Activist to Run Troubled L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center a 2nd Time

Times Staff Writer

Lorri L. Jean, a self-described turnaround expert and nationally recognized gay rights activist, will return as chief executive officer of the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center this summer, a move intended to remedy its recent financial trouble.

Jean, who oversaw the center from 1993 to 1999, will return in June when she steps down as executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the nation's oldest gay rights advocacy group.

"I feel enormously excited," Jean said Wednesday. "I spent six years at the center and I love that organization. The center is a testament to Los Angeles."

The center, which bills itself as the world's largest gay and lesbian organization, provides a broad array of services, including HIV/AIDS treatment, assistance for senior citizens, mental health counseling and legal aid. Under Jean's prior supervision, the organization's annual budget grew from $8 million to $32 million.

In recent years, however, the group has struggled with financial difficulties.

Due in part to a souring economy and a drop in donations, the center was forced to lay off 20% of its staff and cut services.

Center officials insisted that the organization has recovered from those troubles and is once again operating in the black.

What remains to be done, they said, is to renew confidence in its operation.

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