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White House honors Champions of Change, including two men who fight for homeless LGBT youth

WASHINGTON – The White House today (July 12) honored Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center in New York City and Tim Baack of Pathfinders as two of 13 individuals who have made a significant difference in the way their communities combat homelessness among children and youth as a “Champion of Change.”

“Today’s Champions of Change have made extraordinary commitments to helping children and youth reach their full potential despite the challenges arising from the experience of homelessness,” said Barbara Poppe, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness.

“The efforts of these Champions, and others like them across the country, are critical to achieving our goal of preventing and ending homelessness for families, youth and children by 2020, and ensuring that every child has a safe and stable place to call home,” she said.

The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different sector is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community leaders, are recognized for the work they are doing to serve and strengthen their communities.

About Carl Siciliano

Siciliano is a nationally recognized advocate and provider for homeless LGBT youth and has been dedicated to this population since 1994. He began his career helping to manage shelters, soup kitchens and residential programs for homeless individuals in New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C. His programs have been widely recognized for their quality and innovation.

In 2002, Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center (AFC), which has grown to become the nation’s largest and most comprehensive housing program for homeless LGBT youth. In 2002, he was named by OUT Magazine as one of the 100 Outstanding Gay Achievers. His work was recognized by the Stonewall Democrats of NYC in 2006, and in 2007 he was awarded the Brooke Astor Service Award, which is given to those who are relentless in their dedication to the city of New York and who have contributed substantially to its enrichment.

Today, Siciliano continues to fight for the rights and empowerment of homeless LGBT youth through the growth and outreach of the Ali Forney Center.

About Tim Baack

Tim Baack has been affiliated with Pathfinders since 1988 and currently serves as its executive vice president. Under his leadership, Pathfinders moved to its current location in 2009 – an enhanced facility in the Riverworks Business District of Milwaukee - and added two new major programs: the Youth Outreach Drop-In Center and the Q-BLOK LGBT Young Adults Housing Initiative.

A strong advocate on behalf of disadvantaged youth and families, Baack also serves as board president of the Wisconsin Association for Homeless and Runaway Services, a statewide membership organization that promotes best practice standards and positive youth development methods on behalf of runaway and homeless youth serving agencies.

A state-licensed professional counselor, Baack is also an elected Steering Committee member of Milwaukee’s Continuum of Care (CoC) and currently serves as Chair of the Coordinated Entry work group – an essential element of the CoC’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, a communitywide effort to prevent homelessness and increase the availability of safe and affordable permanent housing and supportive services.

Baack lives in Pewaukee, Wisc., with his partner John Sheaffer and their three dogs. Their extended family includes their sons Ben and Adam and their spouses/partners Aimee and Dana, as well as their twin grandchildren Oliver and Violet.