Major AIDS Charity Allegedly Spends More on Rent Than Actual Charity

This article is from the archive of our partner .

This year, the organization known as the Gay Men's Health Crisis is expected to rake in $11.4 million in donations thanks in large part to the New York AIDS Walk. Unfortunately, only $374,000 —around 3 percent — goes to HIV-positive and at-risk people. Most of the money, some $4.6 million will go toward rent, according to a report from DNAinfo.

"Nearly 97 percent of the small, private donations GMHC receives will go toward administrative costs, including paying the nonprofit's $389,000-per-month rent for its largely empty office on the West Side, " DNAinfo's Mathew Katz reports, citing internal documents and multiple sources within the organization. In short, the organization spends more money on rent for an empty office in one month than it spends all year on its AIDS programs. 

Katz's report also shows that the GMHC's CEO makes $435,000 — that's around $50,000 more than what goes to AIDS programs and policies.

The annual AIDS Walk is (was?) one of New York City's most respected, celebrity-studded, and publicized charity events, raising around $5 million each year. The reason people participate and donors chip in is that they think that their money will help people with AIDS and HIV. That doesn't really seem like the case if 97 percent of that money is going toward rents, administrative issues, and a CEO who makes more than what's spent on the organization's AIDS programs. Here's how that $374,000 breaks down, according to Katz: 

By comparison, 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.

And it gets more depressing:

A large donate button on the organization's website also claims that 88 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to services and programs. The actual number is closer to 3 cents of every dollar, according to records.

In addition to this mess, the GMHC actually ran a deficit in 2012, reporting six-figure losses. Back in September, the organization's Chief Financial Officer told Crain's that they have some $6 million in cash reserve and that it had no intention of cutting back its AIDS programs. Little did we know, that when you're spending that little, keeping up those services isn't very hard to do. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.