In response to the October 22nd editorial and “cartoon,” as well as the most recent December 24th editorial, it seems there’s a myth among the public or perhaps the publishers of the Observer that the Tucson Pride board is pulling in Enron-level profits from ticket and beverage sales. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We work very hard with a small (but dedicated) staff and limited resources to make Pride Week, Pride on Parade, and Pride in the Desert a success year after year.
We do acknowledge the need to be more transparent to the community, which we will commit to doing. And all agree that we need to do a better job educating the public about many things, including where our money goes. These expenses include but are not limited to permits, tents, entertainment, security, and advertising, which makes up a considerable portion of overall operating costs. (And it’s worth mentioning here that The Observer is a part of that advertising budget.) Tickets to the event and beverage sales do not even come close to covering the cost of the event. We are very fortunate to have some local and national publishers that offer us advertising as a part of their sponsorship of the event. We rely heavily on those sponsorships for the continued success of all Tucson Pride events, and we currently have several board members that actively seek new sponsors. We would love to have enough sponsorship revenue to be able to have a free event some day.
Board meetings are held on the second Wednesday of every month. This information is printed in The Observer every week and can also be found online. We are always looking for new members with ideas, and we encourage those with suggestions and/or an interest in volunteering to attend our monthly meetings or simply go to our website, www.tucsonpride.org, and enter your contact information. Those who do get involved have the opportunity to determine which groups receive funds. This is clearly outlined on our website under the “Get Involved” link. Some of the organizations benefiting this year were Spay & Neuter Solutions, Presidio Charter School, Delta Lambda Phi, Wingspan, Hope Animal Shelter, SAAF, Arizona Gay Rodeo Assoc., TIHAN, Humane Society of Southern AZ, Hermitage Cat Shelter, The Leukemia Foundation of AZ, and Aviva Childrens Services.
Moreover, it’s simply not fair to criticize a 100%-volunteer LGBT non-profit organization in the only gay newspaper in Tucson without gathering all the facts— or at the very least contacting a board member. Each of us is more than happy to explain where the money goes and how much is needed to put on such a huge event every year. However, we feel an open censure in a news outlet like The Observer is unmerited considering the amount of time and energy we as a board and our gracious volunteers put into making sure the Tucson LGBT community has their day to shine.
Tucson Pride Inc.
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