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.