of our local GLBT non-profit orgs
"Organizations reach their goals by being narrowly focused on them, and by finding what they do best and doing it better than any other organization. Movements reach their goals by taking that behavior a step further by connecting organized groups (each of which has already defined its unique goals and strengths) and creating a larger, stronger, louder whole. When are we in Spokane going to connect and support one another?" Connie Sagona
by Catherine D. Willis Part 3 of 3
Then they change priorities or expend their resources, setting previously favored nonprofits adrift and scrambling for replacement funds. Government grants are equally unpredictable. Prudent nonprofits prepare for such fluctuations. "SAN is always adjusting its budget." Each of the five organizations that provided survey responses has made some accommodation to the darkening economic climate. The leaders of Emmanuel Metropolitan Community Church (EMCC) pared expenses for the year, "conservatively estimating giving and donations for 2009." They have not reduced staff hours. Staffing at Pride Foundation escaped cuts too, but $100,000 in mostly marketing and communications and travel expenses have been targeted for reduction, or elimination, this year. "Pride Foundation is very fortunate to not be at financial risk in these hard times," declared regional program coordinator Farand Gunnels. The foundation enjoys a healthy endowment, strengthened in early 2008 by a $19 million gift, and the ongoing support of some 3,500 donors. This endowment took a hit in Wall Street's recent unraveling, reported Gunnels, but it was a much smaller one than foundation finance managers had expected 5 percent versus 13 percent. OutSpokane approaches the 2009 Pride Parade and Rainbow Festival with great care. "Activities need to pay for themselves." The board is committed to avoiding the mistakes of 2008. "At the very least, we break even."
"I've concluded that the GLBT people of Spokane reflect the greater community. Spokane is a self-conscious, self-critical and self-indifferent kind of place, thinking that we're not much compared to Seattle and almost any other city. Yet Spokane is gorgeous with rivers and lakes and forests and mountains, five colleges, a magnificent medical hub for the area, recreation and beauty abounding and it's a place to be proud of, just like the gorgeous gay people who live here full of beauty, talent, and gifts galore if only they would stand up and be proud." Helen Bonser
f the sky is falling, as columnist Wayne Besen suggested in these pages in January, Spokane's GLBTQ nonprofit and community group leaders are not running for cover. Respondents to the 20-question survey I circulated several weeks ago expressed cautious optimism about their organizations' capacity to survive this economically challenging time. Whether such confidence reflects actual conviction or a selfcomforting mind game of the "fake it `til you make it" variety, I cannot say. Only Jennifer Foster-Fausett, treasurer of the board, Odyssey Youth Center (OYC), veered toward Besen's premise. The poor economy could put the center "at risk," she acknowledged, "because it is
already difficult to fund." Fundraising is problematic in the best of times. It's no secret that many of our community's nonprofits struggle annually to sustain themselves. The underlying cause isn't managerial incompetence, as some unstudied observers might assume; it is rather the very nature of community-funded, missiondriven work. The folks at Spokane AIDS Network (SAN) defined the issue in three words that undoubtedly resonate among their nonprofit cohorts: "never enough money."
Give Us the Money
homage All respondents paidkey to fundraising as a activity of nonprofit management. Pulse continued on page 8
Show Us the Money
haritable foundations Cone or several fundinggive generously and dependably for cycles.
www.qviewnorthwest.com | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition | March 2009 |