On Sunday, August 5th, fifty-three people came to the commUnity center for Spencer Pride’s Annual General Meeting. The attendees included volunteers as well as individuals from the community who were interested in learning more about the organization’s achievements over the past year.
Lots of refreshments were provided, donated by volunteers & attendees. Four door prizes were drawn throughout the evening. Items included riverboat cruises, a framed print, & two gift baskets from Unity (the retail shop within the Spencer Pride commUnity center).
President Jonathan Balash kicked off the meeting & served as emcee throughout. Several members of the Board of Directors also presented, including Joy Hellman, Jacob Balash, Cathy Wyatt, Judi Epp, & Dana Beth Evans.
After the initial welcome, a special video was shown depicting the activities & events that volunteers participated over the last year. The nearly 5-minute video was set to the song This is Me from the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman. Throughout the video volunteers were shown holding signs that said ‘There’s a Place for Us,” which was a reference to one of the lyrics & served as the perfect tie-in to the general message that Spencer Pride is a place where everyone can feel accepted & celebrated, regardless of how they identify.
Once the video concluded & Kleenex was distributed to aid in the drying of many happy tears, the next item on the evening’s agenda was of a review of major 2018 accomplishments & financial results. This was provided by Jacob, Cathy, & Judi.
- The organization’s purchase of the Franklin Street building in October was the largest of the accomplishments, however, there were many others as well.
- Attendance at both the Pride Festival & LGBTQ+ History Month event were higher than ever. The participation of downtown businesses, in particular, skyrocketed 143% over last year.
- More than 10,500 volunteer hours were logged last year. Using the standard accounting method based on Indiana’s per-hour volunteer rate, this places a value of approximately $220,500 on these hours. 43 individuals volunteered with Spencer Pride for the first time this past year.
- The organization received considerable media attention this year. Front cover articles were featured in both the Spencer Evening World as well as the Bloomington Herald-Times. Significant emphasis was also placed on the organization’s inclusion in the annual Boston Pride Guide, which has tens of thousands of hard copies distributed throughout New England alongside hundreds of thousands of views online.
- Financially, the organization did quite well. Excluding the purchase of the building & associated improvements (all of which had not been a part of the original budget), the expenses were $443 more than planned & the income was $4,205 more than planned. Based upon what we had expected when the budget was approved last August, these numbers are fantastic.
- When including the purchase of the building, expenses were over the plan by $31,326 & the income was $23,155 more than planned. This excludes debt taken on due to the mortgage with OCSB & a note from an anonymous supporter. These will be amortized over the life of the loans.
- Although the purchase & investment in the building was not part of the original budget, it was a major accomplishment for the past year. The organization was able to make the investment (utilizing financing from Owen County State Bank) while still maintaining confidence in our ability to sustain ourselves. Almost $19,000 in Rainbow Capital Campaign funds were brought in to support the effort.
- FY2018 brought in more income from sponsorships, grants, & donations than any prior year.
- Two funds were created with the Owen County Community Foundation (one capital & one sustaining)
After reviewing 2018, elections took place for the addition of Joy Hellman to the Board of Directors and for the affirmation of the existing slate of Officers to continue for another year. The slate included Jonathan Balash as president, Katie Zuber as secretary, & Judi Epp as treasurer. All of the votes were unanimous in favor of these recommendations.
An overview of current & available leadership positions was provided by Dana Beth. The only current open position is the External Events Coordinator. This role will be responsible for the registration & planning for all events that Spencer Pride volunteers attend.
A newly created role, the Outreach Lead, has been filled by Cathy Wyatt. This role will manage how the organization engages & supports other organizations & events.
Next, the discussion focused on 2019 & beyond.
Jonathan discussed changes to the organization’s scope of work, noting that periodically it’s healthy to reevaluate how the organization spends its financial & volunteer resources. At the recent Strategic Planning Retreat, the Board made a few key decisions:
- Focusing on one annual event, the Spencer Pride Festival. This is the event Spencer Pride is most well-known for & it has the biggest impact on community engagement. ‘A Night at the Tivoli,’ the organization’s LGBTQ+ History Month film event, will no longer be a public event beginning in 2019. Instead, an appreciation event will be planned at the Tivoli Theatre for volunteers.
- Focusing on in-house educational opportunities, such as the recent Substance Abuse 101 training & the upcoming Intersex 101 class on October 15th. Spencer Pride will no longer offer diversity panels beginning in 2019. Similar panels are available locally from other organizations. Spencer Pride volunteers already participate in those other panels so it was get that we were offering something that wasn’t needed.
- Focusing on Iris, Spencer Pride’s youth group. Iris is an important part of our organization & will be further invested in to ensure that it continues to be a safe, celebratory place for our youth. The scholarship Spencer Pride has offered for the last 3 years will no longer be available beginning in 2019. Instead, those funds will be utilized to support the higher education pursuits of youth involved directly with Iris.
- Promote 50 from 50 campaign (more information about this campaign can be found on our website or by contacting Judi@SpencerPride.org.)
- Refine & Manage Outreach Strategy (this will be defined by the Board & managed by the new Outreach Lead)
- Invest in Volunteer Engagement & Development
- Be an LGBTQ+ Advocate
- Increase utilization of commUnity center
- Complete rehabilitation of commUnity center
- Cultivate financial sustainability
- Support local LGBTQ+ youth
Judi then presented the FY2019 budget, which included $95,549 in income & $78,215 in expenses. The budget was unanimously approved.
And finally, brief updates were given on festival committee opportunities and our upcoming LGBTQ+ History Month Activities.
The meeting concluded at 6:01 PM. Many individuals expressed positive feedback about the event, due to the transparency & depth of the information provided. Individuals were especially touched by the volunteer video.