(EDGE) The Ali Forney Center launched the Bea Arthur Fund Tuesday in honor of the beloved "Golden Girls" actress' tremendous support of homeless LGBT youth in New York City.
According to a statement released by the Ali Forney Center, in 2005, when she learned that thousands of parents were throwing their LGBT children to the streets, Bea was horrified. Bea had long supported children's charities, and had long been a beloved icon of the LGBT community. Despite her age (she was in her mid-80's), and despite her private struggle with cancer, Bea took action. She flew across the country to put on a benefit for the Ali Forney Center. "I would do anything in my power to protect children who are discarded by their parents for being LGBT", Bea said at the time, insisting "the Ali Forney Center is saving lives". When Bea Arthur passed away three years later, she bequeathed $300K to the Ali Forney Center in her will.
The launch of the Bea Arthur Fund comes as the Ali Forney Center prepares to open the Bea Arthur Residence, an 18-bed long term housing facility for homeless LGBT youth, a place where our young people will be loved, supported, accepted, and healed.
"The Bea Arthur fund will assist us in meeting the operational costs of the facility, helping to pay for food and clothing and counseling services for the young people who will live there. Beyond supporting this facility, we hope to acquire additional sites to provide urgently needed housing," writes Ali Forney Center Executive Director Carl Siciliano. "Currently the Ali Forney Center has over 200 youths on a waiting list for our housing."
For information on how to donate to the Bea Arthur Fund, visit the Ali Forney Center website.