About Us

Compass aims to diminish stereotypes by challenging long-standing misconceptions about the character of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. We accomplish this by emboldening our youth, promoting pride in our community, and acting as an educator, advocate, health service provider, and focal point for community organizing.  As good neighbors, effective partners, and respected participants in our civic responsibilities, Compass promotes awareness of the caring nature of our diverse community.

Compass’ History – A Legacy of Community Building

In 1988, a local group of community-centered men and women joined our nation’s efforts to educate the public about the spread of HIV by starting the Stop AIDS Project of South Florida, Inc. With federal funding and strategic grassroots organizing, friends, families and co-workers opened their homes and businesses and facilitated meetings to identify those living with HIV, and to equip the larger community with knowledge and skills necessary to protect themselves from contracting the virus.

As the Stop AIDS program grew over the following four years, the board of directors – along with volunteers – recognized the role that stigma, bias and discrimination played in the transmission of HIV and identified a critical need to provide a safe space for youth and adults who were struggling with issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity. With private contributions and local funding from the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, that group of volunteers established Compass as the gay and lesbian community center of Palm Beach County in 1992.

Over the course of the next decade, Compass continued to prove itself as a leader in HIV prevention and care efforts, and as an organizer of information and referral services for gay and lesbian youth and adults who needed assistance at home, at work or in school as they navigated their way toward empowered, healthy, productive lives. For over ten years, Compass remained as the sole provider of crisis and care services for people living with HIV for the Palm Beach County Department of Health.  Today, Compass has on-site HIV case management services to connect newly-diagnosed people to care, and continues its tradition as an expert in HIV prevention activities in partnership with the Florida State Department of Health.

In 1999, with the help of a generous contribution from Ken Adams, Compass’ board of trustees set an ambitious goal – to make all of Palm Beach County a safe place for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people and their friends and families. Compass created one of the largest outreach events of its kind in Florida and Palm Beach County’s history, Pridefest of Lake Worth and the Palm Beaches (2000). Then, in an effort to connect local residents to their municipal, state and national representatives, Compass created the Stonewall Ball (2002), along with the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, so that our unique and diverse voices would be heard and understood by those with the responsibility to lead us.

In 2003, Compass opened the first gay and lesbian cyber center in Florida with the help of the David Bohnett Foundation, and in 2005 became the first gay and lesbian community center in the nation to host the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s traveling exhibition, “The Nazi Persecution of Homosexuals (1933-1945).” And in 2007, Compass entered into a unique public-private partnership with the City of Lake Worth, FL to renovate and operate a city-owned building that has existed as a facility addressing urgent needs for seniors for more than 30 years.

Compass is the largest gay and lesbian community center in Florida and the Southeast United States and one of the largest and most respected of its kind in the nation. More than 25,000 people utilize its 14,000 square foot facility, and more than 17,000 referrals are fielded by more than 12,000 volunteer hours graciously contributed by hundreds of community-centered individuals each year.

In 2013, Compass and its family will proudly celebrate more than 25 years of service to Palm Beach County, South Florida and the many constituents who have donated their time, money and expertise to advance one united mission: to diminish stereotypes by challenging long-standing misconceptions about the character of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Compass accomplishes its mission each day by emboldening our youth, promoting pride in our community, and acting as an educator, advocate, health service provider, and focal point for community organizing.

As good neighbors, effective partners, and respected participants in our civic responsibilities, Compass promotes awareness of the caring nature of our diverse community, and continues to make history doing so.

Join us by making a tax-deductible contribution

The Compass documentary was created in 2010 in collaboration with Bruce Presley and the Downtown Loft Studio.

How Compass Changed my life. Five different stories in five acts that illustrate Compass’ mission of aiming to diminish stereotypes by challenging long-standing misconceptions about the character of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Tony Plakas Chief Executive Officer                                ext 4034
Ryanmarie Rice Chief of Staff & Media Contact                    ext 4034
Julia Murphy, MSW Chief Development Officer                          ext 4018
Julie Seaver Chief Financial Officer                                 ext 4038
Ernie Gonzalez Center Operations & Volunteer Director      ext 4010
Lorenzo Lowe HIV Prevention & Education Director          ext 4009
Patrice Huntley, MSW Health Services Director                             ext 4025
Adrienne Percival Development Associate                              ext 4003
Amanda Canete Youth Program Coordinator                        ext 4011
Diela Aristilde Case Manager                                            ext 4033
Christina Collins Case Manager                                            ext 4015
Diela Aristilde Case Manager                                            ext 4033
Dylan Brooks HIV Testing & Mpowerment Coordinator    ext 4004
Jacquelyn Jamason, LMHC Licensed Mental Health Counselor            ext 4055
Lysette Perez Early Intervention & Linkage Specialist      ext 4007
Mildred Smith Eligibility Case Manager                             ext 4012
Natalie Brimer Development Associate                             ext 4006
Neka Mackay Case Manager                                           ext 4005
Raymond Cortes Case Manager                                           ext 4008
Sabrine Pearson Youth Mentoring Coordinator, Transgender Community ext 4035
Michael Grattendick Board Chair
Mark Lindsay Board Vice- Chair
Crista Mockenhaupt Secretary
J. Michael Woods Treasurer
Marc Pickering Board Member