Originally published: Feb. 20, 2014, 12:57 p.m.
Updated: Feb. 20, 2014, 1:05 p.m.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Facing the threat of closure, leaders of the LGBT Community Center of Charlotte said they were looking toward the future and continued fundraising efforts at their first public board meeting on Wednesday.
“There’s been a lot of talk about us closing,” said Roberta Dunn, chair of the center’s board, “but our rent is good this month and our rent is good next month. … We’re going to keep going and going. I think we are going to be successful and we will be here for years and years to come.”
The message on Wednesday balanced the dire news announced earlier this month, when center leaders said they had just $6,000 on hand and could close at the end of February. It takes about $7,000 each month for the center to operate. Monthly expenses include about $3,500 in rent, salary for one employee and other operational needs.
A fundraiser on Feb. 8 raised an additional $2,417, about $1,000 less than was initially reported. Center Operations Director Glenn Griffin said 82 people attended the event, where 16 memberships and sponsorships were sold, accounting for nearly half of the money raised that evening.
Another fundraiser is scheduled for next Thursday, Feb. 27. The center hopes its “A Scandalous Affair” — a viewing party for the popular ABC TV series “Scandal” — will raise additional funds to keep the center open. Newly-installed board member Ranzeno Frazier said he hopes to raise $5,000 from the event. Admission to the event is $10, with VIP seating available at various sponsorship levels. Doors open at 9:30 p.m.
Board members did not disclose how much funding the group currently has available, but did say it has applied for several grants and is currently working on three others.
The board also voted unanimously to move forward with changes to the group’s bylaws. The group will give members voting rights at an annual meeting, at which several nominees will be voted for election to the board. Center leaders also voted on a process to engage several community members and leaders to provide feedback and a review of the pending bylaws changes before being adopted.
“I’m all in favor of and recommend we change our bylaws and have members vote for the board of trustees,” Dunn said when introducing the proposal. “There has to be a lot of thought put into it. We want the community to come in and meet with us and provide feedback. … We want to get this right and get it right the first time. Let’s really listen and work together to get this done right.”
A meeting for feedback from community members will be held in early March. Attendance is open only to those invited by the board.
The center’s first open board meeting on Wednesday was held in response to community calls for greater transparency and accountability. Those concerns were addressed at a town hall in December and another this month, planned in response to several commentaries from this writer at his personal blog in November. Those concerns have been cited by some as a reason for dwindling financial support of the organization.
About five community members attended the open board meeting. One spoke during the open comment period, with suggestions and ideas for improving the center’s physical space and activities.
In other news, former board member Patrice Shannon has resigned. Earlier this month, Shannon had threatened to sue an online critic who was providing feedback about the center’s struggles.