In 1989 the leadership of San Diego Pride envisioned a model of organizing and fundraising that, in addition to supporting our own events and programs, would turn a profit to be utilized as investments back into our own LGBTQ community. This model helped us give out grants starting in 1994, allowing us to become the most philanthropic Pride in the world. We have given out over $3 million to LGBTQ-serving organizations locally, nationally, and globally. In 2019 we gave out $340,000 to 60 organizations.
When the pandemic hit in 2020, we lost the traditional Pride Parade and Festival, our two biggest fundraisers for two years in a row. We needed to reimagine how we sustained our year-round programs, events, and what our philanthropy would look like. Thankfully in the couple of preceding years, we had successful Prides that allowed us to substantially invest in building our financial reserves to stabilize us in the event of a catastrophic year, while still remaining philanthropic. Our staff, volunteers, and board worked tirelessly to keep us going.
Over the last 18 months, our philanthropy has looked like providing masks for seniors, food and clothing drives, scholarships for transgender students, and providing grocery gifts cards to bar and restaurant workers at LGBTQ-owned small businesses. We provided resume workshops and career mentors. We’ve used our infrastructure to assist other LGBTQ-serving nonprofits to put on their events, fundraisers, and programs. This year we were even able to provide micro-grants to ensure LGBTQ-serving organizations could provide ASL interpretation for their in-person or virtual events and meetings.
While this year’s Pride looked very different, we were still able to bring together over 100,000 people virtually and online to celebrate and find community. Thanks to these successful events, a ton of fundraising, and government support we are beyond thrilled to announce the return of our Pride Community Grants! While typically we provide funding to organizations all around the world, our ability to give will be smaller this year, so we will be prioritizing smaller local LGBTQ nonprofits and community groups. Applications are open now and close on October 31, 2021.
We are excited to support our community to emerge from this pandemic as strong as possible. Our current stability is here thanks to the foundational work and vision of folks 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. Your support of Pride is vital in that work, and I can’t thank you enough for all you do to build our community and keep us Resilient.
With Pride, Fernando Zweifach López Pronouns: They/Them/Theirs Executive Director San Diego Pride
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.