Metro Weekly Drops
Trevor Project ED Story?
Almost two months back, Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly in Washington, DC, was the first to report on the out-of-the-blue resignation of Charles Robbins as the executive director of the Trevor Project.
Chris made the following promise to readers: "[We] will have more information as the story develops. [Interim ED David] McFarland was not available for comment at this late hour, although an email request for information was sent to him."
In early May, one month after Robbins' resignation, I blogged about the lack of stories in the gay press and across the blogosphere, and no one asking tough questions about the abrupt change in leadership at Trevor. My small hope was that in the interests of simple and sorely-needed watchdogging of a community-funded charity, Chris and his colleagues would get answers about the resignation.
Chris was asked if he would make some follow up efforts and sent me this reply: "Thanks for reminding me that I wanted to do more digging on this. You, of course, are the 990 expert. I don't think of that immediately, but thanks for reminding me. As soon as I get some time, I'll look into it again, and a little deeper."
Since receiving that May 5 email, there's been no follow up at Metro Weekly, and my phone messages and emails to Trevor seeking dialogue did not elicit a reply from anyone at the organization. Silence seems to suit Trevor leaders about their stewardship. They're happy the news item about Robbins resigning never developed into a full-fledged story.
Considering the closure of the New Leaf mental health agency, the near-collapse of the Lyon Martin Clinic, the huge deficits at SF Pride and SF LGBT Community Center, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition going out of business, and serious troubles faced by many other gay and AIDS service/advocacy groups, there is clearly a need for much more public scrutiny of any signs of troubles at our community organizations.
Trevor must explain if the interim director is staying on, if a search is underway for a permanent director and share details about why Robbins left so suddenly. Let's not wait until there is a crisis at the project before we insist upon accountability and fuller transparency.
Trevor is another bullshit agency. They use all volunteer staff effort and most of their costs go for executive salaires. It's the darling of gay agencies right now, and they do some good work helping suicidal gay teens, but they take in way too much money that really isn't accounted for in costs of a large staff. It's rich gays paying rich gays. Their scope of services isn't that large, and they don't need all the money they take in. Worst of all, there is absolutely NO accountability to the community for it, and no one dares challenge them because of the sacred-cow gay youth they supposedly "serve". They serve themselves, mostly. Good luck getting ANY transparency out of them. Maybe some day Robbins will talk and do us all a favor and expose all the bullshit at that agency.
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