Belonging Begins Here.

aka KYC   |   Columbus, OH   |

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Kaleidoscope Youth Center serves and supports LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults.

Ruling year info


Executive Director

Erin Upchurch

Main address

603 E. Town St.

Columbus, OH 43215 USA

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Formerly known as

Kaleidoscope Youth Coalition



NTEE code info

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Personal Social Services (P50)

Lesbian/Gay Rights (R26)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Due to many positive strides made over the last decade by the LGBTQ community, many LGBTQ youth today are generally well-adjusted and healthy individuals. Yet LGBTQ youth still face tremendous difficulties in a society where heterosexuality often seems like the only acceptable orientation, and in which any sexual orientation other than heterosexuality is sometimes regarded as deviant. LGBTQ youth often face multiple problems simultaneously. Being a teen is difficult enough, but risk factors associated with LGBTQ identities, such as emotional stress, family strain, drug involvement, poor school performance, and low levels of personal and social support can overwhelm a young person's coping skills. LGBTQ youth need a dedicated space that is free from emotional stress, drugs and alcohol, homophobia/transphobia, hostility and violence. They need positive, affirming peers and role models to increase their protective factors and decrease their risk factors. In other words, they need KYC!

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

The Drop-in Center

KYC engages youth through a safer space; supports those struggling with identity issues, family discord, mental health symptoms, challenges of adolescence; educates youth and the community about LGBTQIA+ issues; and advocates for safer, inclusive spaces. Our evidence based positive youth development programs focus on building resiliency, and reducing risk factors and at-risk behaviors that are often experienced by LGBTQIA+ young people.
The work of KYC is informed by the practices of restorative and transformational justice, intersectionality, anti racism, anti-oppression, and trauma informed/healing engaged care. We are committed to providing supportive and collaborative services that acknowledge that people are the experts in their own lives. We seek to recognize and challenge systems of power that perpetuate barriers and injustice in young people’s lives, and we are aware that not all young people get the same results through the same hard work under these existing systems.

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people

KYC works in partnership with youth in all aspects of programming. We are committed to anti-adultism and strive to be youth-led and youth-informed in all that we do. Through social and peer support, KYC works to empower youth to build community with each other and to advocate for themselves and their communities. This partnership is primarily led by the KYC Community Advisory Board (CAB), which is a group of leaders, ages 12-24, working together to lead and inform KYC programming and special events; advocate for LGBTQIA+ youth in the community; provide a youth voice in the ongoing leadership and development of KYC; as well as provide support to KYC’s Ohio GSA (Genders & Sexualities Alliance) Network - clubs located in middle and high schools across the state. CAB helps organize events such as GSA Summits and Other Prom. Through the Ohio GSA Network, KYC assists LGBTQIA+ youth with developing the skills and behaviors that lead to successful completion of high school and prepare them for success as young adults and community members through support, and connection to resiliency and resources.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
LGBTQ people

KYC’s Community Based Wellness program provides coordinated, direct access to wraparound services through partnerships with local organizations. We also offer housing opportunities that center and serve homeless and housing insecure/vulnerable LGBTQIA+ young adults ages 18-24.

Population(s) Served

We provide professional development workshops, consultation, advocacy, and support to youth-serving professionals, such as schools, and organizations with an interest in learning more about gender and sexuality, youth experiences, and the best practices for affirming LGBTQIA+ individuals. We now also offer CEU’s!

Population(s) Served
LGBTQ people
LGBTQ people

Where we work

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

KYC's goal is to build resiliency in LGBTQIA+ youth ages 12-24 in central Ohio through the Kaleidoscope Youth Center. KYC intends to advocate for safe and empowering spaces for LGBTQIA+ students in school as well as for LGBTQIA+ youth in all spaces across Ohio. Additionally, through new housing and case management services, KYC will meet the urgent needs of LGBTQIA+ youth, and serve as a tool for the prevention of homelessness and subsequent crises. Housing program participants will be supported to build and strengthen self-reliance and life skills; and will benefit from positive peer and mentoring relationships which will offer them access to resource and resiliency.

Serving near 500 unique youth each year in our Center, KYC provides opportunities for positive peer group interaction fro all youth involved in our programs, which include: art, cooking & jewelry clubs, movement classes, discussion groups, summer activities, field trips, and so much more. These programs, generally run in conjunction with adult staff or volunteers also allows youth interactions with caring adults and mentors. Affinity groups such as Genderscope, for trans and gender-nonconforming youth, or QPOC, for queer and trans youth of color, also helps build a strong sense of self and enhance self-esteem in youth participants.

KYC also provides support and programming to increase safety in schools through work with the GSA Network. Currently serving 94 schools throughout Ohio, Genders and Sexualities Alliance clubs in middle and high schools provide LGBTQ students a safe space and provide leadership opportunities in developing events in their community. GSA members are encouraged to participate in the Youth Leadership Council, where youth are provided additional opportunities to make them stronger, more effective leaders. Council members are provided a formal space to discuss challenges facing their GSA and the ability to work with other LGBTQ and ally students to plan and implement events such as the Ohio GSA Summit.

Lastly, KYC provides training to youth-serving professionals to help individuals learn basic terminology, LGBTQ experience, risk factors, how to promote success, and how to create safe and affirming environments and services. Trainings are tailored to the audience and additional resources are provided. KYC also advocates for individual youth within the school, and other settings, by request.

Finally, through our expansion into housing, young adults 18 - 24 will be relieved of their experiences of homelessness or insecure/vulnerable housing; with the longer term goal of securing and maintaining independent housing opportunities. Measurement of the latter will include quarterly follow up and aftercare for the first year of post program participation. Others tools will include pre and post-tests with regard to self-efficacy and wellness; as well as concrete measurements of obtaining and maintaining employment; financial literacy, independence, and sustainability; educational performance and outcomes; civic engagement and community connections; and independent living and life skills.

KYC has many sources of support in reaching our goals. We are fully staffed with seven full-time staff and two part-time staff member. Program staff includes managers with educational and social work backgrounds, and licensed social workers on staff. Our Board of Director's is also made up of strong professionals in their respective fields, dedicating their time to KYC's mission. We also have strong ties and partnerships with other organizations and companies in the community that assist in our programming, including Nationwide Children's Hospital, Huckleberry House, and Equitas Health.

Through our youth surveys we have been able to demonstrate the impact of our programming. An astounding 95% of youth participants surveyed indicated they have an improved sense of general well-being while attending KYC. Additionally, 80% of youth surveyed said they have a positive relationship with an adult through or at KYC, and the same number indicated they became more connected with their peers in the community during their time at KYC. We hope to continue to sustain these numbers as the number of youth participants increase. We will also continue to expand our services and advocacy efforts within the schools and support youth and school administrations as it relates to LGBTQ issues.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, We don’t have the right technology to collect and aggregate feedback efficiently, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time



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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
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Connect with nonprofit leaders


Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.


Board of directors
as of 08/16/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Cliff Mason

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools

Terry B Hardaway, II


Dr. Lauren McInroy, MSW, PhD

College of Social Work, OSU

Beth Long

Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing

Kevin Bowen

JPMorgan Chase & Co

Joe Mayer, AIA


Lee Tepper, MSW, LISW

Tepper Counseling

Brent Fisher

Pathway's Financial Credit Union

Nick Rediger, MEd, LPSC

Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools

J. Eric Questel, DO

Central Outreach

Storm Woods


Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/16/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 08/16/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.