PTS’s new treasurer, Julien Geremie, is excited about bringing in new donors for the organization.
“I feel very proud, and I hope it’s going to be a new turn for the organization in terms of healthy finances,” Geremie says, speaking to Xtra after the PTS 2013 December board meeting. “That’s what matters to me and to us on the board of directors — that we keep the organization steady and moving forward.”
Geremie became a member of PTS’s new board of directors during the October annual general meeting and took over as treasurer two months later when former treasurer Donald McGibbon resigned because of health reasons. In the coming months, Geremie plans to work to secure new funding.
“We are very thankful to the City of Ottawa for being such a good funder to us, but we’d like to diversify our portfolio as well,” he says. “It’s normal for any not-for-profit or charity to have a diversity of funders. The reason behind that is if one of the funders retracts any time in the future, we don’t want to be left alone and have no money to continue.”
Geremie grew up in France and has lived in several Canadian provinces, including BC and Quebec. He moved to Ottawa approximately four years ago, and although volunteering is not new to him, last year he started researching queer organizations because he hadn’t yet begun volunteering for a dedicated LGBT organization in the city.
“I was looking for an organization to support in the city that was for the LGBT community, and I found PTS was doing a tremendous job,” Geremie says. “PTS is the oldest charity, not just in Ottawa, but in Canada, to serve the LGBT community, and as such it has a very important role to play in Ottawa.”
Geremie, who works in the co-op sector, says the skills he uses in his day job will serve him well as PTS’s treasurer. “My training, my education, was in political science, so I’m good at politics but also in social enterprise and not-for-profit and co-op development . . . I think my expertise is definitely in terms of business planning, budgeting and creating new partnerships.”
Beyond the financial side of PTS, he’s invested in the organization’s core services and the resources it provides to the community. He’s an out gay man whose coming out three years ago was a positive experience, but he knows that isn’t the case for everyone. “I read a lot of news about young people who are banned by their parents from their house because they’re from the LGBT community,” he says.
In addition to providing peer support and resources to queer and trans youth and adults, PTS also plays an important role in making sure the wider Ottawa community is aware of the challenges and contributions of the LGBT community, Geremie says.
“I notice there’s still a lot of work to be done to make people aware that we do exist, we are part of this community,” he says. “We’re not always hidden anymore. We’re here, we’re loud, proud, and I just want to make sure our contribution is acknowledged and recognized.”