Affirmations board passes $750K budget for 2020

Jason A. Michael

The Affirmations Board of Directors, with new interim president Cheryl Czach helming her first regular meeting Dec. 4, passed a proposed 2020 center budget. The budget, drafted by Executive Director Dave Garcia, showed an operating revenue next year of $750,000. Expenditures followed closely behind at $748,000. Still, it's a remarkable feat for the center which just last year looked on the brink of closure.
"I think the real story here is that when I arrived in late April, Affirmations didn't even have a budget," Garcia said. "At this exact time last year, Affirmations was heading to zero cash flow by the end of December. We are at $165,000 today and are projected to be over $180,000 by the end of the year in our checking, which is cash flow. We have approved a 2020 budget, actually on time, and have completed the 2018 audited financials on time. The 990 is on our website.
"In other words," Garcia continued, "we have stabilized financially and are behaving like a normal and healthy non-profit."
Garcia can claim much of the credit for this. From the moment his return was announced he has been a calming force in the face of the crisis, and his name and reputation helped him successfully secure some large donations and lead a solid fundraising campaign. In addition, he revamped the center's annual Fall Fling event and his efforts here brought back a nearly $50,000 return alone.
"You knew what you were getting into, for the most part, and you came anyway," Czach said to Garcia during the meeting. "I don't know if that makes you crazy or honorable. But I'm thankful you chose to do it."

Former Board President Thanks Directors for Efforts
The center's 2020 budget does not reflect any part of the recently announced partnership with Corktown Health Center to build a functioning clinic within Affirmations. Former Affirmations Board of Directors President Mike Flores, who stepped down from the board to take a position with Corktown to help lead the partnership, spoke at the meeting during public comment.
"It's a lot different being on this side and I'll be honest, it feels good," Flores started. "I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you. For what you may ask? For making me a better leader and person. All of you taught me to look beyond the numbers, to think deeper and to feel the community. Because of you I became more empathetic, more confident and more energized. I've never felt all of emotions all at once in the private sector," he said. "And for that, I thank you."
Flores also took a moment to speak on the Corktown partnership and what it signifies for the center's future.
"Between today and tomorrow the community will pick up its favorite paper and read the front page. 'Affirmations, Corktown Partner to Revolutionize LGBT Care.' A year ago, different adjectives and verbs were being used to describe Affirmations and its future. Tomorrow we will all read 'partnership,' 'revolutionary,' 'Affirmations' in the same sentence, inspiring our community. And for that you should all be extremely proud."
Also at the meeting, board member Anthony Sherman was elected to the position of vice president to fill the absence left by Czach's transition to interim president. Sherman started volunteering at Affirmations in 2016. In 2018, he joined the board and was given the Jan Stevenson Award for exemplary commitment to the mission of Affirmations.