National Gay & Lesbian Task Force Deputy Executive Director of External Relations, Russell Roybal, confirmed this afternoon that the not-for-profit organization will quit hosting the New York, Los Angeles and Seattle Leadership Awards.  The award ceremonies have been a major fundraiser for the organization since 1990.

“The Leadership Awards will still take place in some form in DC next year and Miami later this year.  The reason we decided to cancel those [NY, LA & Seattle] is because they weren't performing at the level we needed them to.” Roybal said.  “There was a high cost per dollar rate and in this economy it was getting worse rather than better.  Instead of trying to go forward with them, and lose more money by not selling enough tickets or sponsorships, we've decided to retool and rethink.  We'd even changed the format of the NY and DC events this year into cocktail parties instead of dinners to save money and lower expenses.  Even though we did okay in terms of our revenue, they weren't where we needed them to be,” he said.

The Task Force has laid off two operations staffers already and Roybal is hopeful the cost-cutting measures will stave off any further staff reductions.  “We're trying to make sure this doesn't happen which is why we're looking at cutting costs.  We've also not filled positions that have gone vacant; we're operating with less staff than a year ago.  We're going through all of our expenses with a fine tooth comb to make sure we're saving money wherever possible.  We're also looking at where we can be smarter about how we raise money.  The reason is so it's not always about cutting, but how can we raise more in this economy by doing both.  In this economy you can't do what you always did – you have to be more innovative.”

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