YouthPride board of directors violates own by-laws

YouthPride currently has three board members, Board Chair Jordan Myers told a group of LGBT leaders and allies who attended a meeting Jan. 25 at AID Atlanta convened by gay teacher Charlie Stadtlander to discuss the YouthPride crisis.

Myers listed board members as Theresa Willis, Marlys Bergstrom and himself, though he said he had stayed on past the end of his term.

Bergstrom, who acknowledged she said she was unsure she was even considered a board member, told GA Voice the YouthPride board had not met in two years.

At the Jan. 25 meeting, Myers said the board last met in December 2010 ― still far less frequently than required by the agency’s by-laws.

YouthPride’s financial troubles became public in December, when Myers posted on Facebook that the agency needed to raise $25,000 in one week, and Executive Director Terence McPhaul said YouthPride had to raise $40,000 by Dec. 31 or face closure in 60 days.

Despite that deadline passing with only about $20,000 raised, YouthPride currently remains open.
The $40,000 sum would only bring YouthPride current on debts owed and did not include money needed to operate into the future, Myers said at the meeting ― the first time he has answered questions about the organization, after refusing interviews and directing queries to McPhaul since the crisis began.

GA Voice had repeatedly asked for an accurate list of YouthPride’s board members and the date of their last board meeting.

Funding is the “linchpin” to YouthPride’s problems, Myers said at the invitation-only meeting of community leaders held at AID Atlanta. Myers also said YouthPride received an eviction notice, but he clarified in an email that Inman Park United Methodist Church sent YouthPride a “pay or vacate notice” and not an eviction notice as he stated at the community meeting.

“As an organization we have felt underrepresented in the community and by the community,” Myers told meeting attendees, adding, “I see this meeting as an opportunity for YouthPride to actually get the community support we have wanted for so long.”

The meeting resulted in the formation of two ad-hoc committees of community volunteers who will try to assess the current financial and legal status of YouthPride and insure that at least some services for youth continue should Atlanta’s troubled LGBT youth agency close.

The internal audit task force will focus on an “immediate assessment of YouthPride’s viability,” according to Charlie Stadtlander, a gay teacher who organized the Jan. 25 meeting.

Volunteering to serve on the Internal Audit Task Force are Stadtlander; Alison Hall, an internal auditor and board member of For the Kid in All of Us; Tracy Elliott, executive director of AID Atlanta; attorney and former YouthPride board member Seth Persily; Tracee McDaniel, executive director of Juxtaposed Center for Transformation; Jamie Ensley, board chair for the Dogwood Festival, treasurer of Georgia Equality and former YouthPride treasurer; Patt Cianciullo, a CPA and For the Kid board member; and Myers.

Hall and Cianciullo serve as chairs of the committee.

The programs task force “will be designed to examine and collaborate with partner organizations to ensure that the programs YouthPride currently offers will continue in some capacity, if at all possible, should the organization be forced to close or in the event of a restructuring,” Stadtlander noted.

Those who volunteered to serve on the Programs Task Force are committee chair Kathy Colbenson, executive director of CHRIS Kids; Josh Noblitt, social justice minister of St. Mark United Methodist Church; Lamont Scales, prevention programs manager at AID Atlanta, and Seth Persily, attorney and former YouthPride board member.

Both committees will report their findings at a public community meeting set for Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at the offices of CHRIS Kids, Stadtlander said Jan. 27

Photo: YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul. (file)