ALSO Foundation honourary life member Jamie Gardiner believes the foundation can be “resuscitated” after last week’s announcement that it would be wound down to a ‘shelf’ company.
On September 4, a community forum on the organisation’s future were told there was just $45,000 left between the foundation and ALSO Care.
While ALSO Care will continue to run, the ALSO Foundation will cease trading as a business.
It will continue with a board of directors and other mandatory business requirements but it won’t actively be seeking or paying out funds.
“There is $45,000 left trading for both companies but that $45,000 is tied up in investments,” ALSO Foundation board member Wayne Elliott told the Star Observer.
Elliott said he was currently negotiating with the Australian Tax Office regarding a $40,000 debt.
He said the current board had decided to keep the foundation going until it has finished off its most recent project, the No To Homophobia campaign launched last month.
“In the past 12 months, we were at the point where we’ve nearly called the administrators in three times but we had to make some hard decisions and one of them was to move out of the City of Melbourne Bourke Street office,” he said.
Elliott also said he was upset the community was attacking the current board for mistakes made by former management.
“Back in the ‘90s when we had the dance parties, ALSO was funding [the warehouse parties] and the money wasn’t coming in, so they were running at loss,” he said.
“I’m not saying there’s been mismanagement, I just think there’s been poor accounting.
“Everyone is looking at the current situation now; these debts were [made] four or five years ago.”
He said former ALSO CEO Lyn Morgain leased a photocopier and purchased a vehicle worth $40,000 which still had an outstanding debt.
“It has never been driven, it has an outstanding debt of approximately $25,000,” he said.
He also criticised excessive staffing, saying it used to have 12-15 paid staff compared to just two part-time staff now.
“It upsets me that people are attacking an organisation based on the now factor instead of looking at the past,” he said.
Gardiner, who is also one of the foundation’s founding members, told the Star Observer the community should stop raking the organisation over the coals.
“If we stop raking over old wounds, it would be perfectly possible to build on that legacy and the good parts of that legacy, including projects like the No To Homophobia campaign,” he said.
“The extraordinary negativity of the past 18 months should simply be put to bed and concentrate on what we can create, not the mistakes that were made.
Gardiner said it had played a significant role in the community, having helped many LGBTI community organisations.
He said ALSO should be “resuscitated” since it would be easier than establishing an entirely new organisation.
Elliott said there would be more public meetings in the future so community members could decide the fate of both organisations.
The Star Observer contacted Lyn Morgain who declined to comment.
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