Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Cleve's DC March May
Open the Books Next Week

The last big gay march on Washington was the Millennium March in 200o and was organized principally by the Human Rights Campaign. By all accounts, it was a financial disaster, with little immediate or any real lasting impact on either the political process or invigorating the LGBT with the desire to organize. Oh, and there was the small matter, ahem, of the FBI investigating the disappearance of $750,000.

Maybe if someone had asked for HRC and its partners to open the financial books before the march, and to issue regular fiscal reports, there might have been a smaller need to open an FBI probe.

I'm not saying anything near the level of fiscal mismanagement in 2000 is repeating for the 2009 march on DC, just that it is never too early to start asking a gay enterprise to provide accountability and transparency over the finances.

My questions from yesterday to co-organizers of Cleve Jones' October march were answered, by and large, by Loch Powell, who was listed on the march's press release yesterday as spokesperson for the effort. I'm appreciative of his engagement with me over this money issue and look forward to him serving in this capacity.

Always nice to receive replies to such questions, but it's totally annoying when, as was the case with Ali Hili and Iraqi LGBT, a spokesperson doesn't easily provide a date for release of a fiscal accounting and the name of the accountant isn't shared.

What say you? Should Powell give us all a firm date of when to expect an accounting, how to reach the accountant, and make and keep a promise for future, regular accountings?

Here are my questions, and Powell's answers:

Thanks for your patience! Here are some answers to your questions. Please don't hesitate to call or write if you need anything else. I am here to help. - Loch Powell

Q: How much money has been raised, as of today, for the gay march on Washington this October that has been chiefly called for by Cleve Jones?

A: As a matter of correction, the march has been called by more than just Cleve Jones, we are all calling pretty heavily, we have an enormous steering committee representative of the diversity of our community.

We have received pledges nearing our target, which is 150,000. So far to date, of those pledges we have received approximately 60,000.

Q: Does the march have it's own tax exempt status, or is there a fiscal sponsor? If there is, which group is serving in this capacity?

A: The National Equality March / Equality Across America is a project of The Tides Foundation. All donations are fully tax deductible.

Q: Who decides how the money will be spent?

A: The Executive planning committee of the National Equality March: Wayne Ting, Nicole Murray Ramirez, Loch Powell, Robin McGeHee, Derek Washington, Cleve Jones, Rev. Irene Monroe. To name a few. A full list will be available on the site.

Q: Who is the accountant for the march, and how can she be contacted?

A: Tides Center is handling all Vendor contracts. But we have not had any major expenses yet.

Q: Can you publish a fiscal report to the LGBT community by Friday?

A: We will make best efforts, but I can't promise by Friday. We might need until next week, A lot of us are travelling to do outreach, and as I mentioned before there haven't been any major expenses yet. We are still gathering bids for the various services required in DC, for the event.

Q: Will you all commit to issue a monthly fiscal accounting and post it on your web site?

A: We are committed to complete transparency and accountability to our community, and will make best efforts to report monthly.


Anonymous said...

Michael, kudos for asking the questions. I look forward to the follow ups. -Bob Summersgill

Andrew W. said...

There sin't going to be a March. The "lack of interest" is profound.

People should spend their money at home, in their neighborhoods and cities.

Tides Foundation should seek a good project for the money.