After folks like Michael Petrelis began hissing about Iraqi LGBT’s closed-door accounting policies, the London-based Iraq aid group is finally opening up its books. What’s inside?
Iraqi LGBT, which offers counseling, shelter, and other services to gay Iraq refugees, solicits donations from the public. And since the org is engaged in good things — that few other outfits are doing — for a demographic that’s being actively targeted by militias, it would be nonsense not to support such a charity.
But it also makes sense to demand to know where all of Iraqi LGBT’s cash is going. Having only recently begun the process of registered as a formal charity in Britain, Iraqi LGBT hasn’t been legally required to disclose finances. Now, it’s doing so voluntarily. Or at least under pressure from critics.
According to its own just-published books, the organization collected just over £60,000 in donations for the 2009 year, through May. Amazingly, Iraqi LGBT also spent all but £15; the cash “was sent to the Middle East to provide ‘safe houses’ in Iraq and Syria,” reports UK Gay News. (It runs two safe houses in Syria and one in Iraq.)
Also notable: Operating expenses ran at only nine percent, an amazingly small figure for any non-profit of any size.
So where’s the money coming from? There was £24,773 from individual donations, plus £11,236 from Chicag’s Heartland Alliance and £24,313 from the Dutch human rights group Hivos.
Is it enough to satisfy folks like Petrelis? Maybe. He has yet to post a response to the new data. But we’re pleased to see the cash going into Iraqi LGBT is, almost in its entirety, going directly to aid refugees. No black tie galas. No fancy stationary. Just on-the-ground trench work.