March 17, 2009
San Francisco, CA – 17 March 2009 – The San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee (SFLGBTPCC) announced today the some of the measures that the organization is and has been taking to address the ongoing economic crisis.
The Pride Celebration Committee’s Board of Directors has been working with Executive Director Lindsey Jones to proactively cut the organization’s budget
The Board, Executive Director, and stage and venue managers first sat down to discuss cuts at two meetings on November 11 and 20, 2008. The Board determined that it preferred to reduce the subsidy for all stages and venues rather than to cut whole stages.
The Board discussed how to go about implementing cuts at its November 2008 retreat anticipating potential negative consequences for all Pride’s income categories from what was then still an emerging economic crisis.
While sponsor commitments have remained strong in spite of the economic downturn, with only a seven percent drop-off in commitments to date over 2008, the Pride Celebration Committee relies on twelve different income sources to fund itself, all of which are subject to potential fluctuations as a result of the recession:
Exhibitor booth sales
The first ten of the above-listed categories are funding sources whose income levels are not determined until close to or after the annual event in June because they represent income categories largely or entirely driven by the annual Pride event.
One income source that the Board has consciously decided to forgo is a mandatory entrance fee for all attendees at Pride. A budget cut that the Board has actively decided not to make is to the American Sign Language (ASL) event interpretation budget.
“This economic climate has forced us to ask ourselves some very difficult questions. Do we cut subsidies for our community-run stages and venues or do we institute a mandatory fee to enter Pride and risk turning away youth and those who cannot afford to pay to attend? Do we cut volunteer meals or do we cut our ASL interpreter budget?,” stated Executive Director Lindsey Jones. “In both these cases, we have elected to prioritize economic and linguistic access to the Pride event over our hard nuts and bolts production costs, but both questions represent the tough reality we are facing in this recession. Charging a mandatory fee at the entrance gates could easily bring in $500,000, but we believe doing so would fly in the face of our San Francisco values, which are to ensure that all people, regardless of economic status, have access to their Pride. No one will be turned away.”
The production of the annual Pride Celebration & Parade is the largest capital expense that the Pride Celebration Committee has all year. In this sense, event expenses are financial commitments that the organization must make before knowing the totals for each income source. In order to safeguard the financial viability of the event and to be able to maintain Pride’s annual grants to Bay Area non-profits at or near 2008 levels, proactive cuts in administration, outreach, event operations and equipment, and other areas were determined to be a priority back in November.
The Board’s Budget & Finance Committee had begun monitoring the economic instability resulting from the troubles in the housing market during summer and by the Board’s October 7, 2008, Board Meeting the plan to make cuts was announced.
Stage and venue managers have participated in committee-wide discussions about cuts since the November 20, 2008, meeting. Individual meetings were also arranged between the Executive Director, Event Manager, and venue managers to address individual venue concerns and fundraising strategies following the November meeting.
Additionally, Pride’s Executive Director Lindsey Jones set up two fundraising and sponsorship trainings on February 17 and 21 to provide support around developing or enhancing individual giving and engaging the local business community in sponsorship for individual venues.
Excluding Main Stage costs, the Pride Celebration Committee has subsidized stages and venues at the event by over $600,000.00 to date. The Pride Celebration Committee has asked stages and venues to take over a greater share of the cost of running each of their stages in order to make ends meet.
The current budget for stages and venues that the Pride Celebration Committee provides, not including the Main Stage, is $37,995.25, which still represents the majority of all stage and venue costs. As it becomes clear how other income sources are fairing in the lead up to the event, this budget category may change accordingly.
The Pride Celebration Committee is pursuing new sponsors this year, as is done every year while also exploring additional grant opportunities related to the organization’s education and outreach programming. Pride will also be launching its first online giving campaign and encourages community members to donate at sfpride.org.
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