Main | Thursday, June 28, 2012

Bronx LGBT Center To Close

After its former head was arrested earlier this week for swindling hundreds of thousands of dollars, today we learn that the Bronx LGBT Center will be closing.
After more than two years of scrambling to fill the budget gap caused by the missing funds, the center’s board of directors decided last week to shut down the 16-year-old agency, which serves up to 1,000 clients a month, said Antonio Centeno Jr., the board chairman who joined the group months after Winters left. “I’ve been trying to find money to keep salaries paid, to pay for the programs,” Centeno, 35, said Wednesday. “So even though I never met [Winters], I do feel betrayed.” The board said in a statement that it would work to arrange for other organizations to provide its clients with the services it had offered from its Longwood center, such as HIV testing and counseling, sexuality support groups and case management.

Centeno said that in January 2010 the board asked Winters to leave after whistleblowers said she had acted inappropriately, which in turn sparked an inquiry by the city’s Department of Investigation. After she left, the board reduced the number of staff and tried other measures to slash costs and lower the agency’s debt, Centeno said. They also pressed donors for money, but found that under Winters’ tenure the center had developed scant name recognition, according to Centeno. “When you approach potential donors and they say, ‘What is Bronx Pride?’ that’s not a good thing,” Centeno said

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