Friends of Lulu Responds
I guess asking questions in public does work! In response to my earlier posting about how Friends of Lulu hadn’t answered my followup questions about their Empowerment Fund, I got an email from the current president of the group, Shannon Crane. Please note that she again didn’t actually answer my second round of questions (about their timeline for wrapping this up and their 501(c)(3) status), but we do get more information about the beleaguered project. Here’s some excerpts:
We did offer a refund last year to those who donated, as we were given misleading information regarding our purpose with this program.
So if you gave them money, get it back. At least, I’m assuming that the refund offer is still open.
Ronee Bourgeois suggested to our entire board that we start an empowerment fund. We agreed that yes, it would be a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, instead of being patient to let the ENTIRE board come up with guidelines, rules, etc, she announced the new fund to the comics community without the board’s consent. We found ourselves between a rock and a hard place. We did what we could to make it work, and now we find that this is not something that we will pursue any longer.
That’s a terrible situation to be put in, and I sympathize with them in having to deal with a loose cannon. Is that a formal announcement of the project’s closure? If so, where are the remaining funds, and what’s their plan to give them back? “Ask us for a refund” puts the impetus on the wrong people, in my opinion. It’s unfortunate that they have to deal with someone else’s mess, but it was their name on the project, wrongly used or not, and a public disavowal is necessary, in my opinion.
Ms. Carlson, when you contacted us you gave us no context of what your purpose was for asking your questions. I’ve never heard of Comics Worth Reading, and I’m sure you understand with the convention season, our upcoming awards, the new anthology (which is finished and awaiting printing), membership drive planning, the board of directors’ real-life full-time jobs, and the fact that we run this organization on a complete volunteer basis, that we can’t get to every query ASAP. Patience is a virtue.
I don’t think waiting two weeks is being particularly impatient, especially when I was responding to her response, but I can understand the feeling. (This made me smile: At least I know the tendency is shared, since I got her email last night, couldn’t answer because I was packing to travel, and then I woke up to find it had been posted as a comment, which is why I’m comfortable reprinting it here.)
I think many people know my credentials in this area — I was an early member of FOL, within two years of its founding, and active in the NY chapter (back when there were four chapters, instead of the only remaining NY one). I also served briefly as a board member of the group during my second go at membership, although I’m ashamed to admit I didn’t do anything during that time. That’s why I still care, although I’m no longer a member.
I’d also like to know why this year-old “controversy” has been the focus for so many people regarding Friends of Lulu. We are a 12 year old organization with a history of doing great things. How about focusing on the many things we get right? Maybe you could talk about our new anthology. It’s called The Girls’ Guide to Guy Stuff and will be released prior to San Diego Comicon.
Oh, I don’t think they’d like it if I talked about their anthology, since I think it’s a terrible idea for a theme. I leave it up to my readers to inform them as to why this matters — I’m rushed out the door, since my ride to the con is here. My short version would be because the wrong thing happened, and I haven’t seen much evidence of hard work to put it right. Plus, losing charitable funds is a very bad thing, and when money’s involved, it all matters more.
I look forward to meeting Ms. Crane at the NY Con and talking with her further on the subject.