space and our finances, so please take this opportunity to give us your feedback.

Stay tuned for another post this week outlining a couple of other ways to support us going forward. Thank you for helping us navigate the turmoil of the past couple years, and for helping us get a little closer to the inclusive community we all deserve here in Kansas City.