Rochester’s Out Alliance discontinuing operations, cites pandemic for economic difficulties

Community

Viewers watch the Dykes That Ride motorcycle riders go past to start the 45th annual Seattle Pride Parade Sunday, June 30, 2019, in Seattle. The parade commemorated both the first “gay liberation week” in 1974 and the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising, a police raid that sparked the modern-day gay rights movement. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester’s Out Alliance, an organization advocating for Rochester’s LGBTQ+ community for decades, is discontinuing its operations, citing the pandemic and its subsequent economic challenges as the primary factor in the decision.

A statement posted Friday on the Out Alliance website reads:

“On behalf of the Out Alliance Board of Directors, we would first like to deeply apologize to our phenomenal staff and our community, volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders for not communicating sooner. For that, we are truly sorry.

We love our beautiful, diverse, and passionate community, we are members of it. And we love and believe in the mission of the organization. That is why many of us became board members, to begin with.

We recognize the anger, pain, and frustration this delayed communication has caused. Our response to the community’s questions about the agency’s status is not due to a lack of transparency. We have a legal responsibility to maintain confidentiality to protect staff and the Out Alliance. We care enough about the Center to not jeopardize its future.

The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the agency’s already delicate financial position and halted its ability to generate any upward momentum. Specifically, the shutdown orders required the cancelation of key fundraisers (including our cornerstone annual fundraiser, the 2020 Pride Festival) and the cessation of our education and programming. Further, the vulnerable state of the economy caused a significant reduction in donations. All of these factors combined to bring our revenue to a grinding halt. Given the current financial situation, the Board has made the difficult but necessary decision to discontinue the agency’s operations. Now we embark on the arduous task of crafting an organization where everyone buys into a more active and purposeful role in building a diverse organization. We hope that this cessation in our services will be temporary and that, after reassessing and restructuring the organization, we will resume our vital mission, stronger than ever.

Next Steps:
We hear you. We recognize the Out Alliance is near and dear to all of us. It is OUR (community, board, and staff) center. And we are committed to moving forward in partnership with our community. We will share more next week.

We thank our staff and our community, volunteers, donors, and other stakeholders for your passion, commitment, and love of the Out Alliance. You have not only been there for us in the past but even now, you continue to support us by offering to be a part of that journey.

We will continue to be a beacon of hope for the Rochester LGBTQ+ community and know that now, more than ever, we must work together.

In Solidarity,

The Out Alliance Board of Directors”

The organization has been advocating for Rochester’s LGBTQ+ community for decades, with its origins tracing back to 1973.

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.

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