The ALSO Foundation board has played down fears the GLBTI community organisation may be in serious financial trouble.
The Foundation posted a $139,732 loss for the financial year ending June 30, leaving the organisation $34,683 in the red as it heads into its 30th year.

ALSO Foundation president Jason Rostant told Southern Star the results were a symptom of the global financial downturn and said the organisation was still in good shape.

“It’s not been a particularly unusual year in the life of ALSO in the sense that we have peaks and troughs from year to year,” Rostant said.

“The feedback we’ve had from our auditors is the organisation, comparatively, has done exceptionally well, when other organisations have done badly and in some cases folded.”

ALSO treasurer Gerard Brody handed down the sobering financial report at last Thursday’s Annual General Meeting, showing a financial loss over four times higher than the $33,057 deficit recorded in 2008.

While income dropped around $20,000 this year, expenditure increased by around $86,000.

“The board knows deficits like this are unsustainable,” Brody told the meeting.

The board said the loss was due to an increase in staffing costs at the ALSO charity shop in Smith Street, old debt write-offs, discontinued Subaru funding and office moving costs, among others.

Rostant said cost-cutting measures had been assessed throughout the year and the option to cut staff wages was rejected.

“We made a very conscious decision [in relation to wage cuts], while it’s a difficult year… that people are our most important resource. If we want to be able to do what we’re doing, our decision was we needed to hold on to those people and weather the storm.”
ALSO’s financial troubles, however, may impact on the number of community events the organisation can support.

“We’ll continue to have involvement in the festival calendar, but the extent to which we’re able to do that may be a little restricted,” Rostant said.

The ALSO Foundation’s current financial predicament raises the question of its long-term viability without core government funding.
ALSOCare, a separate, charitable arm of the organisation — although making ground on its Members Resolution Fund — also took a hit, ending the 2008/2009 financial year $149,854 worse off.

Past ALSO project collaborator Kylie Smith was named interim CEO with the departure of Lyn Morgain last week.

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