San Diego Pride has a legacy of meaningful historic firsts and innovative approaches to movement building; our philanthropic approach is one of those tactics that we’re most proud of. In 1989 the leadership of San Diego Pride envisioned a model of organizing and fundraising that could turn a profit to be returned to our community. As an organization, we began giving out grants starting in 1994. To date, we have given out over $3 million to LGBTQ-serving organizations locally, nationally, and globally, and have become the most philanthropic Pride in the world.
San Diego Pride’s philanthropy doesn’t end there. We utilize our volunteer, entertainment, and communications infrastructure to support LGBTQ organizations well beyond our own to ensure events have the support and marketing they need to succeed. In fact, just this year we donated staff to support Global Pride, the 27-hour virtual Pride that took place on June 27, reached a worldwide audience of 57,050,978 viewers in at least 163 countries.
Our grassroots model of volunteer-led programming has developed a culture of queer philanthropy throughout the organization. Our diverse LGBTQ community members give their time, skills, and raise funds to build programs designed by and for us. All of that is on top of our volunteer leadership finding ways to give back to the community-at-large through community service projects like neighborhood clean-ups and free mask distribution.
With nearly all of the funding that drives our year-round programming and direct philanthropic work coming from our annual Parade and Festival, COVID-19 and the loss of in-person events devastated our ability to generate revenue through those typical ticket, beverage, and booth sales. Our volunteer-led model and solid financial planning have given us an enormous amount of stability and our programs continue on. That said, with COVID-19 rates on the rise, and in-person events still unforeseeably far away, we need your help.
You already invest in us so much every year. You’re being asked by so many to give what you can in a year that has already taken too much and too many from us all. As we near #GivingTuesday I ask that you consider investing what you can in our organization so we can continue to do this meaningful work. Whether you’re able to join a fundraising team or simply give what you can, every bit of support matters. With multiple vaccines on the horizon, we have much to be hopeful for. I’m simply asking for a little more help to get us over the finish line, so we can be together again when this is all over.
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.