DC's Whitman-Walker Clinic in Trouble
Whitman-Walker Delays Paychecks, Plans Cuts
By Susan Levine
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, May 18, 2005; Page B01
The Whitman-Walker Clinic, the region's leading source of services for people with HIV/AIDS, is struggling with a financial crisis that has depleted much of its reserves and forced its board to begin considering program cutbacks. On Friday, for the first time in its three decades, the clinic was unable to meet payroll.
A string of escalating budget and funding problems is responsible, according to interim Executive Director Roberta Geidner-Antoniotti.
"It's a very serious situation," Geidner-Antoniotti acknowledged yesterday. "I do not believe we will close, but I cannot give anyone a 100 percent guarantee."
In a city with one of the worst AIDS epidemics in the country, the nonprofit organization's crisis could have major repercussions. Its effect would spread beyond the District's borders. Whitman-Walker, which opened in 1974 as a gay health clinic and built a national reputation, serves 7,000 clients throughout the Washington region. It has programs in the Maryland and Northern Virginia suburbs. Last year, it administered 8,000 HIV tests.
"The breadth and depth of what is done at Whitman-Walker is not to be found elsewhere in the U.S. under one roof," said D.C. Council member Jim Graham (D-Ward 1), the clinic's executive director for 15 years. "This type of organization, if we didn't have it, we'd have to invent it."