Larry Dunivan and David (Dave) Gibson have been generous Greater Twin Cities United Way donors and Tocqueville Society members for years. Larry began giving through his company’s workplace campaign when he was an executive at Ceridian, and Dave is a retired social worker who spent his career in nonprofits and human services, working with kids with emotional challenges. Larry and David currently reside in New York City but call the Twin Cities home.
“We decided a few years ago that we wanted to focus our philanthropy on places where we could make a contribution that was substantial enough to move the needle and was specifically based in the community,” said Larry. “Even though we’re not actually living there at the moment, we very much consider the Twin Cities our home and wanted to do work on a longer-term basis that we’d be able to look back on and know that we made a difference – even if we’re not nearby to personally shepherd it.”
When asked why they give to United Way, Larry and Dave cited how United Way’s ability to implement their philanthropy gives them confidence that their dollar is making a difference. “We’ve contributed to the United Way for many, many years, so I think there’s been a lot of trust established over time,” said Larry.
“I worked in the nonprofit human services world, and I have close friends who do as well, and we’ve all been supported by United Way over the years,” added Dave. “It’s that history of having workplaces that were supported by United Way: I know what United Way does, I’ve been a part of what you do with your money, and I value that.”
Making a Difference Through Arise Project
Larry and Dave care deeply about the well-being of children and ending youth homelessness, specifically LGBTQ youth homelessness. To help make a difference, they direct their investments toward United Way’s Arise Project, an initiative supporting LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness in Minnesota.
“It’s estimated that 40 percent of homeless youth are LGBTQ kids, and that’s just not OK,” said Dave. “This feels like an area where we can leverage our money to make a difference. Especially in a place that we love so much: the Twin Cities.”
In addition to investing in Arise Project, Larry and Dave also have hosted events at their home to engage friends and others about the challenges facing LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and how to get involved. The attendees were very moved by the stories they heard from previously homeless youth who’ve been supported by Arise Project and shared their gratitude with Larry and Dave. “That was a huge, very moving, very validating experience,” said Dave.
The couple has also donated challenge match grants to United Way to help raise additional funds for ending LGBTQ youth homelessness, and last year, because of Larry and Dave’s generosity, their challenge match resulted in more than $100,000 for Arise Project.
Arise Project grants support local nonprofits providing case management services, safe living accommodations, expanded outreach and service areas, and training for service providers serving LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. Since 2011, Arise Project has provided 485 shelter or housing opportunities, connected 1,686 youth to resources and raised over $1 million in support.
Supporting Our Community
One of the individuals supported through Arise Project is Ken. Ken had experienced homelessness throughout his life, but because of the resources he accessed through Arise Project grantee Avenues for Homeless Youth, he has found employment, moved into an apartment and is thriving. “A kind home and mental health care are very important for kids and teens so they can grow into thriving adults,” he said. “We can all help by making the problem of LGBTQ youth homelessness more visible and acting on it.”
In addition to United Way, Larry and Dave also support organizations such as Clare Housing, which provides support for people living with HIV, and Canvas Health in Washington County, MN, which serves children, adolescents, adults and families who struggle with mental illness.
Thank you, Larry and Dave, for your generous support and investment in Greater Twin Cities United Way and Arise Project! We couldn’t do this work without you.