A Now-Familiar Cascade of Problems Precedes Closure of LGBT Center

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Colorado Springs

January 13, 2015;Colorado Springs Gazette

The 37-year-old Colorado Springs Pride Center decided to close at a board meeting last Thursday. It was one of the oldest LGBT centers in the country. A month before, it had dismissed its last staff person, the executive director.

The cascade of events that preceded the closing is now achingly familiar to those who follow such things. The center’s grants thinned out during the recession and the organization ended up cutting costs through eliminating most of the staff. It had also run up a total of $24,000 in payroll taxes. Though the tax bill had been reduced by $15,000, when the board made the decision to throw in the towel, the center owed roughly $25,000.

“We just found the situation to be untenable,” said acting board chair Eric Marcum.

For many organizations that close, both interest and need from the served community are low enough to starve the organization, but this report indicates that more than 8,400 people contacted the nonprofit seeking help last year, and its volunteers put in more than 500 hours per month. Some supporters anticipate that the effort might be reinvented, but in a digital format.

“The concern here is: Is the LGBT community still going to be represented as well as they were under the pride center?” asked Jack Danielsen, former board president. “That’s going to be a question the community has to ask itself.”

According to the San Diego LGBT Weekly, the board feels that there is a good chance that the organization’s stakeholders will carry on.—Ruth McCambridge

  • Fred T.

    The article does not give much detail on the financial history, nor a report that a group is being formed as a NFP to carry on the Pridefest weekend.

    As to the finances and efective boards:
    1) Too often NFP’s put grant money into their future operating budgets
    2) Often board members are too proud to admit that the organization is in financial trouble and NOT doing their part in fund raising.
    3) Often board members sit on boards just for the title, either NOT knowing their responsibilites or not willing to fulfill those responsibilities
    4) NFP’s rarely have any idea of effective management of professional and non professional volunteers. (As are board members). I have yet to find an organization that has a written and IMPLEMENTED strategy for using volunteers.
    5) Board members need to understand that whether it be in their professional lives or as a board member continuing EDUCATION is critical for success.
    6) How many Board members carry information in their cars or briefcases which they can post on bulletin board around town, or leave with at a facilityabout their orgs upcoming events?
    I remember when the Gill Foundation held training classes on organization development, board training etc. There are still many classes being held in . Colorado. BUT as an example I attended a seminar on recruiting, retaining and thanking volunteers using their professional skills for a not for profit. Of the 2300 or so NFP’s in this area, only SEVEN attended this FREE morning event.

    After 40 years working with NFP’s I rarely have seen one fail because of lack of money….it is lack of board commitment and letting ego’s getting in the way of client services..