October 13, 2017 at 9:00 am EDT | by Lou Chibbaro Jr.
SAGE Metro D.C. disbands
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SAGE Metro D.C., which served LGBT seniors in the nation’s capital, has disbanded. (Photo by Ted Eytan; courtesy Flickr)

SAGE Metro D.C., which operated since 2010 as an officially sanctioned affiliate of the New York-based national group Services and Advocacy for LGBT Elders, or SAGE USA, was disbanded in January when SAGE USA decided not to renew its annual agreement to retain the D.C. group’s status as an affiliate.

Michael Adams, SAGE USA’s chief executive officer, told the Washington Blade last week that the decision to bring the D.C. group to a close was made jointly between SAGE USA and Dr. Imani Woody, the chair of SAGE Metro D.C.’s board of directors.

“Basically it had struggled,” Adams said. “It was not able to get its footing and grow its program presence. So it just made sense at that point to bring it to an end.”

Woody, who also serves as CEO for Mary’s House for LGBT Older Adults, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

“Dr. Woody made the decision that she wanted to focus her energy on Mary’s House, which I completely respect,” said Adams. “And so that was really the driver and the motivation in the conversations we had with Imani,” he said.

Adams noted that SAGE Metro D.C. was first launched in 2010 as a project of the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community. He said that around 2012 the group decided to break away from the D.C. Center to become a freestanding organization and obtained its own 501(c)3 nonprofit status from the IRS.

D.C. Center Executive Director David Mariner confirmed that account. He said he the D.C. Center continued with its own LGBT seniors program and would do what it could to fill any void created by SAGE Metro D.C.’s shutdown.

Activists familiar with SAGE Metro D.C. said in recent years it visibility and presence in the LGBT community and with LGBT seniors declined significantly.

Adams said SAGE USA currently has 28 affiliate organizations in 20 states across the country. He said that over the years some of the affiliates have become less viable for a variety of reasons and are discontinued.

“From the perspective of SAGE USA our exclusive focus is, is this affiliate making a significant difference for LGBT elders in its communities?” Adams said. “And what happened in the case of some affiliates and as what happened with SAGE Metro D.C. is there was simply not enough programmatic activity to make a meaningful difference for LGBT elders in the community,” he said.

Lou Chibbaro Jr. has reported on the LGBT civil rights movement and the LGBT community for more than 30 years, beginning as a freelance writer and later as a staff reporter and currently as Senior News Reporter for the Washington Blade. He has chronicled LGBT-related developments as they have touched on a wide range of social, religious, and governmental institutions, including the White House, Congress, the U.S. Supreme Court, the military, local and national law enforcement agencies and the Catholic Church. Chibbaro has reported on LGBT issues and LGBT participation in local and national elections since 1976. He has covered the AIDS epidemic since it first surfaced in the early 1980s. Follow Lou

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