The 519 Church Street Community Centre will announce the details of the Will Munro trust fund in the next several months, the executive director of the centre told Xtra at The 519’s annual general meeting on Sept 27.
“It will certainly be for community benefit going forward,” Maura Lawless says, adding that it will be exciting to share the details soon.
The fund, named after artist and community organizer Munro (who died in May 2010), will support community members. A committee made up of Munro’s family members and friends will finalize the terms and conditions of the trust fund, according to Lawless.
The 519 is carrying a $19,000 deficit from 2013, a result of setting money aside from the operating budget for the Munro trust fund, keeping a staff member on for Pride House without funding, and some other investments. In the case of Pride House, the decision was made to keep a staffer on while they applied for grant funds, which they have subsequently received to the tune of about $1 million.
When the depreciation of some of their capital assets is also included, the deficit works out to $94,824 — a slight improvement from 2012, where the deficit was $97,786.
The overall yearly budget for The 519 is approximately $4.5 million. A complete overview of The 519’s financials can be found in the annual report.
However, The 519 has seen an increase in revenues thanks to diversifying its funding streams. Funding from the City of Toronto, which once made up 75 percent of total revenue, now only accounts for 25 percent, due to an increase in donations, special projects and grants to The 519. Tyler Fleming, the chair of the board of directors, says that the centre has raised $3.53 for every dollar of city funding.
One of The 519’s most successful ventures has been the Green Space parties during Pride Week, which take place in the adjoining Barbara Hall Park. In 2013, the parties generated $756,250 in revenue. During WorldPride, Fleming says, the Green Space raised a record $550,000 in net proceeds.
The 519’s board of directors also got a shake-up at the AGM: treasurer Stephen Menon lost an election for a vacant board seat to Wesley Watson.
Watson, who works for TD Canada Trust and came to Canada four years ago as a refugee claimant from Jamaica, says he ran because he wanted to ensure that a voice for newcomers to Canada and the African-Caribbean community was on the board. “Hopefully, now a lot more will be heard from us,” he said, adding that a big issue for him will be promoting settlement services and health issues, especially for immigrants who may be HIV-positive.
In an attempt to improve the diversity of the board, The 519 is still seeking trans- and female-identified candidates for two unfilled positions and will be recruiting candidates throughout October. Fleming says that improving the diversity of the board is also a long-term target for The 519.