Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) issues the following statement to set the record straight in response to the latest in a series of defamatory stories in DNAInfo.com, which include numerous inaccuracies and errors. We know that in a time of leadership transition we are vulnerable to the attacks of "anonymous sources" like those quoted in this week's story, and we hope that in future their motives are questioned and facts checked before false accusations are published.
FACT: GMHC is among the nation's most efficient non-profits, with 88 cents of every dollar supporting direct programming
Each year GMHC's finances are subject to an independent audit, which is posted on our website at www.gmhc.org/about-us/gmhc-financials.
For the recent year available, the GMHC expenses were approximately $25.2 million, with approximately $22.2 million dedicated to direct programming, as included in the GMHC consolidated financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2012, which was audited by our independent certified accountants, Grant Thornton LLP. This includes a significant portion of GMHC's space costs, standard accounting practice, because for an organization that provides direct, in-person services -- 90,000 annual meals, about 9,000 annual clients receiving testing, counseling, legal services and more -- our space is not overhead, it is a vital part of our programming. We can't serve food without a kitchen or dining area, or hold support groups without meeting rooms.
The DNAInfo story misunderstands or disregards standard accounting practice for any non-profit, by counting the entire cost of the space used for delivering service as overhead, assuming all overhead is taken out of private fundraising, and fabricating an absurd estimate of how much of our funding is spent on critical services.
FACT: The AIDS Walk is a vital fundraiser for GMHC and more than 40 other AIDS prevention organizations, without which it would be impossible to provide the counseling, testing, support, advocacy, meals and education that keep the fight against AIDS going.
The most recent Walk raised more than $5.6 million; of that, about $1.9 million pays for putting on the event itself, a number comparable to any other major walkathon. The net income to GMHC, about $3.7 million, covers a wide variety of programming and infrastructure. At GMHC, like all other funding, that means 88 cents of every dollar is supporting programming and services. Discouraging participation in AIDS Walk directly threatens the ability of all of these organizations to provide truly life-saving service every single day.
FACT: Even in 2013, the stigma against HIV/AIDS makes it nearly impossible to find suitable, affordable choices for the space that GMHC needs to serve our community.
Facing a near doubling in rent and untenable lease situation, GMHC performed a comprehensive search for alternative space. After being rejected by more than three dozen landlords, we accepted space that was not ideal but met our needs, and would allow for growth. The impact of this situation has been wildly exaggerated by DNAInfo. It is true that the space is not fully utilized at this point. We do expect to grow into it, and we are also actively pursuing a more sustainable long-term solution. While we hope to achieve some savings, the impact would only be a small fraction of overall occupancy costs and is inconsistent with the conclusions DNAInfo has drawn. To put it in perspective, the current rent exceeds the rent at our previous location by less than ten percent, and is less than the anticipated increase would have been at our previous location.