Thursday, June 25, 2009

BAR: EQCA's Kors Skips AIDS Inc
on Services v Prop 8 Repeal

There's an incredibly important and lengthy article in today's Pride issue of the Bay Area Reporter, written by ace reporters Matthew S. Bajko and Seth Hemmelgarn, about the funding troubles of LGBT and AIDS service providers and advocacy organizations.

With lots of cutbacks in government funding streams to people with AIDS, many HIV organizations are holding meetings to discuss how to deal with the money crisis and meet the direct daily needs of PWAs. Among the items on the agenda, merging groups and cutting overhead, according to the BAR.

In the past, the dozens of AIDS groups in San Francisco have strongly resisted ceding any turf and putting institutional egos aside, merging their services and better helping PWAs survive and thrive. Let's hope such thinking radically changes as we all grapple with the budget crisis.

One part of the BAR article forced me to raise an eyebrow; the part about an initiative to repeal Prop 8 and its potential adverse impact on AIDS groups. I think this is the first time I've read in a San Francisco publication, debate about how raising millions of dollars for another gay marriage ballot proposition could negatively affect service orgs, and the people they serve.

What also surprised me is that leaders of AIDS Inc tried to meet with Geoff Kors of Equality California, and a defacto honcho in any ballot initiative, and that he missed a meeting to discuss the matter.

Not only that, as the BAR reports, the same leaders, like many regular LGBT community members, are not sure who's in charge of making the decisions about an initiative.

It doesn't say much good about California's gay community that, eight months after we lost Prop 8 and the right to marriage equality, we cannot pinpoint who the leaders are for either a 2010 or 2012 return to the voters.

From the BAR:

As the community prepares for a Prop 8 repeal campaign sure to cost tens of millions of dollars, nonprofit leaders are expressing concern about the impact the looming battle will have on their ability to raise funds.

Last year's Prop 8 fight cost the LGBT community and its allies $40 million, largely spent along California's liberal coastal areas. The repeal fight is expected to cover the entire state, ensuring the next ballot battle will be far more costly to the community.

"I don't know of any LGBT organization in the state that's focused on direct services and advocacy outside of marriage that isn't worried about fundraising in light of another ballot initiative," said Masen Davis, executive director of the Transgender Law Center, which has received more than 1,200 requests for assistance this year.

Dana Van Gorder, executive director of Project Inform, and several other AIDS agency leaders had hoped to meet with Equality California's Geoff Kors this past Monday to discuss how to fund the next campaign, while at the same time, ensure local agencies serving the community do not see their fundraising efforts adversely impacted. But Kors was a no-show and the AIDS executives said they're confused on just who is leading the repeal effort. ...

No comments: