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|YouthPride leadership remains a puzzle one year later|
|by Dyana Bagby|
|December 27, 2012 11:39|
The call went out in January 2012 that if YouthPride did not raise some $40,000, the youth LGBT nonprofit would be forced to close its doors. After the public plea for funds, it was discovered YouthPride did not have a five-member board of directors in violation of its bylaws and that a full board had not met since December 2010.
Now, a year later, the agency is once again sending out fundraising emails — the most recent, sent Dec. 21, has the subject line “Acceptance is a Precious Gift” — but leaders still refuse to grant interviews and either can’t or won’t list a five-member board.
After YouthPride Executive Director Terence McPhaul made a public plea for funds in early 2012, an independent task force volunteered time to investigate the financial and leadership struggles of YouthPride and determined the agency was deep in debt and faced possible state and federal fines for not filing tax forms on time.
No known official action has been taken against the agency although United Way withheld designated donor funds for two weeks in April while it investigated donor complaints.
YouthPride was forced to move from its location on Edgewood Avenue after its landlord, Inman Park United Methodist Church, sued to have the organization evicted for not paying rent for more than a year. YouthPride paid $28,000 as part of its settlement with the church and moved out on June 1. The organization reopened in the Ashview Heights area of Atlanta on June 21.
McPhaul has also sought millions in a string of personal civil lawsuits not related to YouthPride, including lawsuits against former employers AID Atlanta and the National AIDS Education & Services for Minorities.
McPhaul has repeatedly denied requests for interviews about the current status of YouthPride.
Board still unclear
The organization currently only has three board members listed on its website — Theresa Willis, Tracee McDaniel and Jordan Myers. Recently, an ad on YouthPride's website stated it is seeking a YouthPride YouthBoard member — bylaws require a youth serve on the organization's board of directors.
A post on its website also states YouthPride had 4,126 visits during 2012 and that “22 suicides have been prevented.” The agency lists a schedule of drop-in hours and weekly discussion groups.
YouthPride did not have a booth at this year's Atlanta Pride fest in October but members were invited to walk with PFLAG Atlanta. McPhaul made a public appearance at the Nov. 20 Transgender Day of Remembrance, but after the ceremony again refused an interview request.
GA Voice recently sent an email to board members and McPhaul seeking information about what services YouthPride currently provides, whether the agency’s paperwork is up to date with the IRS and Georgia Secretary of State, how YouthPride documents that it prevented 22 suicides, and the agency’s funding sources.
The email from GA Voice received no response.
Public records show that YouthPride's last corporate filing with the Georgia Secretary of State was in April 2012. It still shows the agency's address as 1017 Edgewood Ave. and that officers are CEO Jordan Myers, CFO Jamie Ensley and Secretary Brandon Oldham.
Ensley and Oldham have stated to GA Voice they have not been part of YouthPride for several years.
The most recent federal 990 tax forms to the IRS filed are from 2009, according to Guidestar, an organization that gathers and publicizes information about nonprofits.
Interview promised — in February
McPhaul has deferred recent interview requests to Theresa Willis, now the board chair. GA Voice was able to reach Willis by phone. “YouthPride is doing just fine,” she said.
When asked who are the current board members, Willis said, “I cannot give you all those names.”
When asked about filing of tax records, she said, “I can't tell you any of that right now.”
Willis did state she did not want to be misquoted. She said her husband is a lawyer and, “I will take it farther if I have to.”
She added that YouthPride leaders would give an interview in February, after the holidays.
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