Thursday, August 30, 2012

AEGIS 10 Yrs IRS 990s,
GLAD, EQ Federation, PI & NCTE Updates

Here are the latest rays of gay sunshine from our advocacy organizations.

After publishing my post on 11 gay and AIDS groups that don't meet the basic transparency standard of posting 3-5 years of IRS 990, I contacted executives at some of the groups and asked them to reconsider keeping tax returns off their web sites. But before we get to what they had to say, let me share a note from my friend Sister Mary Elizabeth at the invaluable HIV/AIDS site

We've been posting our 990s since 2000. This will most-likely be our last year to post. We've laid off all but two of our staff. I was laid off last year. We'll know next month if we'll have enough grant money to make it through another year with only two employees, but to be honest, two people and one part-timer can't maintain a site as large as AEGiS. AEGiS is the only site that has created and maintained a record of the pandemic since its beginning -- our mistakes, our victories, etc. but there is no community support. Your efforts to get the NY Times to donate their archive was much appreciated. It would have never happened without your assistance.

With ten, yeah 10, years of IRS 990s posted on-site, AEGIS is the community organizatino with the most tax returns a click away for public inspection.  I'm sorry they're having financial trouble. Very proud to have persuaded the Times to share their AIDS stories with Sister, and hope they find sound fiscal support soon.

I must cop to being wrong in my survey about the Equality Federation. I heard from their communications director Kim Miller and she informed me their current return is posted  here on their site. My apologies for failing to notice the 2010 IRS 990 was at the About Us page, at the very bottom under the resources section.

Miller agreed their returns need to be on their own page and that their Equality Federation will update their financial disclosure after Labor Day, and I applaud them for so quickly expanding their existing commitment to transparency. I suggested the federation adopt and promote a recommendation to all state advocacy groups to also post 3-5 of IRS 990s on their sites, an idea I will follow up on in the fall with Miller.

Over at Project Inform's financials page, executive director Dana Van Gorder kept his promise to me and the community to post his five most recent returns and clearly labeled as such. You'll find the 2007 - 2011 IRS 990s here.

From Lee Sislow, executive director at Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders in Boston, first came word that she embraced the posting of 990s but said her colleagues were all on end of summer vacations and to give her some time to chat with them. She then sent two emails full of radiant light:

Michael, just to follow up. The GLAD senior team met and agreed we should—and will—post our 990’s. We, too, support transparency among movement organizations. We expect to have them up on our website by the end of the week. Thanks again for bringing this to my attention.

Great to have that commitment in writing, but a wee bit more time is needed at GLAD:

Turns out they won’t be posted until next week, as we have to do some relabeling on our web site and our web master it out the rest of this week.

Who else is taking action to be more accountable to the LGBT community? The leader of the National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, shared this good news about what her organization is doing in September:

We pride ourselves on transparency. For several of our nine years, NCTE did post 990s directly on our website on our "About" page. At some time in the last year or so, a decision was unfortunately made to post only our Annual reports. In retrospect, that was a mistake. But it was not made in any attempt to decrease transparency. We will fix it, but not until next week since almost everyone including me is out of the office today at various conferences. Thanks for the reminder. I do consider you a colleague and appreciate your work. Please feel free to reach out anytime formally or informally. Thanks for all your work and thanks for the reminder to post 990s.

And thanks to all these executive leaders for taking the time move their groups, and more of the movement's money, into a greater degree of fiscal transparency. Gay sunshine marches on!

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