Health

New York AIDS Charity Spends More on Rent than HIV Services

| by Courtney Nunes

A major AIDS charity in New York raised $11.4 million in donations this year — but only $374,000 of these funds went toward helping HIV-positive New Yorkers.

According to a recent report from DNAinfo’s Michael Katz, the AIDS charity Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) will spend nearly 97 percent of these donations on administrative costs, including rent and other building expenses this year.

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While the non-profit organization will devote $374,000 to HIV-related services, it will spend nearly $4.6 million on rent.

The CEO of GMHC makes $435,000 per year, notes The Atlantic Wire. The communication department will cost $335,000, and the COO’s office will cost $293,000.

The majority of these funds come from private donations raised at the New York AIDS walk, an annual event which raises around $5.4 million each year.

According the Atlantic Wire, most of these donations come from people who expect their funding to go toward helping people with HIV and AIDS. But in reality, only a small percentage actually funds HIV services.

“When you donate to the AIDS Walk, you think that you’re funding meals, mental health, job training and legal services,” said one anonymous GMHC insider. “In fact, your donation is used to pay rent on empty space.”

The GMHC also expects to spend about $720,000 worth of donations on its finance department, notes Katz, and $500,000 on information systems.

By comparison, Katz reports:

GMHC will spend just $174,000 of its donations this year on its Volunteer, Work and Wellness Center and its popular meal program; $168,000 on influencing public policy; and $32,000 on compiling reports and statistics about people living with HIV and AIDS, documents show.

According to a longtime client of the organization who asked to be kept anonymous, this is a serious issue that needs to be changed.

“For someone who has done the AIDS Walk for years, it's just a disgrace,” said the client.

Sources: DNAinfo, The Atlantic Wire