(WM) ALSO Youth announced April 6 that James Robinson will serve as the organization’s new executive director.
The nonprofit was founded in 1992 and serves LGBTQ youth ages 13-21 throughout Sarasota and Manatee counties. It provides safe and affirming environments to foster relationships and create inclusive communities while developing personal and professional skills.
Robinson, who holds an advance degree in Urban Affairs, brings more than 20 years of nonprofit and fundraising experience to the organization. ALSO Youth notes he previously served as the executive director of Youth Pride, Inc., Rhode Island’s only LGBTQ youth center, where he increased programming, services, staff and youth outreach.
Additionally, they add that Robinson has worked with multiple organizations in HIV/AIDS activism, health care and community development throughout his career. That includes serving as the development director for De LaSalle Academy in Fort Meyers, a program for children living with learning challenges.
“We are thrilled to have someone with James’ experience, passion and lifetime involvement working with nonprofits to lead our organization,” ALSO Youth Board President Mary Tavarozzi says, thanking Hanley for her steady leadership while the search for a new executive director was underway. “We have ambitious plans to continue our growth and outreach into both counties, and we believe James is ideally suited for the role.”
Those plans include a merger with the Bradenton-based Prism Youth Initiative, the nonprofit dedicated to providing services for LGBTQ youth throughout Manatee County since 2010. The organizations had planned to officially announce their efforts March 21 at the seventh annual Manatee Pride, which serves as a fundraiser for Prism, until it was rescheduled to May 23 in response to COVID-19.
The coronavirus has also prompted ALSO Youth to close its drop-in center to youth and visitors until further notice, but the organization is working to expand virtual opportunities. They are also participating in the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s Giving Challenge April 28-29 to make their efforts possible.
The 24-hour giving event, held from noon until noon the following day, virtually supports more than 700 nonprofit organizations serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. It began in 2012 and set a new standard in 2018 when more than $11.7 million was raised for area nonprofits in just 24 hours.
“I am so excited to join the dedicated Board and staff of ALSO Youth,” Robinson says. “It is as important now as ever to support and advocate for LGBTQ+ youth in Sarasota and Manatee Counties, and I look forward to getting started.”