Chris Cognetta

Youth First Texas board chair Chris Cognetta has called a special meeting of the board for Thursday, Jan. 17 “to consider and act on the resolution to reorganize the Youth First Texas Board of Directors (including removal of all current members of the Board of Directors).”

“It’s time for new leadership to take on the challenges of the next decade,” Cognetta said.

A year ago, a number of YFT directors either rolled off the board or were not re-elected because the remaining members felt the organization needed a more active, working board.

One of the remaining board members, Jeremy Liebbe, expressed concern recently that financial entries were not being kept up to date. He said he pulled some reports off the computer in December and there had been no updates since October.

Liebbe’s term ended in December and he was not re-elected for the current year.

A number of community leaders reportedly expressed their concerns at a YFT board meeting Jan. 8, including Wayne Davis of Dallas Bears, Robert Delgado of the United Court of the Lone Star Empire and Jeffrey Payne of Leather Knights. Representatives from the Dallas Tavern Guild, Cedar Springs Merchant Association and Texas Gay Rodeo Association also attended.

“Our major donors were upset,” said board member David Freudiger.

One concern is that a high percentage of the organization’s budget goes into administrative costs with a small amount for youth programming. Freudiger said he’s only interested in what’s best for the youth and agreed that over the past two years there’s been some board dysfunction.

Since YFT is run by a working board, he said, part of the solution is identifying the skills and functions needed and then growing the board to fill those positions.

He said the collective knowledge of running a nonprofit among those who attended the meeting was huge, and he wants to tap into that knowledge. He said there was little he could predict before next week’s meeting but thought the situation required major changes to the board.

“It’s about moving forward,” Freudiger said. “We’re going to correct the problems and create the best environment for LGBT youth.”

Liebbe said: “Youth First Texas needs leadership in place that the community has confidence in so that the community continues to provide funding for the youth.”

Cognetta said the organization’s financial position is stable with enough money in the bank now to operate for six months. Liebbe agreed with that estimate.

The meeting will be at at 7 p.m. Thursday at YFT, 3918 Harry Hines Blvd., and is open to the public.