The late Bea Arthur may have been best known for her Emmy-winning roles as Dorothy on The Golden Girls and as Maude Findlay in Maude but she was also a quiet supporter of LGBT causes.
She was especially loyal to the Ali Forney Center, a New York City-based organization that provides emergency and transitional housing for LGBT youth as well as health and educational services.
On Monday (9 July), the center announced that the New York City Council and the Manhattan borough president has designated $3.3 million to help renovate a city-owned building and transform it into a new 18-bed shelter to be named after Arthur who died in 2009.
The Tony Award–winning star left $300,000 to the center in her will and had participated in many fundraisers over the years including a 2005 benefit performance for the center which raised more than $40,000.
‘It’s wonderful for our young people, who have been so rejected, to know that someone as important as Bea Arthur supports them,’ the center’s executive director Carl Siciliano told Huffington Post.
The government money will enable the center to build the Bea Arthur Residence, an 18 bed shelter. It’s a much-needed addition in a city where there are an estimated 4,000 homeless youths, many of whom are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
‘We operate these programs at a real loss and have to do a tremendous amount of private fundraising just to pay the rent,’ Siciliano said.