The board of the foundation resigned en mass in December; details are scarce

The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association is feigning ignorance in response to SFGN’s questions over the group’s foundation’s resignations in December.

“Really not much to report. A couple of the Foundation board members switched roles with IGLTA and are now serving on the association board instead starting in April,” said LoAnn Holden, media relations director for IGLTA. “Some of the others had completed two-year terms and moved on.”

Except that’s not that true.

Richard Gray, who sat on the foundation board last year who now sits on the IGLTA board said:

“I also sat on the IGLTA Foundation Board that resigned due to a different vision,” he said. Gray is also the Managing Director for the LGBT Market for the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

SFGN reached out to former President Jeff Guaracino, who confirmed he, along with others, did resign in December. Guaracino had nothing more to tell SFGN.

“I have no further comment at this time,” he wrote. When further questioned he wrote, “I am unable to comment.”

When SFGN questioned Holden specifically about Guaracino’s resignation, she said, “I'm not sure what your point of reference is, but Jeff moved on and we wish him well.”

SFGN also reached out to most of last year’s board for additional information.

“I was the on the IGLTA Foundation Board last year and resigned in December,” Brianna Murphy wrote. “Unfortunately I don’t have any further information or updates on the current status of the foundation.”

Murphy did not respond to a follow up email asking for additional details.

While Rebecca Rittgers added:

“I’m no longer associated with the IGLTA Foundation. As you are aware, the full inaugural board of the Foundation resigned as of December 31st, 2014. I did not come to this work from the travel side, but continue to believe strongly that the potential for cultural and economic empowerment that the travel industry represents can make a significant impact on the lives of LGBT people around the globe. I applaud the IGLTAF as it continues to pursue these important goals.”

The only other former board member who responded was Gregg Kaminsky of R Family Vacations. SFGN reached out to his business to find a direct contact for him. Kaminsky responded within three minutes with his email address. But when SFGN followed up with questions about the board resignations Kaminsky went silent and has not responded to follow up emails.

According to its website the foundation’s purpose is: “The IGLTA Foundation is the philanthropic organization of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, the leading member-based global organization dedicated to LGBT tourism. The Foundation supports the mission of IGLTA and its membership.”

Its priorities include three areas:

  1. Scholarships: In order to support the next generation of LGBT tourism leaders, the IGLTA Foundation will offer Annual Global Convention scholarships to expand educational opportunities for students in tourism/hospitality and small business owners in destinations that lack LGBT tourism support or have anti-gay governments.
  2. Emerging Destinations: The IGLTA Foundation subsidizes association memberships for small tourism businesses in emerging destinations that may not yet have full government assistance.
  3. Research: The IGLTA Foundation will gather global research and data on LGBT tourism habits to assist members with strategic planning.

SFGN examined the foundation’s most recent tax forms for a closer look into its activities.

In 2012 they brought in $307,529 and spent $90,625 with one-third of their expenses being “administrative.” In 2013 they brought in $254,033 and spent $127,586 with $47,245 being “administrative.” In 2013 the foundation did grant at least four scholarships for a total of $11,003.

The foundation’s new board includes Theresa Belpulsi, VP Destination DC; Selisse Berry, CEO and Founder Out & Equal; Reginald Charlot, VP of NYC & Company; Tanya Churchmuch, Founder of MuchPR; Terry Dale, President/CEO USTOA; Steven Eidelberg, Sr. Director Accor Hotel Group; Jonathan Frolich, VP Hyatt Corp; Vicky Garcia, COO & Co-Founder Cruise Planners; Rika Jean-Francois, Commissioner Corporate Social Responsibility ITB; Michael McDowell, VP LA Tourism & Convention Board; Gary Murakami, Director, Global Sales, MGM Resorts International; Tom Nichols, CFO Arcus Foundation; Greg Takahara, Sr. VP TripMate; Scott Seed, Director Universal Studios; John Tanzella, President/CEO IGLTA; and Tony Tenicela, Global Leader IBM.