In mid-July members of the Galano Board were invited by the Odd Fellows to attend a meeting at the Helping Hand Home for Children in Hyde Park. The Helping Hand Home is one of many local charities that the Odd Fellows have funded with generous gifts. They have made a commitment to give the Helping Hand Home at least $12,000 each year as a sustaining gift.
The Galano Board was invited to this donation ceremony by the Odd Fellows because they value our contributions to their mission. It is because Galano leases their old Lodge that they are able to make these sustaining contributions to local charities. Our tenancy and our mission supports their mission—both monetarily and philosophically.
While I posed with the Odd Fellows behind the “big cheque” that was being ceremonially given to the Helping Hand Home for Children, it occurred to me how our relationship is mutually beneficial—and how your basket donations make a virtuous circle within our community.
First, let’s review the relationship of the individual groups and members within the Galano Club:
Each 12-Step recovery group that meets at Galano pays (donates) rent for the meeting room. When you attend a meeting and put two or three dollars in the donation basket, a portion of that money is paid to Galano as rent for the meeting room.
Galano’s other revenue stream is from monthly or annual dues paid by Galano members. These are tax-deductible sustaining contributions made by members who want to ensure that there is a safe place for the GLBTQ (and our straight allies) community to attend 12-Step meetings and socialize in a sober environment.
So… Galano collects a portion of the basket donations as rent from each individual group, and Galano collects dues from sustaining members. Then Galano pays bills to keep the Club running. Our largest bill every month is the rent we pay to the Odd Fellows.
Who are the Odd Fellows? The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF remains prominently on the Guadalupe Street side of the building) is an international fraternal organization whose purpose is to “Visit the sick, relieve the distressed, bury the dead and educate the orphan.” The Odd Fellows are also known as the “Triple Link Fraternity” which represents “Friendship, Love and Truth.” This theme can be seen in the chain links that decorate our entrance gate and the memorial cornerstone.
Before the social safety net of LBJ’s Great Society initiatives, the only funding for old-folks homes, hospitals, and orphanages was from charitable organizations. In the first two centuries of the United States, men’s clubs and fraternal orders provided amusement, collegiality, and—most importantly—funding to provide services for society’s most vulnerable. The Lion’s Club, Rotary, Elks Lodge, Masons, Shriners, and the Odd Fellows raised money and built America’s hospitals and orphanages. In the 21st century these fraternal organizations are less prevalent; however, they still enjoy a modest membership—and they continue to do good works in their local communities.
Our chapter of the Odd Fellows, Capital Lodge #23
, no longer required their large and well-appointed hall, and four years ago they made the decision to lease it—and the Austin Galano Club became their tenants. (They still meet at the Lodge on Tuesdays, and they retain a warren of offices in the corner of the building.) Because of the rental income they now derive from their valuable asset, they are able to continue to make generous contributions to local charities.
And this brings us to why I was standing with the Odd Fellows giving a $12,000 dollar cheque to the Helping Hand Home for Children. The Odd Fellows value us—and our mission—and our relationship helps them to fulfill their mission. As I was standing with the Odd Fellows, I marveled at the virtuous circle that our basket donations and dues make:
Money is put in the basket at the individual 12-Step groups that meet at Galano.
A portion of that money is donated to Galano as rent for the meeting room.
That money is combined with dues and donations from Galano sustaining members.
Galano cuts a cheque to the Odd Fellows every month for rent.
The Odd Fellows then gives their money to local charities that benefit all of us, if only indirectly. I helped give our money to the Helping Hand Home for Children—an orphanage at 38th and Avenue B that provides the most vulnerable kids in Austin a safe place to grow up.
And throughout this virtuous circle of giving, none of the money is going into anyone’s pocket as salary. The Galano Board is completely volunteer, as is the Odd Fellows. (And because the Odd Fellows is a non-profit organization, and Galano is also a non-profit organization, our building remains exempt from property taxes.) Your donations are flowing back into our community dollar for dollar.
We’ve adopted a new payment provider to help manage your membership and donations very easy! Existing memberships in PayPal will continue in PayPal.
Membership in Austin Galano Club is encouraged for recovering individuals who utilize the facilities, and who want to make sure we provide a safe environment for GLBTQ&A populations to recover in the future. Signing up is easy and will only take a moment. The effects of signing up will last a lifetime. Although membership is not required to attend any 12-step meeting occurring at the facility, your support is needed! Meeting rent covers only a portion of the costs of the facility.
Why become a member?
- You get a voice on club governance. They can elect board members and vote in membership meetings.
- You help pay for club events.
- Your donations and dues are tax deductible.
- You help promise a home for GLBTQ&A 12-Step Recovery in Austin for future generations.
Over the last 3+ years, the Austin Galano Club has grown significantly in the groups it serves. Not just in the number of groups served (23 currently), but in the types of anonymous fellowships (there are now 13 different ones), demographics, special interests (women only, Atheist/Freethinker, Business Owner’s), etc. Our aim at the very start was to create a home where it was easy and safe for new groups to get started, where “old” groups could find a home among a larger community of recovery, and where the burden of managing the facility did not rest with the groups, but on those interested members who chose to do so. As such, the Austin Galano Club, it’s board, and it’s supporting members are always trying to improve, and we are always looking for ways that we can better serve the groups, the community, and the members of the groups who call Austin Galano Club home.
In accordance with Tradition Six of Alcoholics Anonymous (and extensible to other 12-Step fellowships) a group can bind itself to no one, and cannot be affiliated or lend its name to another entity. A group can, it says, cooperate and have relationships with anyone, which they do often, without endorsing or implying affiliation. The Austin Galano Club respects this line, and we are careful about the level of service we provide and our whole relationship with groups, so that we do not cross this line, fuzzy as it may be.
In an effort to provide greater opportunity for groups to keep their members informed, the Austin Galano Club at the last Group Rep meeting introduced the idea of providing each group a space on the Galano website. The response was overwhelmingly positive, so we moved ahead with it. As a result, we have made each group the author of their own page and will list/publish each group’s page at their discretion. Check one out here.
Keep an eye on the Groups menu for new groups as they come up, and be sure to explore the variety of fellowship that is waiting here for you at Austin Galano Club.
We are humbled and grateful for what has become.
PS – please sign up for a shift at the coffee bar. 😉
Group Balances (those not listed have a $0 balance)
Each group, per the 7th tradition of AA (foundation for all 12-step fellowships), is fully self supporting declining outside contributions. As such, the GSO states that each group should “pay a fair rent” for meeting space. The Austin Galano Club handles the accounting for several groups that use the facility and provide on a regular basis the group’s balance. It is then the group’s responsibility to request from the Galano Treasurer the disbursement of those funds in excess of the “rent due” for distribution up to regional and national service offices. Although we are not at quarter end, I have posted the current balances for the groups (year to date).
If your group has a positive balance, your treasurer and group conscience will want to discuss how to distribute those funds (per each group’s individual by laws). if your group has a negative balance, then a conversation may be in order to determine how best to increase donations to the basket.
Our mission at Austin Galano Club is to serve GLBTQ and Allies in Recovery. In pursuit of that mission, Austin Galano Club keeps “rents” as low as possible by relying on a diversity of income to help create a sustainable venue, and help provide an environment for groups to form, flourish, and support their respective regional/national service offices. Membership, donations at the coffee bar, other donations/gifts, all help keep the burden of supporting the facility off the groups so they can keep their focus on their respective primary purpose.
Austin Galano Club is a 501(C)3 Non-Profit. We have no employees, so all donations and gifts go toward operations and serving our mission. Even the rent we pay goes to a generous non-profit who then donates those proceeds to other area non-profits. It’s a great circle of life and we are part of something very wonderful.
Thank each and every one of you for your continued support, energy, time, money, and love. It takes all of us.
Come join the ONE-YEAR CELEBRATION that
we’ve all made possible by suiting up and showing
up. This outstanding recovery family continues to
work, sweat, laugh, cry, fundraise and create. We’ll
have a short membership meeting, eat and
Become One with the Mosaic!
RSVP and SIGN UP for the
POTLUCK at the COFFEE
PS…Don’t be afraid of a little
water and having a lot of
PSS…The MOSIAC will
be made of 5×7 canvas
tiles for you to paint and
decorate and when they
BECOME ONE will commemorate our 1st