New Life

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This year's Leadership Recognition dinner, another annual fundraising event, which was held in October in honor of Julian Rush, fell $15,000 short of its projected goal of $50,000. Because of that, CAP is postponing the start dates for three employees who were to have begun their new jobs in December.

Despite these losses, CAP's total revenues have stayed about the same, because its government grants increased from $1,271,637 in fiscal year 1997-1998 to $1,522,633 in fiscal year 1999-2000. But because donations haven't grown at the rate of government support, CAP is having to do more with roughly the same amount of money; the number of clients has grown from 1,400 in 1997 to 1,550 this year.

In the 1998-1999 fiscal year, CAP spent $70,592 on counseling services for its clients; in the 2000-2001 fiscal year, the organization spent $91,150. The nonprofit spent $504,420 on housing services in 1998-1999 and $897,000 in 2000-2001. It doled out $494,423 in emergency financial assistance (things like phone, utilities and rent for clients who couldn't pay their bills) in 1998-1999 and $786,531 in 2000-2001.

To balance its budget, CAP has had to lay off employees and cut programs. Last year the organization had a staff of fifty and eliminated four positions; it also froze pay raises. Instead of doing the same this year, CAP laid off an additional three people. "People are fighting a tough battle, and they need to be compensated," Maloney says.

With those staff positions also went some longtime services. The Buddy Program, in which volunteers provided clients with emotional support and help with daily activities, was eliminated this year. "That was one of CAP's first programs, so it was really devastating to lose that," Maloney says. "But it didn't serve as many people as some of our other programs, so it wasn't as cost-effective."

The intensive case-manager position was also cut. That person worked one-on-one with about twenty people who were not HIV-positive but who were considered at high risk of getting the disease; the case manager helped them understand how their behavior was dangerous and how to prevent infection. The money from that position was then shifted to the speakers' bureau, which had been unstaffed for more than a year because of a lack of funding. The person in charge of the bureau arranges for clients to speak at schools and other venues about HIV prevention. CAP chose to reallocate the money because the speakers' bureau affects more people, Maloney says.

Former CAP grant writer Mauro says the agency wouldn't have to cut services if it wasn't so top-heavy. More than half of CAP's 2000 budget was spent on salaries and benefits; the next biggest expenditure -- $916,000 -- was for client services, and the rest was spent on contracted services, advertising and overhead. "It's a bureaucracy run wild," Mauro says. "The cynical donor might say, 'Why should I give to an agency that's self-perpetuating?'"

Mauro doesn't understand why the public-affairs department spends more than the development department --$259,285 versus $229,136 -- which is directly in charge of bringing donations into the organization. "If you're talking about needing to raise more money but you're spending it at the rate your money-earners are, there's something wrong.

"By the mid-1990s, a lot of the stigma [around AIDS] disappeared. Tom Hanks had done Philadelphia. People were wearing red ribbons all over the place. AIDS patients were no longer the pariahs they were a decade ago. So why the need to spin?" he asks.

But Maloney defends CAP's expenditures, saying, "Public affairs has a major role in bringing money in. I agree with the way the organization is structured."

Mauro also has concerns about the way Cornerstone, CAP's individual donor program, has been managed. "It has floundered, and there are a lot of questions about what happened to that," he says.

Maloney admits that the attention paid to donors has waned in recent years. People who gave more than $250 a year used to receive thank-you notes as well as invitations to donor-appreciation events. "We did go through a period in the last few years where it wasn't as active as it could have been," she says. "Maybe thank-yous and reminders didn't get sent out. One of the mistakes we've made is not thanking people enough. We've had a lot of people who stuck it out with us through thick and thin and probably didn't know why they stood by us. I don't think they know the difference they've made for us. We're planning on redeveloping and reintroducing Cornerstone. It's one of our main projects this year."

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Julie Jargon
Contact: Julie Jargon

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