CEO of health group serving LGBTQ clients in Ohio resigns

The CEO of Equitas Health, a health care and social service agency for LGBTQ clients in 22 other cities, including several in Ohio, has resigned after employees claimed the organization had a culture of racial discrimination.

William Hardy, Equitas’ president and CEO, resigned last week, according to an announcement from the organization’s board of trustees.

Equitas began in 1984 and for several decades was based in Dayton and operated as the AIDS Resource Center Ohio. Hardy was its longtime director. The organization provides medical and other support for people with HIV and AIDS.

The organization rebranded as Equitas in 2016 and moved its headquarters to Columbus. It provides services and clinics in Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati among other cities and reported 2020 revenue of $56 million, according to its most recent IRS reports.

Sam Rinehart, a financial advisor based in Miamisburg who is chairman of Equitas Health’s board, said in a statement that the organization is “at a juncture that requires both the board and senior leadership to take a deep and introspective look at where we are – and who we are – to ensure we have the right leaders in place to continue to fulfill our important mission. We are working closely with the leadership team to begin the healing process and create a stronger, more inclusive culture that reflects our shared values and priorities.”

The organization’s largest local annual fundraiser, Masquerage, was held Saturday in downtown Dayton and had a goal of raising more than $100,000.

Hardy was paid $461,000 in base compensation in 2020, according to tax records.

The allegations by employees of Equitas were first reported by the Columbus Dispatch earlier this month. Several current and former employees said the organization had a culture of discrimination against Black employees.