Huntsville nonprofit Free2Be closes, unclear if operations will resume

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Huntsville-based nonprofit Free2Be closed Friday and it’s unclear when, or if, it will reopen.

Callers to the organization’s Huntsville office Monday were greeted with a recording that said the agency is closed until further notice.

But there has been no public statement from Free2Be, as of Monday evening, outlining the change.

Free2Be provides free services including counseling, support groups and public advocacy to the LGBTQ community.

The group’s founder, James Robinson, said today he left the position of CEO with Free2Be on Jan. 1.

The group’s executive director, Mario Burton, did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, ADECA, provides Free2Be with federal grant funds aimed at stemming family violence. ADECA said it provided Free2Be with nearly $780,000 in fiscal 2018 and is planning a compliance review next week.

ADECA did not ask the group to shut its doors, according to an ADECA spokesman.

Free2Be also has offices in Birmingham, Dothan, Mobile, and Montgomery.

A Mobile-based staffer said today they were told on Friday to cease operations. The Mobile office was the second most active office, after Huntsville, he said, with 20-25 counseling clients and a weekly teen support group that included 10-15 teens.

The Free2Be website provides some detailed information about how many clients it was serving back in 2015, about 200 clients a month. Robinson said the number has grown each year.