The COVID-19 pandemic halted our traditional 2020 and 2021 Pride Parade and Festival, our organization’s largest fundraisers. The loss of these events and the funding they provide forced us to pause our community grants in 2020 and identify entirely new income sources in order to continue running our year-round education and advocacy programs.
In 1989 the leadership of San Diego Pride envisioned a model of organizing and fundraising that, in addition to supporting Pride’s own events and programs, would turn a profit to be invested in building capacity within our community. This model helped us provide grants starting in the 90s, allowing us to become one of the most philanthropic Prides in the world.
In 2020 and 2021, as the world changed, so did the ways we gave back to our community. During that time our philanthropy has looked like providing masks for seniors, free vaccines, food and clothing drives, scholarships for transgender students, and giving grocery gift cards to bar and restaurant workers at LGBTQ-owned small businesses. We were even able to start some of our Pride Community Grants in 2021 focusing on smaller local organizations we gave out $136,000 last year.
Today, we are finally able to bring back our Pride Community Grants with a local, national, and international focus! This year we’re giving out nearly a quarter of a million dollars to 44 LGBTQ-serving organizations here in San Diego and around the world! This brings our total giving to just over $3.5 million since 1996!
Thank you! Our Pride in San Diego is special. We approach our work with an abundance mindset, knowing that when our organization does well, we can help others thrive. It was a model established by founders like Christine Kehoe, Neil Good, Tim Williams, Larry Baza, Vertez Burks, Joseph Mayer, and more who wanted to ensure the role of Pride was one that helps build the capacity of our community beyond the weekend events. That is how we thrive! That is how we pursue Justice with Joy!
Fernando Lopez is the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made them a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.