SF Pride hands out
$142K to local groups
by Elliot Owen
Two months after hundreds of thousands of people filled the streets to attend the 42nd annual San Francisco Pride Parade and festival, the SF LGBT Pride Celebration Committee gathered Tuesday, August 21 at the LGBT Community Center to distribute grant checks to the local nonprofit organizations that helped facilitate 2012's successful Pride event.
The Pride Committee handed out a total of $142,482 to 75 organizations.
It's called the annual check granting party, whereby nonprofits that volunteer during SF Pride through its Community Partners Program are given grants based on their participation as either beverage partners, donation partners, or accessibility partners. Beverage partners oversee Civic Center's beverage booths, donation partners collect donations at the gates during the entire weekend's events, and accessibility partners oversee deaf and hard-of-hearing spaces as well as the parade's wheelchair-accessible grandstands.
"Writing checks to organizations who are doing all kinds of important work is by far one of the best parts of this job," Pride Committee Executive Director Brendan Behan told the Bay Area Reporter . "It's important that everyone have a piece of Pride's success."
The LGBT Center's Rainbow Room was packed with over 100 people who shared stories about their grassroots work amongst each other over pizza and drinks just before the event's host, B.A.R. society columnist Donna Sachet, took the stage.
"Who's here to get some money?" she asked, marking the party's commencement. The crowd responded with a resounding cheer. Representatives of each organization present were called to the front culminating in an impressive representation of diverse LGBT community people and causes.
John Caldera was there on behalf of the Bob Basker Post 315 of the American Legion, an LGBT-focused charter post within the American Legion, the largest veteran's organization in the country. The Community Partners Program has been in place since 1997 and Post 315 has been volunteering under the program for the last five years.
"It's one of our largest fundraisers annually," Caldera, a gay Navy veteran, told the B.A.R. "When I was active duty back in 1987, one of my first memories of San Francisco was Pride. To come full circle and partner with Pride is a big deal because at the end of the day it helps us help veterans."
This year, Post 315 oversaw Pride's grandstands, which included making sure the ASL (American Sign Language) and disabled communities were accommodated during the parade. While Post 315 qualified as an accessibility partner, most nonprofits that volunteer are tasked with either beverages or collecting gate donations.
The Pride Committee calculates grant amounts for those two areas differently. Fifty percent of gross donations collected go toward the organizations that volunteered as donation partners. It's then divided between the partner nonprofits based on total hours logged. The Pride Committee retains the other 50 percent to pay the costs of the program. Beverage partners either get a flat $1,200 or 25 percent of their beverage booth's net proceeds – whichever is greater.
"Regardless of what ends up happening," Behan said, "they are guaranteed a minimum for participating in the program. Our beverage partners show up quite early in the morning and have to stay there much later than the donation partners."
"This year we are on track to surpass $2 million in total grants back to the community since we started this program in 1997," he added.
Total fiscal earnings for Pride 2012 won't be available until the end of September.