Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Wingspan President Denies Organization Closing

Posted By on Wed, Jun 25, 2014 at 3:01 PM

Yesterday, the Tucson Weekly was told that Wingspan, Tucson's 25-year-old LGBT community center and advocacy organization, was possibly closing, its executive director terminated and that employees were told yesterday that their jobs are ending July 31 due to the continued loss of grants and other funding.

However, Paul Guerrero, Wingspan board of directors, denied that current Wingspan employees were told they were losing their jobs. In fact, he said, the organization is working to prevent that from happening and to partner with other organizations to help the agency continue its programs, like Eon Youth, Anti-Violence Prevention and Senior Pride. The Wingspan board, he said, plans to send out a formal press release tomorrow.

Guerrero confirmed that Wingspan Executive Director Carol Grimsby was terminated on June 16th due to lack of funding, and added that this is a very difficult time right now for the board and remaining staff.

Other sources close to the Weekly said a plan was in the works for the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation to take on Eon Youth and the Anti-Violence Prevention projects. But Guerrero said no such decision has been made, but that the board has been reaching out to other organizations, what he described as partners and collaborators, to help determine what happens to the organization and its programs.

The organization's lease ends July 31. According to one source, the organization can no longer afford to remain in its current space. Guerrero said there will be a move, but the board doesn't know right now what that will look like. He said Grimsby was terminated because her position is unfunded without needed donations coming into the agency; and its overhead is higher than its current level of funding. Some grants, he said, are terminated, while others continue.

The current board has spent the past week studying what to do next and has fielded dozens of phone calls from community members concerned about the organization's future. Guerrero said he anticipates the board will have a better idea of what happens next for Wingspan by next week.

The Weekly will report more updates as they are available and more in next week's issue.

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