A financial crisis at YouthPride has put the nonprofit agency that serves LGBT youth at risk of closing, the executive director said late Thursday.
“Donations are not coming at a pace we would like. We have bills to be paid. We’ve experienced this year to year,” said Terence McPhaul, executive director of YouthPride.
And if tens of thousands of dollars aren’t raised, the agency that has served LGBT youth since 1995 may shut its doors in 60-90 days. YouthPride offers a range of services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth ages 13-24 in the metro Atlanta area.
“We are certainly in a crisis. The money has to be raised … or we may be forced to close our doors,” McPhaul said.
An earlier version of this story said the agency would close by the end of the year, however that is incorrect. McPhaul gave a timeline of 60-90 days.
How much money needs to be raised won’t be released until Friday, he said. McPhaul did say he wished for $50,000.
“It’s been tougher this year than any other year,” he said.
All YouthPride services are free and the agency has 160 volunteers, McPhaul said.
YouthPride currently pays $50,000 a year in rent at its 4,100 square-foot Inman Park location on Edgewood Avenue, McPhaul said.
“We pay a lot of money in rent. We offer a lot of programs and need the space to do that … but we need something affordable. This is similar to what Outwrite is going through,” he said.
Outwrite Bookstore & Coffeehouse announced last month that it was being forced to relocate from its longtime location at 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue in Midtown because of high rent.
McPhaul said YouthPride has been trying to get multi-year grants to pay for some of its services that it provides for free, such as mental health services and HIV testing.
“Some of our services aren’t covered yet. Like our HIV testing. And we test hundreds of people a year,” he said.
A fundraising letter on the YouthPride website’s home page states:
• Counseling, psycho-education and/or suicide prevention services are delivered to 300 youth annually.
• The agency receives 5,800 visits per year.
• YouthPride operates a 24/7 helpline that receives 1,000 calls per year.
• Individual, group, couples and family counseling provided by licensed professional counselors.
• More than two dozen suicides prevented last year.
• Weekly discussion forums includes groups for youth who are transgender, male, female, people of color, teen and young adult.
YouthPride implemented cost-cutting measures in 2009, including reducing staff, and those cuts were able to help keep the agency afloat until now, McPhaul said.
“The down economy caught up with us in 2009 and as donations continue to go down we are struggling. Things are certainly catching up to us like they are for every other nonprofit,” he added.
Check back Friday for more details on this story.
Here is a video outlining some of the services the agency offers:
Top photo: Terence McPhaul, executive director of YouthPride, says the agency may be forced to close if several thousand dollars are not raised by the end of the year. (Photo via YouTube)