Apple Teams Up With Encircle to Develop New Community Resource Centers for LGBTQ+ Youth
Apple today announced that it is teaming up with Encircle LGBTQ+ Family and Youth Center to fund a new "$8 million, 8 Houses" initiative that will allow Encircle to build new community centers that provide support, mental health services, and community to LGBTQ+ youth and their families.
Apple is donating $1 million and Apple products like iPads that promote digital connection, creativity, and education. Along with resources provided by Qualtrics founder and Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith and Imagine Dragons' lead singer Dan Reynolds and his wife, Aja Volkman, Apple's donation will allow Encircle to open new Encircle homes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah.
Founded in 2017, Encircle aims to help young LGBTQ+ people and their families establish a sense of belonging at community houses, with those locations providing subsidized therapy sessions, music nights friendship circles, and community service events to build safe spaces.
In addition to the donation, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Ryan and Ashley Smith, and Dan Reynolds and Aja Volkman will serve as an honorary co-chairs on Encircle's expansion campaign to provide community, acceptance, and understanding for LGBTQ+ people across the U.S.
"All LGBTQ+ people should feel safe and supported enough to be open about who they are with their community and themselves," said Cook, who has visited the organization's Provo house. "Encircle is helping to bridge divides and bring people together -- sending a powerful message that the greatest thing you can aspire to become is who you truly are. It's my hope that every young person who feels alone or unsupported can find connection and community at this incredible organization."
The expanded program will provide support both at the new community houses and to those who are receiving help online during the pandemic. Apple's technology donations will allow Encircle to better reach LGBTQ+ youth where they're located, even when meeting in person is not possible.
Encircle has served more than 70,000 individuals and funded thousands of family and youth therapy sessions to support those facing suicidality, and isolation and depression. More than half of LGBTQ+ youth are battling symptoms of depression, and Encircle offers critical support for young people and their families.