Paying For Pride Events: An Annual Plan to Fund the Function | Opinion

Stonewall Pride 2024. Photo by JR Davis.

June is globally recognized as Pride Month, a time for the LGBTQ community to celebrate our community and achievements, acknowledge game changers, and raise awareness about ongoing challenges. Pride events, such as the Stonewall Street Festival & Parade this past weekend in Wilton Manors, are central to these celebrations.

However, Pride comes with a price tag. These parades and events often face significant funding challenges. They require substantial resources to provide a memorable, inclusive, and safe experience for all attendees. Yet they remain underfunded — in most cases for decades.

A Year-Long Task

In Wilton Manors, and in other cities where these events are major events, I propose Pride organizers create a dedicated year-round financial committee to address the funding challenges that our Pride events experience. These committees would be comprised of former corporate executives, influential figures in the LGBTQ nonprofit community, supportive allies and experienced fundraisers. Their primary role would be to raise the necessary capital, ensuring the organizing team can execute its events at the highest level.

Key Responsibilities of the Financial Committee

Fundraising: The committee's primary focus would be on raising funds year-round to support the event. This includes securing sponsorships and donations from corporations, local businesses, and individual donors.

Efficient Fund Management: Funds raised by the committee would be managed efficiently, with oversight from a third-party CPA firm to ensure transparency and accountability. Regular financial reports would be provided to the community, detailing how every dollar derived from the event is spent and how any resulting profit is invested.

Supporting the Organizing Team: With adequate funding, the organizing team can focus on planning and executing the event, bringing in top entertainers, ensuring no-cost entry, and hiring professional organizers with experience in managing large-scale events.

Safety and Security: Adequate funds would ensure the provision of necessary security measures, helping the event to be as safe as possible for all attendees.

Creating an Inclusive Experience: The goal is to create an inclusive and memorable experience for the LGBTQ community and our allies. Locally, we attract attendees from not only Wilton Manors, and Fort Lauderdale, but all across the United States and around the world.

Implementation Strategy

By implementing this financial and accountability structure, we aim to overcome the historical challenges of mismanaged funds and underfunding. The financial committee, with its focus on transparency and accountability, would build trust with sponsors, donors, and the community. This approach would lead to more sustainable and successful Pride events, offering a rewarding experience while eliminating the drama that has traditionally plagued these celebrations in the past. 

In Wilton Manors, the Stonewall Street Festival & Parade is led by Jeff Sterling. I have worked closely with Jeff for many years, and confirm his dedication and commitment to excellence. That excellence and impeccable event execution was in full display this past weekend. The 2024 event was a masterpiece for our community and all our allies who attended. The parade was incredible. Booths were amazing. Security was in full force. The vibe was off the charts great. Simply the very best Pride event I have ever attended. Every sponsor I am sure is so proud to have attached their brand to such a wonderful event. On behalf of our community. Thank you for your support. We hope my suggested corporate structure and fundraising committee creation encourages you to engage with our Pride events for decades to come.

The Sterling and team event execution, experience, and passion is time tested, making him the ideal candidate to work alongside my proposed financial committee. Together we can make our local Stonewall Street Festival & Parade a prototype for Pride organization everywhere, showcasing the way to use fundraising, accountability and oversight to execute a successful event. 

Creating a financial committee with experienced individuals to oversee fundraising and ensure efficient allocation of resources is a proactive approach to addressing the funding challenges of Pride events. With proper management and oversight, this strategy could lead to more successful, inclusive, and rewarding events, enhancing the sense of community and celebration that Pride represents. This financial committee would ensure that our local Stonewall event becomes an exemplary example of how to raise funds and execute a world-class event, serving our LGBTQ community and allies from around the world every single year.


Bobby Blair is a LGBTQ media pioneer and leader known for his philanthropic work on behalf of the LGBTQ+ community. A Florida native, he lives in Fort Lauderdale with his longtime partner, Brian Neal. Blair was inducted into the GLBT Hall of Fame in 2015.

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