FCPC Merger

Joint Resolution to consolidate First City Network, Savannah Pride, Jeffrey’s Place, and the Savannah LGBT Center to form the First City Pride Center.

Whereas it is the responsibility of the First City Network board, the Savannah Pride board, Jeffrey’s Place leadership and the Savannah LGBT Center committee to solicit donors, it is proposed that a merger will provide financial efficiency and confidence.  This will eliminate conflict between the organizations and eliminate confusion to the limited donor pool of Savannah. By formalizing the Cooperation of the organizations, it will provide better transparency to the community which will allow the merged organization to better raise funds and minimize cost associated with raising funds and day to day operations.  Our main goal is the sustainability of the organizations and the ability to hire a full-time director which will even further broaden our ability to obtain funding for services to our community . 

Whereas it is the responsibility of the First City Network board, the Savannah Pride board, Jeffrey’s Place leadership and the Savannah LGBT Center committee to provide their followers with a certain experience, it is proposed that this merger will not change that experience and only expand these experiences.  By not changing these experiences donors, members, followers, and constituents will gain confidence in the decision to merge. Changes to the existing organizations will be re-branding of the Savannah LGBT Center to the First City Pride Center, modifications of individual bylaws and the formation of a new 501c3.  At some time in the future it may be advantageous to allow for individual 501c3 designations to expire.

Center Board

Board Appointments:

  • Positions (3 year terms) – to be voted on by the First City Pride Center Board.
  • Co-Chair (FCN) – suggested Chris Apple
  • Co-Chair (Pride) – suggested Dusty Church
  • President (FCN) – suggested Jon Kesler
  • Vice President (FCN) – suggested Sean Brandon
  • Treasurer (Pride) – suggested Deena Cattanach
  • Secretary (Pride) – suggested Manu Bansal
  • (Interim) Executive Director – suggested Billy Wooten

FAQ for Merger Decision

Q. Why are the Savannah LGBT Center, Jeffrey’s Place, Savannah Pride, and First City Network merging now?

A. Our individual successes have shined a light on the increasing need of many in our community. These needs, however, require more significant resources than these organizations can currently meet. As a unified force, we are able to decrease costs, improve fundraising, and maximize the value of our volunteers and service providers to the community. Moving forward, this merger is necessary to grow and expand critical services needed for our community. 

Q. Don’t the Savannah LGBT Center, Jeffrey’s Place, Savannah Pride, and First City Network already work together?

A. Yes. We’ve been working together since the Savannah LGBT Center was born! This partnership has been tremendously helpful in identifying the limitations of such an arrangement while building bonds that have made us more committed than ever to our collective efforts. By working together, we can more effectively execute comprehensive fundraising plans to fund complex and costly ongoing services, and we will be in the best position going forward to plot an aggressive course for the future that responds to the needs of our community, creating meaningful change in the lives of those we serve.

Q. Is this merger really necessary?

A. When the Savannah LGBT Center began raising funds behind the support of the community, we found incredible strength in our collective partnership. In the years since opening, our overlapping interests have created competition for limited resources. Additionally, we recognize that we are often duplicating activities, unnecessarily increasing costs. Combining forces provides the most effective opportunity to meet the needs of those in our community.   

Q. What happens if we don’t merge?

A. Each organization will continue as currently operating, working together but operating apart. This likely means an inability to grow and expand services, and may risk the long term financial health of all the organizations. 

Q. Why do we need a paid Executive Director for the Center?

A. In order to provide consistency and stability to the services currently offered at the Savannah LGBT Center, and to open up the availability of grant funding which may expand services at the Center, a paid Executive Director is necessary. Most large grants will not fund all-volunteer organizations, and the complexity of fulfilling many grant requirements requires a full time paid employee. This investment in our future is intended to provide additional funds for services that far exceed the cost of the Executive Director’s employment.

Q. What will happen to FCN / Savannah Pride / Jeffrey’s Place with the merger?

A. Each organization will come together under the new board and become a committee of the new board.  At that time each will suspend its operations as an independent organization. The FCN, Pride, and Jeffrey’s Place committees will act in much the same manner as the individual organizations act today when facing the community.

Q. What will happen to the Savannah LGBT Center with the merger?

A. The Savannah LGBT Center will be rebranded as the First City Pride Center. The newly elected Board will determine needs for further committees to manage the growing services of the Center.  

Q. Why is Co-Branding necessary?

A. In any marriage you have to decide what to call yourselves. Does one take the name of the other or do you hyphenate? We felt the best way to demonstrate the unified vision of the three organizations was to include each in the name. 

Q. How will FCN Committee members be selected?

A. Until Jan. 1, the current FCN Board will operate according to its bylaws.  After Jan. 1 the FCN committee members and officers will be elected in the same fashion as the FCN board previously did. There is no conflict of interest in Center board members or FCN committee members serving on multiple committees because we’re all working together!

Q. How will the Pride Committee members be selected?

A. Until Jan. 1 the current Pride Board will operate according to its bylaws.  After Jan. 1 the Director of Pride will be appointed as the Chair of the Pride committee by the FCPC Board in the same fashion as the Pride board previously did. The Director of Pride will be responsible for recruiting and staffing the Pride Committee to ensure the right mix of capability and capacity to successfully plan and execute the Pride Festival and other Pride events. There is no conflict of interest in Center board members or FCN committee members serving on multiple committees because we’re all working together!

Q. How will the First City Pride Center Board members be selected?

A. The FCPC will establish a Nominating Committee to ensure continuity of its own board. This is a very typical approach used by many non-profit organizations. The Nominating Committee will define a detailed candidate identification and vetting process before recommending specific candidates to the board for consideration to fill openings as they occur. The vetting processes typically used by non-profit board Nominating Committees includes criteria that support sustainability from a fundraising perspective that are balanced by the need to ensure that the board has a diversity profile that is aligned with the community that they serve.

Q. What happens to the FCN Socials?

A. FCN will continue the Socials as it always has.

Q. What happens to the FCN Oyster Roast?

A. FCN will continue the Oyster Roast as it always has.

Q. What happens to the Pride Events?

A. Pride events will continue as they always have.

Q. What happens to Jeffrey’s Place Events and Activities?

A. Jeffrey’s Place events and activities will continue as they always have.

Q. How will my membership be affected?

A. The First City Pride Center will offer memberships in a manner similar to the way that the FCN does today. All FCN Memberships will be converted to an FCPC Membership. All current FCN Members will retain the membership benefits and privileges as they do today. All FCPC Members will be entitled to membership benefits and privileges for all programming offered by FCN, Pride, Jeffrey’s Place, or the Center going forward.

Q. What about the FCN Newsletter?

A. It will largely stay the same.  We will keep the name and plan to expand distribution via mail, email, website, and Facebook.  Also, we plan to expand content and paid advertising.

Q. FCN signed the lease and all contracts for the center, how will this be affected?

A. These will stay in effect until Jan 1. During the transition the new board will work to get them moved into the First City Pride Center’s name.

Q. What representation will each group have on the First City Pride Center Board?

A. The Executive Director of Pride, the Chair of FCN, and the Chair of Jeffrey’s Place will each have an equal Board Director seat on the First City Pride Board.  Also, the remaining Executive slots will be filled equally with Pride and FCN board members.

Q. What will happen to other groups FCN is a fiscal sponsor for?

A. These sponsorships will stay the same until Jan 1.  In the meantime, the new Board will work with Attorneys and Accountants to map out the most advantageous way to continue these relationships.  We foresee no change in the way these are handled.

Q. Have the boards of FCN and Pride voted to move forward with the merger?

A. Yes.  The FCN Board unanimously passed the vote at its meeting on August 5th and the Pride Board unanimously passed it at its meeting August 12th.

Q. Has Jeffrey’s Place leadership decided to move forward with the merger?

A. Yes. Jeffrey’s Place leadership notified the Savannah LGBT Center Director of their intent to join the First City Pride Center upon it’s formation as a committee. This decision was confirmed by the FCN Board Chair on August 21st. The FCN and Pride Boards were notified of this decision on August 22nd.