Pride Scales Back by Catherine D. Willis FOUNDATION percent, a Seattle staffer was furloughed, and an open position will go unfilled. Pay for the rest of the staff was pared by 6 percent as well. "The expense reductions that we made in the Inland Northwest (Farand's time and the office) represent only 6 percent of the total cuts we made in expenses," concluded McColloch-Lussier. Outreach Endangered Some members of the local steering committee were unsettled by the breadth and timing of the cuts. "I was not surprised to hear that there were going to be some changes," noted Rose Wardian. "What did surprise was the impact to the staff in the outlying regions. ... I have been witness to the strides in visibility over the years. Farand Gunnels' position with the Pride Foundation has been instrumental in this progress." The steering committee and the broader GLBTQA community can and will carry on, she conceded, "but a full-time staff person is a vital link to the outreach program. I would hate to see the momentum slow." "I am not happy that these changes were dropped on the Pride Foundation/Inland Northwest steering committee just after the annual budget was set," declared Dan Brown. "Had we known earlier, I hope we would have reallocated funds to keep more of Farand's essential time and travel budget. We cover a huge geographic area and any restriction of travel funding will significantly impact our outreach." "Pride Foundation has worked very hard at building a presence in Idaho and Montana," wrote Jenne Lee, who has chaired the Inland Northwest steering committee for the better part of three years. "I would have preferred to keep our Spokane office open because of the visibility." She took a more measured, even philosophical, position on the changes, however. "We aren't the only nonprofit to have our struggles in this hard economy. We need to stay strong and positive to make it through these tough times. As soon as the changes were announced, our steering committee committed to a new game plan." Members agreed that they will have to pick up the slack. They will act as faces of Pride Foundation in the community, attending as many events as possible, and partnering with organizations to raise funds and support GLBTQ interests. This may also require some travel to outlying communities. "We're counting on them," said McColloch-Lussier. "We have a great steering committee. It's been one of our most active, one of the oldest." Gunnels reinforced this attitude, lauding the strengths and commitment of the local committee. He also reaffirmed his own commitment to Pride Foundation and to the communities he continues to serve. Fears and Frustration "Many people were shocked" [when news of the cutbacks surfaced] and afraid that Pride Foundation would completely pull out of the Spokane area," noted Lee. "Pride Foundation has been a major contributor for GLBTQA events in our community." Activities for 2009 have not been restricted, she stressed. "Pride Foundation/ Inland Northwest is as much a part of the community as ever." The staffing changes reflect a deliberate decision by Pride Foundation management to make community funding the number one priority. "We feel that's why people give to us, PRIDE continued on page 11 "Pride Foundation is very fortunate to not be at financial risk in these hard times," declared Pride Foundation's regional program coordinator Farand Gunnels in response to the survey I circulated in January and reported on in these pages in March. Circumstances changed abruptly after that story ran. The Seattle-based nonprofit closed its Spokane office March 31. Gunnels will continue to serve the area, working out of his home at three-quarters time. There was no conspiracy to deceive Q View's readers, Pride Foundation's director of communications Zan McCollochLussier assured me in a telephone interview April 7. "It was purely a timing thing." Financials were reviewed beginning in midJanuary. Budget discussions followed in February. The organization's fiscal year starts April 1. With individual giving off by 10 percent and their portfolio down 15 percent, foundation managers determined that the 2009-2010 budget had to be 10 percent leaner than 2008-2009's. "It was not until the first weeks in March that we had a budget that we felt was the right one. The board didn't even approve that budget until the third Tuesday [March 17]." Along with Gunnels, a staff member in Portland has seen her work hours reduced by 25 | May 2009 | Q View Northwest - Spokane Edition |