Guide to Kulchur Dissolving, RA Washington Dismissed as Executive Director

RA Washington (July, 2014). - Photo by Frank J. Lanza
Photo by Frank J. Lanza
RA Washington (July, 2014).
Guide to Kulchur, the bookstore and nonprofit which, since 2017, has been located on Lorain Avenue and W. 52nd, is now closed.

In a Facebook post Tuesday evening, the organization's board issued a statement saying that they had discovered the loss of "thousands of dollars, both privately fundraised and granted," and that RA Washington, the store's founder and proprietor, had been dismissed.

The store is no longer in operation and the board indicated that it was beginning the process of dissolving as a non-profit. Scene's questions regarding the future of the shop and the missing funds will be reviewed by the board and may be answered tomorrow.

But for now, here's the full statement posted to Guide to Kulchur's Facebook page:

In the past three years, Guide to Kulchur, Inc. has been transitioning from a sole proprietorship independent bookstore, to a board-led nonprofit. In the past year, Guide to Kulchur, Inc., has applied for 501c3 status, grant funding, fiscal sponsorship, and taken other steps to establish itself as a nonprofit.

In early 2019 the Board of Directors discovered the loss of thousands of dollars, both privately fundraised and granted.

The board of directors of Guide to Kulchur, Inc. has decided to take the following steps:

-RA Washington has been dismissed as executive director as of March 5, 2019.
-Guide to Kulchur, Inc. has provided an accounting of its finances to impacted partners as a gesture of accountability.
-Guide to Kulchur, Inc. has initiated the process of legally dissolving as a nonprofit and is no longer in operation as of March 5, 2019.

The Board of Directors feels strongly about accountability and acknowledges that transparency is a core element of any accountability process. In light of the above mentioned activities the Board of Directors is consulting with legal counsel about releasing additional details, which may be released at a later time.
Update: RA Washington published a Facebook post of his own later Tuesday evening. While not discussing the recent alleged missing funds, he said that he and two others had personally taken out loans to finance the purchase of printing equipment when the store moved from W. 65th Street to Detroit and W. 59th (before its move, in 2017, to Lorain.) He said that his name continues to be slandered, but admitted to making mistakes. His full post is on Facebook, with an extended excerpt below:

There can be no doubt of the positive impact GTK has had on anyone who participated, we accomplished some great things, many of those things were spearheaded by me, and as our profile began to raise and GTK began to be seen as a commodity many community members attempted to tear down the work and act as if there was no profound impact on their lives that it existed.

It is not lost on me that GTK was a mainstay of the radical west side and was frequented by white allies, students, artists and community workers. It is also not lost on me that as a black man living and working in a still segregated grid of fiefdoms, ego maniacs and well meaning talkers.

I would like to offer my willingness to discuss GTK and my dealings with anyone who feels as if they have been wronged by GTK or myself. I have made mistakes and I’ve also done great things. You cannot take that from me, I acknowledge all that history and am trying to grow as a human being. Please let me be. I’m will no longer be available for anything GTK related, it was an amazing time. Creating the last six years activity has been so rewarding and so hard. I look forward to healing and to being present where I am wanted.

I will be looking to handle the libelous and slanderous vaguebooking that has occurred through appropriate channels. Thanks for your continued support and my sincere amends to those who feel wronged by any of the last six years. I too bear the scars of our collective failure, let’s move on.

About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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