SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Apple CEO Tim Cook and retired NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade joined Utah leaders Wednesday to announce the completion of a local advocacy group’s campaign to build new homes that provide services for LGBTQ youth in the U.S. West.
Encircle, a non-profit providing mental health services for LGBTQ youth, has surpassed its goal of raising $8 million to build eight new homes with locations in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada and Utah aimed at providing safe spaces and preventing teen suicide.
“Encircle’s mission is very personal to me because I see myself in so many of these young people,” Cook told reporters at a press briefing Wednesday. “It’s not easy when you’re made to feel different or less than because of who you are or who you love. It’s a feeling that so many LGBTQ people know far too well.”
The group kicked off the initial campaign in February with donations from Apple and Utah Jazz owners Ryan and Ashley Smith.
Wade, who joined the Utah Jazz ownership group in April, shared his experience as the parent of a transgender child and voiced his support for Encircle’s mission.
“I stand here as a proud parent of a beautiful daughter that’s a part of the LGBT-plus community,” Wade said. “I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know everything, but I’m willing to listen.”
Encircle has locations in Salt Lake City, Provo and St. George, Utah. Construction has begun on locations in Heber, Logan and Ogden, as well as in Las Vegas.