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A community group in Harlem serving the needs of gay African-American and Latino men is reeling from a major loss in federal funding. Gay Men of African Descent (GMAD) has been forced to eliminate staff and phase out a key program that provides assistance and training to other community based organizations after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention failed to renew two grants that expired March 31. A third grant that funds direct HIV/AIDS prevention programs will expire at the end of May; its fate is still uncertain. The CDC declined to comment on the decision. Combined, the grants total $1.14 million, or 70 percent of the organization’s operating budget. Full-time staff has been cut from 22 to 16 and the executive director, Tokes Osubu, has taken a 66 percent pay cut. The organization is now asking for assistance from the City Council and Department of Health to help bridge the gap. “We’re just asking them for a lot more than we have in the past,” said Osubu. The nation’s oldest and largest organization dedicated exclusively to the care of black gay men, GMAD was founded in 1986 by Reverend Charles Angel, a Pentecostal minister who recognized the urgent need for black men to combat racism, homophobia and the AIDS crisis. [05/10/04]

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