On June 14 Qmunity held its annual general meeting, with 13 voting members in attendance — the same figure as last year. The meeting, held at the Junction Pub on Davie St, included the election of officers as well as three bylaw changes.
The first bylaw, which was a topic of discussion at last year’s AGM, officially changed the name of the organization from the Pacific Foundation for Advancement of Minority Equality to Qmunity.
The board believes that the old name, which doesn’t include any specific reference to the gay community, no longer reflects the community it serves. It was time to bring the name of the organization “out of the closet,” says board chair Craig Maynard.
“When you wrote a cheque or were issued a tax receipt or whatever, you didn’t disclose you were donating to a queer charity,” he says. “Times have changed, and the reason to hide behind that name seems not as relevant.”
The old name, adds Maynard, creates a barrier for people wishing to donate to Qmunity.
“When people go online to find our name or try to determine how to donate to us it becomes problematic,” he says. “People look to Qmunity or the former name, The Centre, and are not able to find us. It makes it difficult for people to find us if they want to donate or sponsor us.”
According to the financial statements submitted by board treasurer Andrew Black, Qmunity strengthened its financial position in 2010, ending the year with a surplus of $39,000, up from $17,000 the previous year. Black noted increased revenues from both private and public sources, including an additional $27,000 from the provincial government and $5,000 from private donations.
“In 2009, the organization introduced cost-management processes in response to the recession,” wrote Black in his report. “The processes remained in place in 2010 and resulted in expenses remaining relatively consistent with the prior year. Some expense increase occurred in advertising and promotion as a result of the Pride House events which occurred during the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.”
The surplus 2010 funds were used to restore staff levels to pre-recession levels and to improve programming in education and outreach, Gab Youth and the Generations project.
Also on the table was the issue of gender requirements for board members. The existing bylaws reserved four board positions for men, four for women and two for transgender people. Two additional positions had no gender requirements. The board felt these rules, initially implemented to ensure gender equality on the board, no longer reflect the diversity of the community.
“The board currently thinks that gender designation for board members, by holding these three types of identifications, doesn’t deal with the multitude of gender identities coming out today, so that makes it problematic in and of itself,” says Maynard.
The board structure was further altered when the co-chair positions were eliminated and replaced with a chair and vice-chair position.
“The reason behind this is that, in my practice or experience the past 10 to 15 years, it generally works out that one person tends to be chair anyways,” says Maynard. “The co-chair sort of takes a backup role.”
Maynard is retiring from the board after 15 years of service, and the other co-chair, Renate Aebi, is stepping down after two years of service.
The new board includes Andrew Black, who was elected at last year’s AGM; Philip Webb, Beverly Pomeroy and Jeffery Preiss, who were appointed in 2011; Simone Longpré, who was appointed in 2011; and David Hannigan, who is a new addition.