Follow the money: How Atlanta LGBT nonprofits are funded

Reading over federal tax forms and asking leaders of local LGBT nonprofits on how and where they get the funding to fulfill their organizations’ missions can give the public a basic understanding of these organizations work to empower our community.

The truth is, however, that studies show less than 4 percent of people who identify as LGBT actually donate to LGBT organizations.

In 2014, a report named “Out in the South” by Funders for LGBTQ Issues stated of the estimated 8 million “out” LGBT adults in the U.S., nearly 2.7 million―or about one-third―of them live right here in the South. But according to a new report, the region receives only three to four percent of domestic LGBT funding, and local organizations are feeling the pinch.

We sent out questionnaires to numerous Atlanta-based LGBT nonprofit organizations and asked some basic questions: what is your annual budget, how much does your executive director or CEO make, how many paid employees do you have on staff, and where do you get funding from. Most organizations voluntarily answered.

ATLANTA PRIDE, an annual event and largest Pride fest in the Southeast, attracting people from across the country

2015 budget

Two full-time and one part-time

Funding comes from corporate sponsors, small business partners, individual donors, festival donations, revenue generated from the festival, fundraising events, and VIP Festival Pass sales

“Since we are in the process of hiring a new executive director, we decline to provide the requested information related to salaries,” said current Executive Director Buck Cooke at press time. Atlanta Pride announced today, May 29, that it has hired longtime volunteer Jamie Ferguson as the new executive director.

However, a look at the Atlanta Pride’s federal 990 tax form from 2013 shows Cooke made $67,500 that year. No other employee salaries are listed for 2013.

AID ATLANTA, the largest AIDS service organization in the Southeast

Repeated requests for this information went unanswered. The information gathered is from federal tax forms and previous reporting.

In 2014, Jose Diaz was hired as the new CEO with a salary of $155,000. He resigned earlier this year due to health issues, according to him and the organization’s board of directors. A new CEO is in place, James Hughey, but his salary is unknown at this time.

The following numbers are from AID Atlanta’s 2013 tax records

2013 budget
$7.01 million

Interim CEO Cathy Woolard salary (she was in place for one year to help locate a new CEO)

CFO William David Begley Jr. salary
$70,582 plus $13,331 in other compensations

Interim CFO Xiomara Frias salary
$61,050 plus $7,006 in other compensations
CHARIS CIRCLE, the nonprofit arm of Charis Books and More

Annual budget

Executive director’s salary
Elizabeth Anderson makes $30,000 a year

From Anderson: “We are 85 percent individually donor funded (which includes donations made by individuals at fundraisers). We do receive about 10-15 percent of our budget annually from public and private foundations, including the Ackerman Family Foundation and The Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs in 2014-2015.

“We are a member of Georgia Shares, a federation of progressive nonprofits in Georgia,” Anderson added.

Any other paid employees? How many?
“No. We have a 12-person board of directors,” said Anderson.

How much money goes to programming, development, etc.?
From Anderson: $55,000 of the budget goes towards program expenses, $5,000 goes towards development in the form of concrete fundraising expenses, but we don’t have a development director or staff person. The executive director and board are responsible for development, so that is part of the executive director’s salary.
POSITIVE IMPACT HEALTH CENTER, one of the largest and most comprehensive providers of HIV care in metro Atlanta

In January, Positive Impact and AID Gwinnett merged together to form Positive Impact Health Center. These are the current numbers available from the new organization:

Annual budget
$7.3 million

CEO Larry Lehman salary

Approximately 77 paid staff

Budget breakdown: 87 percent from federal grants, 5 percent individual giving/donors, 4 percent state/local grants, 3 percent programmatic revenue, 1 percent miscellaneous

Fundraising expense works out to about $430,000 per audits.

“That was pre-merger, but we have not added any positions at the moment in anything management/fundraising. If we take that figure and the new budget, it works out to 5.8 percent of the budget. Or, if you want to base it on pre-merger/pre-Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration/SAMSHA grant in October 2014, it works out to 7.2 percent based on the audit figures of both founding agencies,” said Michael Baker, director of advancement.

Development expense amounts to $142,610. Management amounts to $287,080.

“The MISTER Center is part of the agency’s budget and not funded separately. It is marketed as a stand-alone in order to better reach its target audience and that strategy is working very well,” Baker added. “The MISTER Center has been named, by the CDC, the number one HIV testing site for young men of color in the nation two years in a row now. And, when we provide testing at Atlanta Pride, that is the single largest HIV testing event in the state. Period.”

GEORGIA EQUALITY, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy organization

Annual budget
$900,000 — a significant increase from an approximate $300,000 budget in 2014.

Executive Director Jeff Graham’s salary
$85,000 (however, Graham pays for his own health care and retirement)

Percentage of budget that goes to salaries
37 percent

“According to last year’s audit, our administrative overhead was 15 percent—with the increase in funding for the Georgia United Against Discrimination Campaign [to defeat the “religious freedom’ bill],” Graham explained. “We are projecting that the administrative overhead will drop to 10 percent or more in the current fiscal year.”

Funding by source:
Grants: 64 percent

Individual gifts: 15 percent

Events: 12 percent

Corporate support: 2 percent

Earned income: 7 percent

“We have seen that having the resources to run a robust advocacy campaign such as Georgia Unites Against Discrimination can make a huge difference in our ability to advance LGBT issues in Georgia,” Graham said. “We also need to elect more fair-minded people to all levels of government in Georgia and those dollars can only come from individual donors. While our educational efforts have grown with the support of grants, our political budget has not experienced the same growth.”

THE HEALTH INITIATIVE, providing health care resources to LGBT people throughout the state

Annual budget:
According to 2014 audit, The Health Initiative’s annual budget is $490,000 and the Rush Center makes up slightly more than a third of that, said Linda Ellis, executive director of The Health Initiative.

Executive Director Linda Ellis’ salary
80 percent of the salary is programming, 20 percent is fundraising/management

The Health Initiative currently has 3 full-time and 2 part-time staff.

“Forty-five percent of our budget goes to salary, but that number alone could be misleading, because we are so program driven,” explained Ellis.

“The Health Initiative is audited annually by an independent CPA. According to our 2014 audit, 88 percent of our budget is dedicated to programming. The remaining 12 percent is made up of fundraising/management,” she said.

The Health Initiative and Georgia Equality manage the Phillip Rush Center.
“The Rush Center income is made up of leases and one-time rent, supplemented by grant funding. The Health Initiative funding is broken down by contracts/grants, individual donations and special event fundraising,” Ellis said.

• JERUSALEM HOUSE, providing housing to those affected by HIV.

2015 budget
$4.3 million

From Jerusalem House’s 2013 federal 990 form

Executive Director Charlie Frew’s salary

Program Director Janice Harris Corry salary

Development Director Jon Santos salary

26 full-time
1 part-time
10 contract

2014 budget breakdown:
71 percent from government funding
13 percent from foundation/business funding
3 percent from individual donors
4 percent from events
9 percent from other

• LOST-N-FOUND YOUTH, an organization working to help homeless LGBT youth find permanent housing.

2015 budget
“This year we budgeted $1 million per year of revenue, which includes capital expenditures. Operating expenses are estimated to be $750,000,” said Rick Westbrook, a founder and executive director.

Westbrook’s salary as executive director:
$50,000—this is the first year the organization is paying an ED’s salary after it was founded three years and has been a volunteer organization for all of that time.

Number of paid staff
19 people on payroll; not all are full time equivalents: 2 admin people, 3 who work in the house where youth live, 3 work in the drop-in center, 11 work in the thrift store

Percentage of budget that goes to salary
34 percent

Where funding comes from
40 percent earned at the nonprofit’s thrift store
10 percent from grants
50 percent fundraising;

“This organization still depends on the work tremendously on volunteer support. We still depend on community funding to make all the things we do for the youth happen,” Westbrook said.

• OUT ON FILM, Atlanta’s LGBT Film Festival

Annual budget
$50,000 operating budget with additional $20,000 in-kind assistance, which includes artist accommodations, travel, hospitality and marketing materials.

Executive director salary and paid staff
OOF operates as a volunteer organization. While the fest has no staff, it contracts for the professional services of a Jim Farmer as festival director for approximately $15,000

60 percent of funding comes from corporate giving (includes cash and in-kind giving), individual donors, and grants (both government and private); the remaining 40 percent comes from ticket sales and from submission fees.

“We are hopeful of starting an annual fundraiser in 2016,” says Jim Farmer, director of the film fest and a columnist for Georgia Voice.

“One of our biggest challenges is that Georgia traditionally ranks last in the nation for arts funding. And even for organizations that offer funding, an LGBT film festival—even one that is nationally respected and recognized—can be looked at as having less local community impact than a mainstream event,” he said.

• NAESM, an organization dedicated to serving black gay men

Annual budget
From 2013 tax form: $224,000

Executive Director Adolph Arromand salary
100 percent of the ED’s salary is from fundraising, said Arromand

2014 budget breakdown:
45 percent from fundraising
65 percent from grants and foundations

CEOs making money from most to least

AID Atlanta (from 2014)
Jose Diaz—$166,000
No longer on staff
Requests for current info not returned

Jerusalem House
Charlie Frew—$110,343

Positive Impact Health Center
Larry Lehman—$110,000

Georgia Equality
Jeff Graham—$85,000

The Health Initiative
Linda Ellis—$70,000

Adolph Arromand—$63,000

Atlanta Pride (from 2013)
Buck Cooke—$67,000

Lost-N-Found Youth
Rick Westbrook—$50,000

Charis Circle
Elizabeth Anderson—$30,000

Out on Film
Jim Farmer—$15,000