Our History

HISTORY

Officially known as Jersey Shore Community Center Project, QSpot has been a 501(c) 3 tax-exempt non-profit organization since July 1, 2005.  Joe D’Andrea, an Asbury Park resident, along with MaryAnn Vitiello, James Nappi, Brent Pawlecki and others, established the organization with the goal of opening an LGBT community center where services for residents could be provided. Tragically, within six months of its founding, Joe D’Andrea suddenly died.

Between 2007-2013, the Board of Trustees stayed true to the founders vision, using an all-volunteer, grass roots, community-based model, QSpot began offering programming to support the LGBT community through a series of outreach initiatives.

In 2013, QSpot opened its first LGBT community center in Ocean Grove, NJ, later moving into an larger space in 2015.   In 2020, QSpot began renovating and expanding into its own stand alone facility in Asbury Park.

About Joe D’Andrea – From GayAsburyPark.com…

joedandrea-1Joe D’andrea was a man who advocated for the LGBT community his entire life. As a young man living on Long Island, he created the first LGBT newspaper. At the early stages of the internet, Joe created an online HIV support group, one of the first allowing those living with HIV to share with each other. At his death, Joe was a 20 year survivor of HIV, and throughout his life, lent his talents and time to the HIV community.

When Joe and Will moved to Asbury Park in August 2000, Joe felt he finally found the home he had been looking for all his life. In true “Joey D” fashion, he became involved right away in the local political and social scene of Asbury Park believing his voice could make a difference in the community. Joe created the successful and popular website gayasburypark.com, which informed the world of his beloved Asbury Park. But his pride and joy was being on the planning team of the QSpot… a meeting place for the LGBT community that could be social and informative; a safe place for our community to gather.

About MaryAnn Buchanan, Board Chair Emeritus

After serving 8IMG_4580 years as QSpot’s Board Chair, on June 1, 2015, Mary Ann Buchanan was named Board Chair Emeritus.  During Mary Ann’s tenure from 2007-2015,  Mary Ann was responsible for some of QSpot’s most significant milestones, including the opening of our first community center in 2013, later expanding into an even larger facility,  thus becoming one of New Jersey’s largest safe spaces for the LGBT community.  As Board Chair, MaryAnn supported the creation of the QSpot Marching Band – the only one in NJ,  along with GLOW – Gays, Lesbians, Older and Wiser, a social group for LGBT older adults.   Mary Ann created and produced the QSpot Jubilee Pride Dance, a yearly celebration attended by 100’s over many years.