Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 11 / 15 March 2018

Behan named Pride executive director

Brendan Behan (seen at left), who’s helped steer the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee out of its recent troubles, will become the group’s executive director, the organization announced today.

Behan, 30, has served as interim director since April, and this summer had indicated he would leave the nonprofit in December.

When Behan took his current Pride post this year, the committee was in the midst of steep financial and leadership woes. He said today that things have changed so much since then that Pride could be looking at its most financially successful year ever.

“After a tough year, I think we’re all extremely happy we’re in a place that at our most optimistic seemed like it was still a blue sky kind of vision,” Behan, who’s gay, said.

Despite Pride stabilizing since he took over, Behan’s future with the organization had been uncertain until now. He said in August that he had no plans to stay past December. However, weeks later, still refusing to say exactly what his intentions were, he said he and the board were discussing his status.

The Pride organization is responsible for one of the world’s largest LGBT events and has distributed almost $2 million to other Bay Area nonprofits over the years.

In October 2010, facing a pile of debt and complaints from community partners that they hadn’t received their fair share of proceeds from that June’s Pride events, former board President Mikayla Connell and Executive Director Amy Andre announced they were quitting the organization.

About three months later, in December, the city controller’s office revealed that Pride’s debt was $225,000.

Besides Connell, numerous other board members also left the nonprofit, but in recent months several others have joined. Behan said today that applications to join Pride’s governing panel are still welcome.

He estimated that for the fiscal year that ended this past September, there was at least $100,000 in surplus income.

“That makes it one of our best years, in terms of budget performance, and depending on when the books are closed, it could be perhaps the best,” he said.

Additionally, he said Pride has about $100,000 in unrestricted funds in the bank. As of September, the organization still owed about $26,000 to the Department of Public Works. Behan said today that would be paid off by next June.

The 2011-12 budget should be settled “within the next couple weeks,” Behan said.

Pride board Chair Lisa Williams said in a statement today, “During his time as the Interim Executive Director, Brendan proved his ability to lead and grow our organization by providing inspiring leadership, institutional knowledge, and the ability to fundraise. We’re excited to officially have him on board as the Executive Director, and look forward to working with him as we continue to adapt with our ever-evolving movement for rights, dignity, and equality for the LGBT community.”

Behan’s salary in his current post is $65,000. He wouldn’t say exactly what his new pay would be. He said it would be “modest,” and “much less” than the $105,000 that Andre had made.

Behan will officially assume the executive director’s position January 1, 2012.

Delayed decision

Pride’s board decided to retain Behan at their retreat November 19-20 at San Francisco’s Hotel Adagio. Behan couldn’t say what the vote tally was, since the matter was discussed in closed session.

Asked about whether his reluctance over the past few months to make a commitment was related to Pride’s future direction or how much he’d be paid, Behan said, “It was mostly about having the right kind of time to talk to the board about what it is that we all wanted to do.”

A particular concern was addressing recommendations the controller’s office had made when that agency revealed Pride’s debt last year. City officials urged Pride’s board to take more responsibility for the nonprofit’s health.

Behan said part of the process has been figuring out how to move day-to-day duties from board members back to staff, while determining how the board could do more fundraising. He said he and the board are working to lay out what specific goals would be in terms of bringing in money.

Years of work at Pride

Behan began working with Pride in 2006 as the organization’s administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator. He became deputy executive director in 2008.

In 2010, Behan left Pride, but it was only a short time before his return last April.

Out gay Supervisor Scott Wiener, who’d appeared surprised and displeased earlier this year when it looked like Behan might leave Pride, stated today, “Brendan has been instrumental in stabilizing Pride and moving it forward. Keeping Brendan is a very smart move by the Pride board.”

The 42nd annual Pride Parade and celebration, themed “Global Equality,” will be held June 23-24, 2012.

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— Seth Hemmelgarn, November 30, 2011 @ 7:27 pm PST
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