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Let’s get real, changing the world requires collaboration. It is critical to your success as a nonprofit and ensures the services you deliver are relevant and holistic to the people you are meant to serve. Fordable Fundraising is proud to be an ally to the LGBTQIA+ community, and to celebrate, we are featuring the partnership between two of Fordable Fundraising’s clients, the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art and Volunteers of America, Utah.

The Partners

The Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA) believes in the power of the art of our time. Through programming, advocacy, and collaboration, UMOCA works with artists and communities to build a better world. Their Out Loud program is an artistic platform designed to give voice to high school youth from the LGBTQIA+ community. Through explorations in contemporary art and the creation of a museum exhibition featuring their own artwork, students build their capacity for self-expression and cultivate a sense of agency as important contributors to society.

Volunteers of America, Utah (VOA) builds a community-supported bridge that provides a path for those who are vulnerable to improve their lives and increase their self-reliance. They serve youth experiencing homelessness at their Youth Resource Center, where LGBTQIA+ youth (20-40%) are overrepresented among the homeless youth.

The Collaboration

UMOCA and Volunteers of America, Utah provide lasting change to LGBTQIA+ youth in the state of Utah. Their collaboration serves as outreach connecting youth who are homeless with the arts. Monthly visits to Volunteers of America, Utah’s Youth Resource Center from the UMOCA team connect youth experiencing homelessness to self-reliance resources and offer creative outlets through life skills workshops. UMOCA provides the supplies and space necessary for the Center’s clients to explore self-expression and creativity — an opportunity not traditionally afforded to transient youth. During the week they receive life skills through various workshops, including the workshops that UMOCA provides. Then on weekends, the youth get the opportunity to simply be young through fun and exciting activities. According to Golda Dopp Ovalles from UMOCA, “It’s about accessibility and levity.”

Artwork from a participant on UMOCA’s workshops at the Youth Resource Center (source: Utah Museum of Contemporary Art)

Dopp Ovalles explained that the partnership is fruitful because it has been made a priority. It is a structural part of the programming at UMOCA. Through regular communication and strategizing with Volunteers of America, Utah case workers and minimum monthly visits, an immense amount of creative community change occurs.

When asked what advice she would give to other nonprofits looking to collaborate, Dopp Ovalles simply answered “Cultural humility.” When entering a space like the Youth Resource Center, it is important to remember the different life experiences you may have coming into the situation. When working with youth from varied backgrounds of experienced trauma, connecting with the experts at Volunteers of America, Utah to guide the work is foundational to the success of the partnership.

Collaboration is a key to solving problems. UMOCA and Volunteers of America, Utah provide a shining example of how to engage in collaboration productively and sustainably. Thank you UMOCA and Volunteers of America, Utah for your commitment to working together and for the difference you make in the lives of youth!