Thursday, March 17, 2016

"Say It Ain't So, Joe, Say It Ain't So"

Shoeless Joe Jackson couldn't give the little boy the response he wanted to hear back in 1920, nor could Martha Harvey, executive director of the Hudson Pride Foundation, when Gossips asked--in different words but in the same spirit--about the news there would be no Pride Parade this year. Harvey's response came in the form of the following press release:  

In an effort to provide services and resources to the growing LGBTQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer) elder population in Columbia County, the Hudson Pride Foundation Board of Directors has announced a collaboration with the City of Hudson’s Office of the Aging Commissioner, Amanda Henry. Similarly, as part of this effort to support this population segment, the Foundation also announced its intent to partner with SAGE, the Service & Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders organization. It is the goal of HPF to become a SAGE Affiliate and join several dozen other active and vibrant nationwide affiliates.
The Foundation is quick to point out that its original mission–encouraging and supporting high school students in their efforts to achieve–will not change. HPF donates $4,000 annually to Columbia County students (four $1,000 scholarships awarded to freshman, sophomore, junior and senior students, respectively) and to date, the Foundation has awarded $18,000 in scholarships to those who have demonstrated a real commitment to promoting and supporting LGBTQ equal rights. Applications for scholarship for 2016 are due on June 1st and can be found online here.
Moving forward, the Foundation will continue to work with highly effective partners (including The Hetrick Martin Institute in Manhattan and the Pride Center Of The Capital Region in Albany) to broaden the reach into local schools to provide rich, in-depth LGBTQ Cultural Competency and Cultural Humility training for teachers and staff. 
Last week, the Foundation was honored for its good works at the Hudson Valley LGTBQ Community Center’s 2016 Gala. Accepting the award for the Foundation, Executive Director Martha Harvey said the group was honored to be recognized among the many LGBTQ organizations in area, noting that while HPF’s core mission has not changed, the overall strategy has matured and that continued community support, recognition and donations are vital to current and future operations. 
The Hudson Pride Foundation is run by a volunteer board. Its success depends entirely on generous donations made by local businesses and individuals. For the past six years, the Foundation has organized the annual Hudson Pride parade and festival (along with producing The Little Apple resource guide since 2012). While it looks forward to regrouping around these endeavors in the near future, board members say the Foundation is taking a break this year, as it needs an infusion of energy from new participants who wish to be shareholders in these events and activities. Those interested in volunteering time and skills for the ongoing Speaker Series, Educational Symposium and Elder Outreach should contact Martha Harvey,
Photo: Sarah Sterling


  1. Nice try with this B.S. press release, but the reality is that the Board of the Hudson Pride Foundation has spent the last year and who knows how much money on attorney fees all to throw Rich Volo aka Trixie Starr off the Board. Trixie was the inspiration, main organizer and fundraiser for all things Hudson Pride. While it took a great number of people to make it all work, it was Trixie that was the glue that held it all together.

    So what has the Board achieved by casting off Trixie? They have canceled the Hudson Pride Parade which notwithstanding Martha assertion, was the original mission of the people who came together at the start of Hudson Pride. Scholarships were an afterthought when Charlie Ferrusi and Tim Howard became world-wide news as Hudson High's Prom King and Queen. Ending the parade has eliminated the main fundraising event that funded scholarships, programs and the organization itself. How will the Hudson Pride Foundation sustain itself without fundraising? It won't.

    So while the Board tries to put a good spin on this, the reality is that they have viciously removed the only person that really was indispensable and destroyed the organization in doing so.

    Congratulations to the Board. You win, but Hudson loses.

  2. Victor, I'll leave it for my client to provide any details if they so choose (but they won't as there is a mutual gag agreement in place), but the tale you spin is just that -- a tale. There was nothing vicious about any of the actions of the HPF in Rich Volo leaving its Board, and you should be more careful with the words you choose to employ when describing an organization that enjoys a very good reputation in this City and County. You, of course, were not involved in the issue at all. At all, Victor, and your attempts at spinning a tale about what you know nothing about seems bizarre at best.

  3. John. Maybe HPF should file their missing 2015 financial disclosure, so everyone can see how much gag orders cost.

  4. A gag order costs what a gag order costs. Lawyers are expensive, Victor; that's not quite an epiphany.

  5. BOD's have to be able to work cohesively to be effective and get agendas accomplished.
    If an individual director becomes divisive to the Board to the point that removal is necessary through legal means in order for the BOD to be effective, why does that reflect badly on the Board? BOD's have a responsibility as do individual directors for preserving the foundation. Rich knew the financial cost to the foundation so it could easily be said he caused the foundation an undue financial burden.

  6. Perhaps it was the remaining board members (only four left) who were unable to work cohesively and be effective. Why is a once robust and diverse board now reduced to four people two of whom are a couple. Maybe it was them.

  7. Perhaps it was others on the Board, only time and the work going forward will tell. The important thing is the foundation, and that it can become more effective. Rich can be proud of his contributions and focus on making new inroads using his skills to create other beneficial organizations, and wish HPF good luck.

  8. Replies
    1. Me too. No reason to polish up the Gossips ear trumpet this year. Boo.

  9. It is just such a shame that the board didn't give the community a real accounting of what was going on and give others the opportunity to step in before taking such a drastic step. Many of us have a lot of time, money and energy invested in the Hudson Pride Foundation and the Hudson Pride Parade. This should have been a community discussion, not decided by four people (and their attorney) in a room.

  10. This is bitterswee news. I heard that there were problems on the board, but I didn't know the problems were sufficient to spin the HPF away from its mission.

    Last year I came out, and being able to march in my hometown's parade was singular in its meaning. It is sad that the members of the board weren't able to work through whatever conflicts they had, and self-destructed instead.

    It's bittersweet, because I am glad to see the Elders program.