GFSA donated several flags to Melanie Nathan. They were never paid for the flags as they were donated free of charge for promotional and fundraising purposes. Here is my letter of clarity to answer any questions members of the community may have in this regard.
I have provided this letter to GFSA to be used if anyone questions their integrity with regard to my personal fundraising efforts, to which they have been completely uninvolved, other than to provide me with a few flags. Other than the fundraising efforts mentioned in my letter below, which were mine alone and had nothing to do with GFSA at all, all flags I received from GFSA’s Huge and Henry, were free and used to promote the visibility of the Flag in the U.S.A.
April 12, 2014.
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
Since 2011 it has been my great pleasure to advance and promote the good work of the Gay Flag of South Africa (GFSA), through my blogging, editorials, photo opportunities with activists and at events, also through gifting the flag for free to well known personalities, all in the U.S.A. I have never derived any financial benefits from these efforts.
During this time GFSA has provided me with free flags for this purpose.
I have no personal knowledge of the workings or running of the GFSA as an organization. I have believed in the value of the GFSA as a tool in promoting LGBTI equality and therefore supported their cause with my ability to promote the flag.
Other than flag sales, in respect of which I have no knowledge or participation, neither Eugene nor Henry, who run the GFSA organization, have received any monies from these activities of mine in the U.S.A.
When I visited South Africa in December 2013, I had a meeting with Eugene Brockman and Henry Bantjes at the Holiday INN, Sandton, where I had invited and introduced them to PJ Powers, my close friend of many years.
At that time Henry and Huge asked PJ for a photo opportunity with the flag, which I believe has since been used in social media to further advance the promo of the flag and the GFSA did a small promo in conjunction with tickets for PJ’s show. I have no direct knowledge other than what I saw I subsequent Facebook posts.
At that meeting, Eugene Brockman and Henry Bantjes provided me, in my individual capacity, with 4 Gay Flags of South Africa. I had asked for the flags for fund raising purposes to help LGBT asylum seekers through my personal fund raising efforts in the U.S.A. Eugene autographed 2 of the flags. The fund raising endeavor had no conditions attached and the understanding was that all monies raised would go to organizations of my choice, to include mostly my platform of supporting LGBTI refugees and asylum seekers.
When I returned to the U.S.A. the flags were used in 2 fundraisers both used to support the above mentioned cause:
1) Swirl Radio benefit: A contribution of $100 was made to my fund and a signed flag provided in a silent auction. Other than promotional write –up to GFSA no financial benefit was received at all for GFSA; and
2) Rescue Fund Indiegogo Campaign: I had Edie Windsor, the DOMA SCOTUS Plaintiff, a huge and famous hero amongst U.S.A. LGBTI community, autograph a flag to support LGBTI Africans in need. Edie , who came in third as Time Magazine Person of the year 2013, was delighted to lend her signature to the flag and pose with it for GFSA and to donate her signature unconditionally to the cause.
After I was contacted by scores of Ugandan LGBTI people who had to run into hiding, many ‘outed’ by Red Pepper, after Museveni signed the Anti-Homosexuality Act, I realized the urgent and immediate plight. I reached out to established USA organizations for help – none of whom had a legal mandate to provide cash to people in need. So I started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money. It was urgent. The Template of Indiegogo suggested gifts/prizes/incentives – very usual in such campaigns- and so I decided to use the flag signed by Edie, similar to a silent auction. I set a limit of $3,250 for the flag. A person donated $3,333 and won the flag. The same person offered to re-donate the flag to raise more money.
The campaign raised $14,025 in total. Except for Indiegogo, paypal and bank transfers service fees, the entire amount the entire amount of $14,025, which included the $3,333, was used to house, feed, provide medical and other benefits to LGBTI Africans who applied directly for help.
Absolutely no money at all went to GFSA or Melanie Nathan. Not even the cost of the flag was recouped by GFSA, as they donated it free of charge. Hence GFSA paid for the costs of the flags.
This letter has been written to clarify the following:
- GFSA received no financial benefit from this fundraiser – it cost them the price of the flag;
- The only beneficiaries were LGBTI in several African countries;
- The flag was donated to Melanie Nathan for fundraising purposes with no conditions whatsoever attached, and used accordingly, except for 2 flags remaining;
- People donating to the fund did not receive any tax donation benefits.
If anyone has any further questions they would be more than welcome to contact me.
SIGNED: MELANIE NATHAN
APRIL 12, 2014.