Thursday, March 17, 2011

BAR: Fiscal Transparency from
AOF/Pride/Lyon Martin not Haas Fund

(Junketeers BAR writer Matt Baume, editor Cynthia Laird, blogger Zach Ford. Credit: Karen Ocamb.)

The Bay Area Reporter's editorial this week by Cynthia Laird justifiably takes the Academy of Friends non-profit to task for their latest evasiveness about their faltering group, its fundraising purposes and accountability to the community. Ending the AOF's annual gala Oscar party is something else the BAR calls for, while reminding readers of the fiscal and leadership deficiencies at SF Pride and the Lyon Martin Health Services.

From Laird:

Last month AOF held its 2011 Oscar gala and now, more than two weeks after the event, AOF board members claim to have no idea of how much money was raised and would not answer questions on when payments – now almost a year overdue – would be made to the organizations. It is inconceivable that 18 days after an organization's crucial annual major fundraiser, it still has no idea of how much money was raised. ...

We say: enough is enough. ... In the end, it's about accountability and transparency.

In case Laird, who was one of the select writers invited to last weekend's secretive-until-it-was-happening junket put on by Bil Browning of Bilerico and Matt Foreman, the man with a big checkbook at the Haas Fund, is curious about some else that is inconceivable regarding fiscal transparency, she should check out the failure of Browning and Foreman to release the costs of their junket, as I have asked.

Frankly, I couldn't agree more with the accountability and sunshine that the BAR wants from at least three organizations, but it's not kosher for the paper's editorial staff to give the Haas Fund a pass on giving those who weren't invited to the junket some fiscal details. How's about the BAR develop some consistent standards for both the community-based service and money-raising groups and foundations?

Many of the folks at the Haas Fund junket have said they were not co-opted by the generosity extended to them, and at least two of the attendees, Zack Ford and Matt Comer, weren't exactly burning up their blogs with criticism of Gay Inc and Gay Foundation Inc showing they are not boat-rockers of institutions.

But the BAR, for all their faults I've been blogging on lately, has a strong and honorable track record of holding non-profits accountable and shedding light where AIDS groups in this town would to keep in the dark. In not asking for the Haas Fund this week to answer questions about the costs of their junket and other concerns from the critics of it, the BAR shows dangerous signs of being co-opted by the weekend summit, or applying inconsistent-standards.

If Laird was not co-opted, she would get the BAR behind the effort to have the Haas fund deliver what she wants from AOF, Lyon Martin and SF Pride. Timely fiscal info and public dialogue. Laird might also call upon Foreman to hold regular public forums and push all institutions to get with the democratic engagement agenda.

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