Thursday, September 06, 2007

It's all about the Benjamins, baby!!

2007 has been a year that I demanded of myself to be more excited about empowerment opportunites as well as further understanding the cause and affects of being more financially fluent. Earlier this year I posted various segments about the impact of those disposable dollars from the coffers of "guppies" ( gay-urban professionals), local entreprenuers, businesses and the importance of the money muscle or lack thereof within the GLBTQ community. In April, this forum particpated in the Business Afterhours Project networking event that was designed to offer a neutral zone for anyone to showcase their product or service. However, to my chagrin and somewhat disappointment, only a tea cup of folks showed up despite aggressive marketing. Even though I was not the orginator of the event, It was difficult to gauge the interest or necessity of having such an a event. Although the idea was revelant, additional host couldn't be coaxed into participating. I know for a fact that there are many GLBT businesses in this city and wealth abounds in some quarters, but making the connection can be vexying to say the least. Furthermore, I've addressed the issue of the onslaught of local benefits including their transparency, ranging from AIDS related platforms to performers in search of pageant support. It's no secret that local organizations are constantly in search of funding sources, either near finance meltdown or only "breaking even" such as the Annual DSRA Rodeo. As I understand this group is considering holding the event bi-annually in order to stay solvent as production cost continue to rise yearly. Afterall, some folks are asking will $10 "well drinks" during pageantry events be the order of day to sponsor this activity? Speaking of money, I wanted to add a "donation" button to this forum to create a funding source, but have opted to try to seek other possible options. Nationally sources have estimated the buying power of the GLBT community in the millions as evident with the more recent direct marketing from corporate entites to SGL individuals. Even though we have a sector of highly paid professionals in this city and statewide. Most comprise of those working stiffs (including myself) with marginally disposable incomes that simply can't afford to give signifcant gifts or often participate accross the board. Of course, Wal Mart's contribution to the NWA community center and funds sought from other corporate citizens in regards to Pride activities raised some ire from the college set during this years' Queer Conference in Conway. A few participants went as far as floating the premise about being seen in a "sell out" mode to the behemoth or any fortune 500 when it comes to contributions. Ultimately Ladies and Gentlemen, all of these levels of discussion intersect at the following questions: How many benefits can this community support ? What is the impact of those dollars on local businesses?...and Where are the future dollars to come from? Well it sound like to me, it's all about the Benjamins, baby.
Links and Hook-ups:
If I could transmit one message to the LGBT community for 2007, it would be this: Give Strategically. Don't simply donate to the organization that has the swankiest party or the slickest fundraising team. It doesn't matter whether you have $5 or $500 to give. Think long and hard about what goals in the LGBT movement are most important to you, and give to organizations that are moving those goals forward.
Inspired by the Gill Foundation's Outgiving program Juan Ahonen-Jover and his partner Ken Ahonen-Jover have created a new website to help you do exactly that. is based around a core set of eight goals for the LGBT Community. Visitors to the site can identify candidates, campaigns, and organizations that are working on the goals that are most important to them, and focus their donations accordingly. plans to continually evaluate candidates campaigns, and organizations based on what work they are doing to significantly move these goals forward. This information is made available through regular e-mail alerts.
Thes site has an impressive list of National Advisory Board Members including Kathy Levinson, Donna Redwing, and Jim Stork.

Be sure to check out the site at

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