William Way discusses down funding at last 2012 meeting
by Angela Thomas
Dec 06, 2012 | 912 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The William Way LGBT Community Center hosted its last public board meeting Nov. 27 and fundraising was the main topic of the night.

Executive director Chris Bartlett said that Indigo Ball, the center’s largest fundraiser held annually in October, did not meet its fundraising goal: The center hoped to raise $98,000 but instead brought in around $45,000.

Bartlett attributed the gap largely to the loss of several corporate gifts and said the event was still successful.

October’s expenses of $49,791 were covered by the center’s income of $51,510. However, giving is down.

According to board member Brad Richards, individual giving for the year was off the amount projected in the budget by about 35 percent, with about $15,635 in individual gifts so far, about $10,000 less than was expected.

Additionally, fundraising was off by 16 percent and foundational giving was off by 46 percent.

Bartlett said the shortfall “came about from a challenging economic year that had an impact on the level of gifts of some of our generous donors. This year, we are seeking to broaden our individual donor base further to reach out to the many LGBT and allied fans of the center who don’t yet support us financially, as well as continuing to increase our online giving and support from foundations and corporations.”

Bartlett said the center plans to target more ally companies and work with LGBT employee-resource groups at area corporations to build stronger connections. The center is also exploring the option of a letter-writing campaign and phone banking to raise fundraising efforts.

Bartlett said the center recently lost one staff person, the coordinator of its Oral History Project, but that was because the grant funding the position ended. No programs have been cut, but program expenses will be reassessed to manage any losses.

On a positive financial note, $140,000 recently went into the center’s endowment from a major gift left by longtime supporter Ellis Ginsberg, who died last year. The gift puts the endowment at $321,616.

In facilities news, the center is moving forward with plans to renovate its roof and expects to install security cameras by the end of the year.

Bartlett said the center is working to update its technology offerings and is looking at plans to integrate flat-screen TVs in the lobby that will feature slides on the various events going on at William Way.

The center hopes to enhance its public-relations and marketing efforts through a partnership with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Joan Garry, former head of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and a current Penn professor, offered the assistance of students in her nonprofit marketing-practices class to design messages for center clients and subcommunities the agency is looking to reach, including allies, people of color and women.

Also, the center’s new website is expected to launch by next month.

Social media has been a success for William Way, with its number of Facebook friends going up from 3,981 to 4,020; “likes” from 1,541 to 1,615; and Twitter followers from 659 to 704 in the month of October.

In terms of programs, director of center services Candice Thompson said the recent art exhibit featuring works by Tuesday Smillie drew a crowd of nearly 100 on opening night. Exhibit Trans | Post was also successful, Thompson said, and she hopes to bring it back next year.

Board member Laurie Ward said the board is in talks with a number of board recruits, and three new members will be brought on next month. Stephanie Gross, treasurer Ann Butchart and Ted Greenberg will be rotating off the board.

The board also recognized the passing of the center’s longtime bookkeeper, Tony Pinto, who worked at the organization since 2006.

Board members in attendance included co-chairs Gross and Jeff Sotland, Rudy Flesher, secretary Steve Brando, Amber Hikes, Kathy McLean, Richards, Moira Mulroney Hatch and Ward.

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