Witnessing a real impact in their lifetime is just one of the reasons Steven Rayl and Scot Presley decided to make a $500,000 donation to Resource Center’s $4M affordable senior housing capital campaign for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Rayl says, “We originally intended to leave a donation to the Center in our estate plan, but we talked about it and decided that there wasn’t a better time to see the impact of our gift than today.” Presley adds, “We asked ourselves, ‘If you have the means, why don’t more people do this now, while they’re still alive? Why wait? Perhaps this donation will encourage people to act now.’”
The Center launched the project in 2020 to meet the growing demand for affordable housing, care and services for the aging LGBTQIA+ population in Dallas. Rayl and Presley’s donation helped the Center cross the $2M mark of the campaign. In the 24 years they’ve been together, the Dallas couple have participated in and experienced firsthand the growth of Resource Center. Rayl started volunteering at the Center in the ‘90s and served as the Center’s treasurer for 12 years, volunteered on the Ryan White Council for five years and was on the Building Committee for the Center’s community center capital campaign in 2015. Presley has served on the Center’s Marketing Committee and was a co-chair on the Toast To Life committee.
Rayl has always been interested in building and housing, and says, “Affordable housing is such a need in Dallas not just for the LGBTQIA+ community, but for housing in general. In addition to seeing a greater impact in the community, we also wanted to donate funds so we could enjoy the project during our lifetime instead of after our deaths.” Presley adds, “Being involved in this project could be an alternative to what could happen for the elder LGBTQIA+ community. Having financial needs can also affect mental health, and those needs can lead to homelessness.”
The Center has partnered with Volunteers of America and developer Matthews Southwest and has purchased property in the Oaklawn neighborhood of Dallas, which is historically significant to the LGBTQIA+ community. The senior housing project will consist of an 84-unit building with amenities and open green space on a two-acre site located at Sadler Circle. The site has excellent access to services and transportation, including the Inwood Road DART Station. The overall project budget is approximately $23 million. In addition to funds from the capital campaign, the project is expected to be financed by public funds from state and local sources and private mortgage financing.
While society’s view and acceptance of LGBTQIA+ people is changing, fear and stigma remain a factor in affecting the lives of older adults. It affects their relationships with family, earnings and retirement opportunities. Rayl states, “As much progress as we think we have made there’s still more work to do. When you’re in a long-term care facility, you’re dependent on others for your every need. If there’s one staff person that just happens to be discriminatory then we’ve gone backwards. It’s a “second closet” scenario. I would not want to be somewhere I would not feel comfortable being who I am. It’s about people living their senior years in dignity.”
Resource Center CEO Cece Cox says, “We are grateful for the generous support of Steven Rayl and Scot Presley in helping us achieve this vision. This donation will help provide seniors with affirming opportunities for socialization, recreation, and emotional support and will transform the way LGBTQIA+ older adults live, access services, and develop community support for generations to come.”
Presley adds, “When we told Steve’s 94-year-old mother Virginia we were donating to this campaign, she was so pleased and excited. She’s been a good teacher and philanthropic over the years, and even matched our donation for the community center back in 2015. She just loves that we’re able to do this. We have enjoyed being able to financially support the Center over the years, but we’ve also enjoyed being involved and seeing their success along the way. We hope this donation will inspire others to give as well.”
To make a donation to the Center’s affordable LGBTQIA+-friendly senior housing capital campaign, visit https://www.myresourcecenter.org/capital-campaign/ or click HERE.
To request an informational meeting, please contact Chief Development Officer Kristin McLaughlin at 214-540-4421 or visit https://www.myresourcecenter.org/capital-campaign/