Thursday, June 23, 2011

3 SF Groups Got AT&T Grants,
Did Not Endorse Merger

Many in the gay movement are questioning these days how our community groups are partnering with AT&T, in light of the crisis at GLAAD that has shed light on the group shilling for the phone giant at the Federal Communications Commission.

Other organizations that have received grants from AT&T and sent letters to either the FCC or the California Public Utilities Commission include the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, Equality California and the SF LGBT Community Center. My coverage of the center's letter is here. NGLTF and EQCA have retracted their letters supporting AT&T's proposals.

Yesterday, I sent informal surveys to three San Francisco-based groups whose web sites showed they had partnered with AT&T and received financial backing from them. The groups surveyed were the gay film festival Frameline, the Horizons Foundation philanthropic umbrella and the National Center for Lesbian Rights advocacy nonprofit.

First of all, let me say a big thank you to all of the groups, and the community center too, for responding so quickly to my requests for info - and during Pride Week, no less. Second, I want to name those who provided me with answers, starting with Rebecca Rolfe who is executive director at the center, Frameline's executive director K.C. Price, the Horizons Foundation's development director Deb Stallings, and Erik Olvera who works in the communications department at NCLR.

Here are the questions and the replies:

How much money did you receive from AT&T this year or in total?

Frameline: I don't have this info at my fingertips since I'm at the Festival right now. Approximately, $55,000 this year.

Horizons: Since 2006, AT&T has contributed a total of $110,000 to Horizons in unrestricted operating support.

NCLR: AT&T has pledged $26,000 since 2008. We have received $1,000 of that total pledge.

Have you sent a letter to any regulatory agency about the merger?

Frameline: No, Frameline has not.

Horizons: No.

NCLR: NCLR has not sent any letters regarding the AT&T merger.

Do you have a position on net neutrality?

Frameline: No, we're an arts and culture organization and don't take such positions.

Horizons: No.

NCLR: We have not discussed internally any position on net neutrality, and thus have not taken a public position.

Do you have any board members who work for AT&T?

Frameline: [The board president, Randy Quebec, works for the company but since the group didn't send a letter on AT&T's behalf it's moot to ask if he played a role. -michael]

Horizons: No.

We don’t have any board members who are employed by AT&T.

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