In the early 1990s, a group of friends formed “Geared for Life (GFL)” to take action by assisting Metro Detroit’s local HIV/AIDS service organizations. They accomplished this by raising significant funds to ensure their brothers and sisters living with HIV/AIDS received critical services they needed.
From the first event – “The GEAR Party” held at The Majestic Theatre in 1994 – through successful events held until 2005, this all-volunteer group raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that were provided as programming grants to Michigan-based HIV/AIDS groups.
The organization ceased operations in late 2005.
In 2013, original board members Tracy Hoffman and John Joanette re-committed to bringing together again an all-volunteer effort at the 20-year mark as a the Geared for Life Committee under Michigan AIDS Coalition.
This committee planned and produced “Motorball 2014” and “Motorball 2015” at St. Andrew’s Hall/The Shelter, which once was the main venue for these events in the 1990s and 2000s. Net proceeds benefited the of the Michigan AIDS Coalition.
Upon the merger of Michigan AIDS Coalition programs with Matrix Human Services in 2015, World AIDS Day Detroit (WADD) received the rights to the Motorball name and produced events for several years. In 2017 those rights were returned to the Geared for Life founders, who re-established the organization in 2019 as a State of Michigan not-for-profit organization with a broad mission of community support:
Proceeds from our events and activities will benefit LGBTQ+ service organizations in Michigan.
“Geared for Life is a Detroit-based organization whose mission is to enhance the lives of LGBTQ+ citizens in the State of Michigan through education, awareness and special event activities.”
OUR 2022 BENEFICIARIES
Affirmations LGBTQ+ Community Center
Affirmations is a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization housed in a state-of-the-art, multi-use facility in the heart of downtown Ferndale, at the Northern border of the City of Detroit. Founded in 1989, Affirmations has continued to provide a safe space for the LGBTQ+ Community of Metro Detroit and provides youth programming, HIV/STD testing, LGBTQ+ 101 Diversity Trainings, sliding-scale Counseling Services, and a myriad of support and discussion groups for those in recovery, coming out, seniors, transgender individuals, and millennials. The organization is a focal point for many meetings within the LGBTQ+ community including townhalls and community conversations. Affirmations also provides volunteer opportunities in the realms of community outreach, public policy and advocacy, special events, and arts/culture/entertainment.
For over two decades, LGBT Detroit has been receiving unwavering support from neighboring communities in any capacity that promotes the wellbeing and integrity involved in fostering an environment conducive to lesbian, gay, bi and transgender individuals irrespective of race, culture or socio-economic status. The community support is manifested in their advocating, partnership, testifying before local and state legislators, providing safe gathering spaces where members of the LGBT community can interact without fear of persecution or bigotry. LGBT Detroit commits to furthering its mission, increasing the prominence and visibility of Detroit’s LGBT culture, and building a strong, healthy and vibrant community, with a focus on youth and young adult development, sexual orientation and gender identity education and advocacy, and emotional and physical well-being.
Ruth Ellis Center
Founded in 1999, Ruth Ellis Center (REC) has established a national reputation for quality and innovation in providing trauma-informed services for lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth, and young adults, with an emphasis on young people of color, experiencing homelessness, involved in the child welfare system, and/or experiencing barriers to health and wellbeing. Ruth Ellis Center’s mission is to create opportunities with LGBTQ+ young people to build their vision for a positive future, with a vision of a world where LGBTQ+ young people are safe and supported no matter where they go.
Tracy Hoffman, President, Original Co-Founder
Aaron Kabobel, Vice President
John Joanette, Treasurer
Alan Brown, Member at Large
Steve Harmes, Member at Large
Ammar Khan, Member at Large