Big-name donations to help Encircle build 8 new locations

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With the goal of raising $8 million, Apple, Qualtrics founder and Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith, and lead singer of Imagine Dragons Dan Reynolds and his wife, recording artist Aja Volkman have partnered to give a total of $4 million to Encircle to build eight new safe spaces for LGBTQ youth and their families.

Encircle, whose motto is “no sides, only love,” was created to bring together families and communities to enable LGBTQ+ youth to thrive, currently operates facilities in Provo, Salt Lake City, and St. George, with another being built in Heber.

Encircle launched a new “$8 Million, 8 Houses” capital campaign to establish eight new Encircle homes in four states: Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah.

To jumpstart the campaign, Ryan and Ashley Smith will contribute $2 million, Dan Reynolds and Aja Volkman will donate Dan’s childhood home in Las Vegas, valued at $1 million. Apple will donate $1 million and contribute products that promote digital connection, creativity, and education.

“All LGBTQ+ people should feel safe and supported enough to be open about who they are with their community and themselves,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Around $500,000 from the donations being sought will launch an Ogden facility, with another $500,000 to help with operations.

Ogden’s building will be a three-story brownstone with green space on either side and a plaza to the rear with a covered patio. It is being built in an empty, grass-filled lot at 2458 Washington Blvd. in downtown Ogden and is expected to open in October.

More information is available at ­encircletogether.org

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