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To anyone who donated to the Women's March on Portland

Funds donated to WMP have not been received by the organizers.
MESSAGE FROM MARGARET JACOBSEN:

I was one of the lead organizers for the Women's March on Washington: Portland (aka the Women's March on Portland, "WMP"). We sought a fiscal sponsor for the event. Rebekah Brewis, the Executive Director of Portland Trans Pride ("PTP"), agreed to have PTP serve as the fiscal sponsor. Our plan was to raise funds for the march that took place in Portland on January 21, 2017.

We did not have a written agreement with PTP, but we expected it would receive some portion of the funds raised for acting as our sponsor. People who advanced funds for expenses for the event were to be reimbursed. If there were additional funds left over we hoped to apply those to other events down the road. Both PTP and WMP represented on their Facebook pages and in communications with the public that funds that were donated would be earmarked for WMP.

People could contribute in a variety of ways. They could donate goods or services. They could buy t-shirts and a portion of the proceeds would go to WMP. Purchases were made through PTP's PayPal account. Or, they could donate directly to WMP via PTP's Pay Pal account. Expenses would be paid or reimbursed out of those funds. Some were reimbursed during the planning stages of the event.

The event was very successful and we raised more than we expected! We raised approximately $22,000 from t-shirt sales. We do not know how much was raised from direct donations because we do not have access to those records.

After the event was over we contacted Ms. Brewis to discuss the need for additional reimbursements and how to handle the remaining funds. At that time Ms. Brewis said it was her intention to keep all of the funds for PTP, which was never agreed to. She then stopped communicating with us about this issue. We learned shortly thereafter that while she indicated on her application to the DOJ that PTP had three board members, two of them had stopped being associated with PTP approximately 6 months before she applied for her non-profit status and the event itself. Stephanie Anderson, who is listed as a Board member on the application for non-profit status, said that she had been told by Ms. Brewis she was "kicked off" the Board back in June, 2016. According to Ms. Anderson, the other Board Member was Ms. Brewis' girlfriend, and following a break up she too had been disassociated from PTP for some time.

We attempted to reach out to Ms. Brewis multiple times to follow up on her intentions. We also wanted to ensure that those who donated received the proper documentation regarding their donations, regardless of which organization received the funds. We had an attorney attempt to reach her via telephone, email, Facebook, and fist class and certified mail. All of these efforts were unsuccessful.

Late yesterday we saw that Ms. Brewis had posted that she was leaving the United States for Canada. To our knowledge, PTP has not been dissolved as a non-profit is required to do.

We are very concerned for the people who donated in good faith to WMP. We want to ensure that their donations are recognized. We are also concerned that Ms. Brewis appears to have misrepresented the legitimacy of her organization to WMP, and as a result is personally benefiting from the funds that were intended to go to either WMP or PTP.

PayPal has a 45 day period in which people can contest charges to their accounts. We want to make sure that those individuals who donated directly to Pay Pal can do so in the time they have.

There are a number of documents to support this complaint. I am sending them via separate email to Linda Vazquez at her email address. If you have any questions or need any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sincerely,
Margaret Jacobsen

I Have Seen This Exact-Same Disaster 10 Times 25.Feb.2017 11:12

blues

I need to know people at least a year before I really trust them with money. Less importantly, it really helps to have good friends who are good at "reading" people. If I was going to collect significant donations I would set up a nonprofit corporation to do that. It doesn't need to be tax exempt, and IRS and state tax exemption entails a lot of regulations with potential penalties. If I expected to have wealthy donors who could "write off" donations on their taxes (non-wealthies can't do write-offs), or if I had taxable assets, I would set up an identical parallel corporation and apply for tax exemption for the second one (legal costs might be cheaper for a two-fer). It shouldn't be too expensive.

I would write articles of incorporation that granted control to a self perpetuating board of directors (depending on state law, a small group of "members" might have to be stipulated in the articles of incorporation to be "ex officio" directors). This would keep things simple. I would go for maybe five to fifteen of these directors. Power would be vested in the board, not in the president. These would certainly have to be widely known and deeply trusted people! Corporations could open checking accounts that require two director's signatures. This would go far to prevent embezzlement.

No, I am not a lawyer. (Only for "educational purposes" obviously.)

official statement from Greater Portland Trans Unity 25.Feb.2017 14:54

trans

To whom it may concern, regarding PDX Trans Pride:

We are a multiracial coalition of trans and queer organizers and community advocates making a public statement in support of the organizers of the Portland Women's March, concerning PDX Trans Pride and its director, Katt (Rebekah) Brewis. Ms. Brewis has a long history of contentious and harmful interactions with individuals and organizations in our communities, including (most recently) racist attacks on other activists at Trans Day of Remembrance in November 2016 and the Portland Women's March in January 2017. As we've witnessed her organization gaining prominence over the past year, we have become increasingly concerned.

As connected individuals and organizational leaders, we have for several years held a quiet consensus that PDX Trans Pride, represented by Ms. Brewis, is not a safe advocate or representative of our communities. Some of us have sought accountability with Ms. Brewis in the past, and most have severed personal and organizational ties with PDX Trans Pride. Based on her history of dominating collective processes, co-opting the work of others, legally and personally threatening other organizations and organizational leaders, and (most recently) using her organization's nonprofit status to appropriate donations intended for another organization, we are now urging our community partners and allies to avoid any negotiation or partnership with Ms. Brewis or PDX Trans Pride. Moreover, we would urge you to not uplift PDX Trans Pride as a representative voice for transgender and gender nonconforming people or our communities in greater Portland.

We do not take this decision lightly, especially because Ms. Brewis is still a member of our community. As a transgender woman, she is subject to multiple forms of violence and marginalization, and is extremely vulnerable to ostracization. However, her actions and statements before the Women's March were already an issue of community safety. Her actions around the Women's March, particularly her statements accusing activists of color of transmisogyny, require public pushback, especially from white trans community members.

Ms. Brewis has a pattern of targeting activists of color, bullying, harassing, and pushing them out of community spaces. By claiming transmisogyny, Ms. Brewis is deflecting accountability for her own actions, and weaponizing white supremacy in a way that splinters our communities even further. As people who are all marginalized and endangered in the United States, we are actively concerned with the actions of any individual who seeks to deepen the rifts between us for personal gain. We refute Ms. Brewis' accusations of transmisogyny as justification of her decisions around the Women's March. As trans and gender-non-conforming activists and community members, we are in solidarity with the organizers of the Women's March and look forward to building stronger ties with each other as we all continue our work.

Thank you for your time. If you have questions or concerns, please be advised that this matter is under investigation by the Department of Justice.

Sincerely,

Q Center
Greater Portland Trans Unity
Sankofa Collective Northwest
Devon Rose Davis
Omer Elad
Lyles McFarland
Christopher Massman
Phyllicia Daria McGowan
Athen O'Shea
Debra Porta
Erica Wegener
Madeleine Wegener