AFC Founder and Executive Director Carl Siciliano said in a statement, "Bea Arthur was tremendously kind and generous to the Ali Forney Center. The caring and concern that Bea expressed for our kids meant the world to us, and we are thrilled to be able to give honor to her memory in this way."
In November 2005 Arthur flew from her L.A. home to Manhattan to give a special benefit performance of her one-woman show, which raised over $40,000 for the Ali Forney Center. In an interview for Next Magazine the "Golden Girls" star said, "I'm very, very involved in charities involving youth and the plight of foster children. But these kids at the Ali Forney Center are literally dumped by their families because of the fact that they are lesbian, gay, or transgender — this organization really is saving lives." Arthur continued to offer her support both as a donor and as an advocate.
Siciliano added, "Before Bea became involved with us, we only had two sites, and could only shelter 12 kids. We were struggling to respond to an epidemic of homelessness that was not very well understood, even in the LGBT community. Bea's support and advocacy really helped raise awareness in our community. Bea Arthur played a crucial part in our efforts to expand our capacity to respond to the hundreds of LGBT youths who come to us for help. She feels very much like a patron saint!"
Ali Forney was a gay youth who was murdered on the streets in 1997, when there was no safe shelter for LGBT youth in NYC. The Ali Forney Center currently offers eight residential sites in New York City to provide shelter and housing to homeless LGBT youth.