Tuesday, August 23, 2011

LA Gay Center:
990s Too Voluminous to Post

When it comes to dealing with tax exempt organizations about their IRS 990s, I've been around the block a few times and have heard many weak excuses why an organization won't disclose the filings on its web site. The Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Center (pictured) is just the latest nonprofit to say their 990s are too big to post for site visitors to read.

This note came from the center's spokesperson Stevie St. John, explaining their institutional eosophobia, fear of sunshine:

I’m responding to your inquiries regarding the Center’s website. We post our Annual Reports on the site each year, including our financials, but not the voluminous 990’s. If that should change, we will be sure to let you know.

The 2010 filing for the center, as posted on the Guide Star site, is all of 41-pages. Click here to read the center's three most-current filings on Guide Star.

Speaking of linking to those 990s at that outside site, I've emailed and left voice mail for the center's executive director Lorri Jean to consider at least linking to her filings at Guide Star, if her $46 million group truly cannot afford the space on their site to just post three 990s.

BTW, $9.6 million of the center's revenue comes from government grants, according to their latest tax filing on page 9, and that amount is one more big reason why it's important for Jean to get over the reluctance to disclose her 990s.

Let me say again, I salute the LA center for posting six-years of annual reports. However, that is not nearly enough voluntary fiscal transparency for an organization with such a substantial budget.

While this center can't make room for any 990s, compare that absence with the eight, yes 8, years of IRS 990s posted at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center's About Us page. Kudos to the SF center's executive director Rebecca Rolfe and her board of directors, for this wonderful large amount of institutional transparency. (So nice to write a few positive words about a gay service organization!)

Another example of a gay center providing at least three years' tax filings, is the New York City LGBT Services Center. Click here to read their 990s.

It's time for the LA center to emulate the fiscal transparency of the SF and NYC centers.

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