Montrose Counseling Center is honored, twice over, to be selected in two of the Pride Parade’s Grand Marshal categories. Executive Director Ann J. Robison, PhD, was unopposed for the honorary title for community ally, and MCC was selected as Honorary Grand Marshal – Organization.
“I am truly proud to be an ally and advocate for the people in this community,” says Dr. Robison.
In December 2008, Ann J. Robison, PhD, celebrated her 20th anniversary at the helm of Montrose Counseling Center. She recently shared some of the reasons she has dedicated herself to MCC and Houston’s GLBT communities.
Dr. Robison recounted her work in the violence-against-women movement, and how painful it was for her to see other providers discriminate against this population. She created MCC’s Hate Crimes Program when someone was set on fire for being perceived as gay. She brought HATCH and Gay & Lesbian Switchboard Houston under the agency’s umbrella. And when her dear friend, Jack Jackson, struggled in his senior years, she developed the SPRY Program. More recently, she oversaw MCC’s expansion into a brand new building.
When Dr. Robison joined MCC, there were times when they had to empty the soda machine in order to meet payroll. At a time when so many other nonprofits are struggling, MCC remains fiscally strong. Twenty years ago, the organization’s budget was $350,000. It is now $4 million. Imagine all the people who are able to receive services now because of the agency’s growth. Imagine all the people who have found a better quality of life through MCC, HATCH, the Switchboard, SPRY, and the new GLBT Cultural Center. She makes sure Montrose Counseling Center is an openly proud GLBT organization, even when it may not be popular with funders or other service providers.
Perhaps she put it best when she said, “As an ally who comes from a rural, conservative, religious family, I have a passion – and I feel an obligation – to make sure people are not hurt by the misguided views of people who think that only people like them deserve rights.”
For more than 30 years, MCC has worked tirelessly to empower LGBT individuals, their friends, and their families to live healthier and more fulfilling lives by providing culturally affirming and affordable behavioral health and prevention services. MCC’s services and programs are built upon an unflagging belief in and devotion to increasing the quality of life of LGBT individuals in our community. MCC envisions a healthier society marked by permanent, positive changes in attitudes and behaviors toward LGBT communities, and the ability of all LGBT individuals to realize their fullest potential.
MCC’s services are comprehensive; our programs touch the lives of LGBT individuals from all backgrounds and at all stages of life. From helping teens adjust and deal with issues surrounding their sexual orientation to providing a network of friends and allies for our LGBT seniors, MCC provides a safety net and support structure that many in our community lack. More recently, MCC has opened its new home to many smaller, but vitally important, LGBT-related organizations in an effort to foster unity and oneness in our community. We’re glad that the first floor of our new building is a hub for community activity.
Also chosen this year were Gary Wood as Male Grand Marshal, and Carol Wyatt as Female Grand Marshal. The last two years, Wood has made MCC a beneficiary of his National Coming Out Day party, and Wyatt has also raised funds for MCC through her annual holiday party. We are extremely proud to be chosen with such esteemed company.