Open Letter to the Community By Cat Carrel, Board President, Inland Northwest LGBT Center Time for a new era of LGBT Center leadership leaving bulging plaster on the ceilings and walls. Coupled with other environmental hazards that existed in the building, the board voted to close the doors. In June 2006, the physical location at 508 W. 2nd Avenue was closed permanently. Bit by bit, we set about putting things back together at the state and federal level. It took time, energy, resources and even a little begging. At one point more than six months passed before getting a single response from the Internal Revenue Service. We raised money and had fundraisers, looking to the future. We began the process of changing the name and rebranding the organization to the Inland Northwest LGBT Center. That original "new" board, Ginny Foote, John Brindle, Kim Stankovich, Edbera Wood, and myself, worked hard to get the Center out of the old place and on its way to a new place, wherever that might be. Along the way, life got in the way of board service. Ginny and Edbera left the board after the first year for personal reasons. Kim hung on even though she had a tough school load and conflicting schedules. John was steadfast, even though he worked two jobs and served on two other boards. Over the course of a couple of months, Joe Reilly, Donna LaJoie, Melinda "bob" Maureen and Joni Brown joined the board. Each board member brought a breadth of experience to the team, as well as diversity. Every one of them contributed to the restructuring of the Center; from rewriting bylaws, sorting out our financials, organizing and helping with fundraisers, to writing grants. I am grateful to each and every one of them for their individual contributions. This was an exciting time for the Center; we launched our new identity and website, at After receiving grants from the Eastern Washington Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation and the State of Washington Department of Health, the LGBTQ Wellness Program was initiated with two components: The Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women's Wellness Program and the LGBTQ Tobacco Cessation and Prevention Program. We began to develop our online LGBTQ-friendly Health and Wellness Provider Directory, a first for ANY queer community center in Washington. Additionally, we developed our search-based Resource Directory as a companion to the Provider Directory on the website. In 2008, the Center received matching funds from Komen and Pride to CENTER continued on page 16 T hree years ago in March, I joined the board of directors of the (then) Rainbow Regional Community Center when the organization was facing imminent closure. A community meeting brought out about 50 outspoken individuals who all felt that an LGBTQ community center was important and worthy of keeping open in Spokane. Although a resulting Community Advisory Committee decided the only logical course of action was to close the Center immediately, I and three other people joined John Brindle (who was the only carryover from the old RRCC board of directors) on the board of the RRCC and we tabled the vote while we gathered more information, keeping the doors open for the time being. The board found that the Rainbow Center was on the brink of losing its charitable status and owed hundreds of dollars to the state in back taxes. Confusing matters even worse, the lack of financial, legal and tax documents from the Rainbow Center's past was shocking. We began to think that the organization couldn't be revived under its existing charter, but applying for a new non-profit charter seemed expensive and time consuming. Over the course of the next year, we had to make some difficult decisions. During Pride Weekend, the structure flooded, | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition | April 2009 |