Shortly after joining Whitman-Walker Clinic in July 2006, ReGina Newkirk came to a realization about the annual Capital Pride event: As the new head of development for the clinic, involved with special events and fundraising, she questioned how Pride could be a community event when it was being produced solely by Whitman-Walker.
”I think the best way to make it truly a community event is by bringing the community in,” Newkirk said Tuesday evening, Jan. 9, before a crowd of more than 45 people representing various GLBT not-for-profit organizations. All were invited to meet with Whitman-Walker and Capital Pride staff in an effort to make that realization a reality.
Newkirk and Capital Pride Director David Mallory ran through a brief history of Capital Pride, touching on its origin in 1975, before presenting the clinic’s ”Community Partnership Proposal.”
The proposal highlighted some of the changes for this year’s weeklong series of events, which lead up to the Capital Pride Parade on Saturday, June 10, and the Capital Pride Festival on Sunday, June 11.
Organizers are asking local GLBT organizations that choose to partner with the clinic to donate between $1,000 and $50,000. Organizers hope to increase the focus and spectrum of Capital Pride to accurately reflect the wide range of diversity within the GLBT community. They are also exploring different ways to increase revenue from the event, including seeking more corporate sponsors and selling official Capital Pride merchandise.
They will also be looking at options for raising money from those who attend the Capital Pride Festival, including the possibility of asking for donations upon entry or charging admission, said Newkirk.
”What we hope to do…starting here tonight, is to again make Pride not just for the LGBT community but [by the LGBT] community,” Mallory said. ”For the past several years, Whitman-Walker Clinic has been the sole producer of the event and it has been our pleasure to be serving that role for the community. One of the drawbacks to that is that Whitman-Walker is but one of our many organizations with a very focused mission, which is on health care, HIV and AIDS, and as such, can only send one message to the community.”
Community partners that contribute more than $1,000 will receive entry into the Capital Pride Parade, a booth at the Capital Pride Festival, a seat on the planning committee, a percentage of corporate sponsorship dollars and other revenue, depending on the organization’s percentage of contribution. In addition, the organization’s logo or name will appear on various Capital Pride displays, including the stage banners, publication advertisements and posters.
But that doesn’t mean all the partnering groups have to contribute $1,000 to get all those perks, Newkirk says.
”There are a number of organizations where $1,000 may be more challenging than an organization can handle,” she said. ”We wanted to make sure that the smaller organizations are still included in the process.”
And they will be, Newkirk explained.
Each organization can have a representative on the Capital Pride planning committee, regardless of the amount of money they contribute. The executive committee, which will oversee the actions of the planning committee, will include two elected representatives from the planning committee. One of those two seats will be reserved for a representative from a small GLBT organization that functions with a budget of $100,000 or less.
The executive committee will also include Mallory, as well as a representative from each organization that contributes $5,000 or more.
Whitman-Walker Clinic has already committed $100,000 for Capital Pride. A final budget will be established after partnering groups contribute money, organizers said.
”If seven organizations agree to be Capital Pride partners at varying levels, totaling $150,000, then $150,000 will become the budget for Capital Pride 2007,” Newkirk said.
She went on to explain that there is a great possibility that organizations will recoup their initial investment, and possibly generate revenue, by means of corporate sponsors and event revenue.
Whitman-Walker Clinic will serve as the fiscal agent for the event, and will remain in charge of all the financial aspects of Capital Pride.
Asked what would happen if the event lost money, Newkirk said there is no guarantee that profit would result from the event. ”If we put the right controls on the event, [and] push some of these revenue generators, that we really should, at a bare minimum, break even. But there is the risk, if you come in as partner, that you may not recoup your initial investment.”
Partnering organizations were asked to make a written commitment by Jan. 31, and a 50 percent financial commitment by Feb. 28. The rest of the money was requested no later than March 30. A planning committee retreat is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 27.
”This is a process that’s in motion,” Newkirk said. ”It needs to be an evolution that multiple people are participating in…that’s really what we’re looking for.”