Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons just donated his $1 million childhood home to an LGBTQ+ organization
Imagine Dragons’ Dan Reynolds and his wife Aja Volkman just donated his childhood home in Las Vegas (valued at a million dollars) to a Utah-based advocacy group that supports LGBTQ+ youth, who will be using his home as a community center and all-around safe space for LGBTQ+ individuals and their families and yes to more good news like this!
Reynolds donated his childhood home (which he bought from his parents) to Encircle, an LGBTQ+ youth advocacy group that offers safe spaces where young people can come and join friendship circles, sign up for therapy for themselves and their families, and join in on other fun community-center activities.
According to a statement by the group, “Encircle has served over 70,000 individuals and funded thousands of family and youth therapy sessions, providing a lifeline to those facing suicidality, isolation and depression, helping them build local community and forge a path forward.”
Reynolds’ home will join the group’s “$8 Million, 8 Houses” campaign, which will establish eight new Encircle youth homes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. Apple CEO Tim Cook and Ryan Smith, the owner of the Utah Jazz basketball team, have also donated to the “8 Houses” campaign.
Why a house, you ask? Because Encircle’s motto is creating safe spaces, “that felt like home and carried one powerful message — no sides, only love.”
Encircle was started in Utah by members of the Mormon church, an institution not exactly known for being welcoming to queer individuals. Reynolds, who also identifies with the Mormon faith, said he was drawn to this organization, knowing that LGBTQ+ youth who come from the LDS church face an even greater uphill battle towards acceptance within their family and church community.
“I’ve watched, throughout my life, the difficult path that LGBTQ youth have, especially coming from homes of faith,” the Imagine Dragons frontman told Good Morning America. “With my mom and dad’s blessing, I was able to purchase the house from them — it’s going to be the first Encircle home in Las Vegas, that’s powerful for me.”
Though he identifies as “heterosexual,” Reynolds says he feels compelled to use his privilege, his wealth, and his rockstar status to advocate for the queer community, especially in light of his Mormon upbringing and how he watched his friends struggle to lead their authentic lives within the faith. Citing the record number of suicides in Utah that many believe are a result of LGBTQ+ youth who don’t feel safe being out in the Mormon community, Reynolds wrote an op-ed about his commitment to ally-ship in Rolling Stone in 2018.
“To our LGBTQ youth, especially those who are within the walls of an orthodox faith, I love you and accept you. I will fight to be a true ally for you…” Reynolds wrote. “If the leaders won’t change the doctrine, then I will fight to change the culture. We as Mormons, or people of faith, cannot stand by for one more day and support these harmful teachings that are literally killing our youth. That is not Godly. That is not love.”
Here’s to more good news like this in 2021!