LGBT center names director to oversee service, health, new building needs

Gary Costa. Submitted photo

Gary Costa will continue to lead The LGBT Community Center of the Desert in efforts to broaden its base and services.

Five months after he assumed leadership as interim executive director, Costa was voted in April 16 as permanent director by The Center board. He looks forward to carrying out the organization’s mission and plans as the Coachella Valley’s only LGBT community center.

“We pretty much have a plan in place to continue to expand our services and programs beyond the senior gay population,” he says. The target market also includes LGBT youth, women and transgender residents, he adds.

The Center’s immediate plans pertain to implementing a valley-wide LGBT health needs assessment, a survey designed to help define the mental health and counseling services it should offer.

A multimillion-dollar capital campaign is also in the works to buy or build a new facility for The Center, which is now located at Palm Springs’ Sun Center, 611 S. Palm Canyon Drive. Costa says, “This time next year we’ll have something to announce.”

Costa started at The Center in early 2012 as executive assistant to director John O’Connor, who left in November to head up Equality California in Los Angeles. Costa filled the top position as the board conducted a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.

He brings to the job more than 20 years of experience with nonprofit organizations, including jobs with the LA County HIV Planning Commission, Being Alive Los Angeles, and the Coachella Valley Autism Society. Costa lives in Palm Springs with his life partner, Stephen, and their terrier mix, Alton.

For information about The Center, go to