Friday, May 09, 2014

Chicago LGBT Health Group's Town Halls: Example for Gay Inc

From my first contacts in August 2011 with David Ernesto Munar when he was executive director of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, he not only expressed a commitment to expanding transparency but he delivered on his promises to me.

At the time, the foundation didn't post three years' worth of IRS 990s on their site and I requested that David, pictured, rectify this omission. Within days, the 990s were on the foundation's web site and I praised David for this expansion of sunshine.

He's both gay and living with HIV, by the way, and now serves as executive director of the Howard Brown Health Center and I'm pleased to learn he continues to set a fine example of how a leader of an LGBT organization should be accessible and accountable to the community.

On the IRS 990 front, two years' of the most current filings are on the clinic's site and I hope they soon add a third year's return. Compare that transparency with zero 990s at the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center's site and at the AIDS Healthcare Foundation site, and let's applaud the Chicago based center for this openness.

This week, an alert was circulated about a terrific act of community engagement for later this month:

Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) has stood as a beacon for LGBTQ healthcare equality for 40 years, and our service only grows more vital in today's changing healthcare landscape.

To commemorate these past accomplishments and introduce its plans for future success, HBHC will hold its Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 29, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. at the future home of the HBHC's Brown Elephant Store in Lakeview at 3020 N. Lincoln Avenue.

Together with funders, community partners, and patients, our newly appointed President and CEO David Ernesto Munar will trace the narrative of this remarkable community health center, whose dedication to community care has provided healthcare and wellness services for our diverse patient populations since 1974. [...]

The Annual Meeting, free of charge, will start with light refreshments, and the presentation will also include the introduction of HBHC's newly elected members of the Board of Directors.

Imagine that, an open-to-all community forum organized by a gay nonprofit. If only we had such engagement from all of our LGBT and HIV/AIDS nonprofits, especially the likes of the Human Rights Campaign and their out-of-touch executive leadership and aloof board members, then we could say the seeds of democracy were starting to grow in our movement.

Btw, the clinic will also hold five additional town hall meetings about various LGBT health issues. More info on those events is here.

Let's get more executive directors and boards following the fine example of the Howard Brown Health Center of open and direct engagement.

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