LGBTQ+ History

Since 1981, CHRIS 180 has been dedicated to healing children, strengthening families and building communities. That work has always been underscored by our belief in acceptance and equity, that everyone deserves the support needed to change the direction of their lives. CHRIS 180 is the first and largest nonprofit organization in Georgia to openly celebrate and serve LGBTQ+ youth.

 

For more than 30 years, we have focused on the needs of at-risk youth, filling gaps and targeted services to reach them where they are, provide acceptance, understanding and counseling as they start the next chapter of their lives.  This work includes educating families toward acceptance of LGBTQ+ youth as well as intervening to reduce the harmful effects of family rejection.  Diversity, inclusivity, acceptance and unconditional love are foundational to CHRIS 180’s ethics and values and our hope is that through our services, thousands of LGBTQ+ young adults are able to reach their potential.

1988-1995
  • Adopted non-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Created mandatory training for staff in providing an inclusive, accepting environment for LGBTQ+ youth
  • Began advocacy at the state level on behalf of LGBTQ+ youth who are in foster care
  • 1995-1998
    1995-1998
  • Conducted a one day conference for clinicians and providers on working with LGBTQ+ youth funded through an initiative of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta
  • Kathy Colbenson, LMFT, CHRIS 180 President & CEO and Stephanie Swann, LCSW, Founder of YouthPride, determined that there were far too many LGBTQ+ youth who were experiencing homelessness and rejection and collaborated with a small group of community volunteers to address the problem and help these youth
  • 1995-1998
    1998-1999
    1998-1999
  • CHRIS 180 located and applied for a federal grant to help fund services for these young people and worked with community volunteers to raise charitable funding
  • Federal grant awarded to provide outreach, housing and services to youth experiencing homelessness in Georgia with targeted outreach to LGBTQ+ youth.
  • 1998-1999
    2000
    2000
    CHRIS 180 opened the Rainbow Home on January 1, 2000, becoming the first program in the Southeast for youth experiencing homelessness, ages 17-21. The home provided targeted outreach to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth. Charitable funding enabled the home to open before federal funding began in mid-February 2000
    2000
    2001
    2001
    President & CEO Kathy Colbenson appointed to the Child Welfare League of America’s LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee
    2001
    2002
    2002
  • Adopted non-discrimination policy that included sexual orientation and gender identity
  • Created mandatory training for staff in providing an inclusive, accepting environment for LGBTQ+ youth
  • Began advocacy at the state level on behalf of LGBTQ+ youth who are in foster care
  • 2002
    2004
    2004
    Rainbow Home combines with CHRIS 180’s Independent Living Program (after federal funds discontinued) and begins to operate in a supervised apartment setting
    2004
    2005
    2005
    President & CEO Kathy Colbenson appointed to the National Advisory Board on LGBTQ+ Youth for the National Alliance to End Youth Homelessness
    2005
    2005
    2007
    CHRIS 180 holds first Premiere Party, during Atlanta Pride Weekend to raise funds for LGBTQ+ targeted program. Began advocacy for the State of Georgia to endorse and conduct a count of youth experiencing homelessness that would include a question about gender orientation and identity.
    2005
    2005
    2008
  • CHRIS 180 awarded a Tides Foundation grant to provide LGBTQ+ training for community organizations and residential/foster care agency staff including clinicians
  • Awarded Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s Guardian Angel Award for outstanding commitment to LGBTQ+ youth
  • 2005
    2005
    2010
  • CHRIS 180 Summit Trail apartment community is completed and expands capacity up to 44 young adults, tripling capacity to help youth experiencing homelessness.
  • 2005
    2005
    2013
    CHRIS 180 acquires The Giving Tree Adoption Agency and begins offering adoptions for children in foster care to LGBTQ+ couples
    2005
    2005
    2015
    Received the All-Children – All Families Seal of Recognition from the Human Rights Campaign as a “Leader in Supporting and Serving LGBT Youth and Families”
    2005
    2005
    2016
    CHRIS 180 named to State of Georgia LGBTQ+ Committee

    Collaborated with Georgia Department of Developmental Disabilities and others on: Fostering Family, A Guide to working well with LGBTQ youth in Georgia’s Child Welfare System
    2005
    2005
    2017
    Fostering Family publication published and distributed statewide
    Top trainings offered by the CHRIS Training Institute are LGBTQ+ Awareness and Working with LGBTQ+ Youth
    2005
    2005
    2018
    CHRIS 180 named to City of Atlanta LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee Organization sponsors inaugural broadcast television airing of Atlanta Pride Parade on CBS 46
    2005
    2005
    2019

    CHRIS 180 named to City of Atlanta LGBTQ+ Advisory Committee Organization sponsors inaugural broadcast television airing of Atlanta Pride Parade on CBS 46
    2005
    2005
    2019

    Organization continues participation in annual Atlanta Pride Parade with float, festival booth and sponsorship of parade broadcast on CBS 46
    2005
    2005
    2020

    CHRIS 180 recognized by the HRC Foundation’s All Children – All Families project as one of 100 child welfare agencies for our work toward becoming fully welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ youth and parents
    2005
    2005
    2020
    Organization participates in Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ Opportunity Fair for LGBTQ adults
    2005