Levines make $100,000 matching gift challenge to Time Out Youth Center

Former Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine speaks during an interview at his Matthews office Wednesday, July 30, 2014.
Former Family Dollar CEO Howard Levine speaks during an interview at his Matthews office Wednesday, July 30, 2014. tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com

The Howard R. Levine Foundation and Howard and Julie Levine have made a matching gift challenge of $100,000 to the Time Out Youth Center’s capital campaign, Time Out Youth announced late Tuesday.

Time Out Youth Center is one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ organizations in the Carolinas, providing a safe gathering place, counseling and job support for LGBTQ youths ages 11 to 20.

The center launched a $3.4 million, five-year capital campaign in December to fund the purchase and renovation of the center’s new permanent home at 3800 Monroe Road, provide expanded programs and services, and build a 10-bed LGBTQ Homeless Youth Transitional Living Shelter by 2020.

After reading about other major gifts to the center, and learning about the rise in LGBTQ youth accessing social services, the Levines chose to make a significant donation to the center’s capital campaign.

“As someone who funds a lot of projects, the commitments made by the Gambrell Family Foundation and Myers Park Baptist Church made me curious about what the organization was doing, and the people who are in leadership roles,” Howard Levine said in announcing the gift.

He said he and his wife met with Time Out Youth Center executive director Rodney Tucker, “and I was impressed with how they are connecting with schools in our region, how they are managing their growth and finances, and how they are responding to increased demands for services from youth, parents and educators due to the controversy around HB2, and what that law meant to transgender youth.”

“This is a crucial time for our city and state to be embracing the diversity, the ideas and the leadership that young people bring to our community,” Levine said. “We are honored to be a small part of the center’s extraordinary efforts to serve, defend and protect our LGBTQ youth.”

As with gifts to other organizations, Levine hopes news of the investment might encourage others to make a gift to the center. The gift is a dollar-for-dollar matching challenge.

The center is using June’s LGBT Pride Month designation to launch the matching challenge campaign.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for the center,” Tucker said. “We hope everyone will consider a gift, of any amount, to support our LGBTQ youth.”

Donations can be made at www.timeoutyouth.org.

The new center is scheduled to open this summer.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067, @jmarusak