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05 October 2010

Lifelong's Gay Bingo: Canceled

This just in...

Lifelong AIDS Alliance, who (via. Chicken Soup Brigade) started the Gay Bingo concept here in Seattle, are not planning to continue the event in 2011.

The event, Lifelong interim Executive Director Amanda Madorno tells me, netted "a little over $60k", and the board and staff after internal consideration have decided to focus on events with higher returns.

GLAMAZONIA hosts Come As Your Mother Gay Bingo in May 2007. Photo by Brian M. Westbrook /

The non-profit has begun notifying supporters, volunteers and sponsors via. email and phone calls today. An email to the database and official press release are forthcoming, Madorno says.

Regarding the future of "Gay Bingo" in Seattle, the organization has "a couple of ideas" and plans to "sit down and talk with people".

I'm told the decision was a financial one.

There is hope by the organization that a partner will carry on the tradition and the organization focused on helping those living with or affected by HIV/AIDS will remain a beneficiary.

You can find photos from previous events on my photo site:

What do you think of the organization's decision to cancel Gay Bingo? Are you disappointed? Will you miss the event? Would you like to see it restarted? Comment away!!

More information as the story develops....

Update @14:22: Just received this note from Maurice Jones, board president:

Dear Friends of Lifelong:

As a supporter of Lifelong AIDS Alliance, you know that for more than 27 years we've been making a significant difference in the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS. We hear daily from those we serve that our services are often the difference in their ability to stay well and receive care. In addition to our housing, insurance, and nutrition services, Lifelong brings hope and dignity to an otherwise vulnerable population.

This has been a year of transition and renewal for us. We've made key changes in staff leadership, increased enrollment in our insurance program by over 400 clients, reduced barriers to housing access, and lowered the number of individuals on our nutrition program waiting list by 100. Throughout, our top priority has been and remains fulfilling our mission to prevent the spread of HIV, as well as to provide practical support services and advocate for those whose lives are affected by AIDS. We have been blessed by the support of people like you - reflecting the impact HIV and AIDS has on so many lives here in our community.

We've also taken a strategic and practical look at how we continue to fulfill our mission in light of current economic realities. Like most nonprofits, we've felt the effects of decreased giving and continuing financial pressures. To ensure we continue to meet the needs of our clients and community, the Lifelong board and senior staff have spent the last three months conducting a strategic review of our programs, services and fundraising efforts.

As we prepare for a future both challenging and rewarding, we have reduced staff, implemented across the board cost-savings, streamlined services and looked at ways to strengthen our fundraising. Through this process, we have made the decision to no longer produce Gay Bingo. Although all of us will miss the fun and energy of Gay Bingo, we know this decision is best for Lifelong and the clients we serve.

The decision to no longer produce Gay Bingo was not easy. In fact, we searched for other alternatives but none made as much financial sense to the agency and our ability to serve our clients. All of us at Lifelong will miss the Gay Bingo events. After 17 years, the history of Gay Bingo and the enjoyment it has brought to so many will always be a part of Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

We bring renewed focus and resources to the fundraising activities that have the greatest financial impact for the clients we serve. We are optimistic and excited at the potential for success as we move ahead with plans for our second annual Community Breakfast in February, our very successful Dining Out for Life event in April, and the 25th Anniversary of the Seattle AIDS Walk & 5 K Run in September 2011.

As part of our Lifelong community, we wanted you to be among the first to know. You have played an important role in the work we do and the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS. We are deeply grateful for your past participation and support and hope that we can continue to count on you as a partner and supporter through these three key events as well as our many volunteer and giving opportunities.

Looking ahead, our goal is to continue - with your generosity and support - to serve the over 3,500 clients annually who depend on us not just for services, but for caring and hope.

Thank you for your joining with us,

Maurice James