Southern Utah Pride Faces Funding Shortage

Southern Utah’s annual gay pride festival is facing some financial hardships according to what the event’s board members are calling a “budgeting miscalculation.”

“We are not as well off as we originally projected,” said Southern Utah Pride Association, Inc. president Chris McArdle.

Despite several successful fund raising events including car washes, drag shows, a rummage sale, a masquerade dance and three Salt Lake City fundraisers,  McArdle said the organization is falling short on private donations.

“Locally the support towards the GLBT community and our Southern Utah Pride event on Sept. 26 and 27 has been very soft,” he said. “Actually only two local private donations have been made, making our local donations the weakest contributions all together, and this event is for us, our youth and our future.”

Although Southern Utah Pride has done well in many areas this year, including southern Utah’s HIV/AIDS Walk and Dance-a-Thon during which participants raised almost $10,000 for local HIV testing and education efforts, pride director Janine Isom said that funds still need to be raised for travel, equipment and entertainers’ expenses.

Organizers need help, money and interest from Utah’s gay community, McArdle added, so they can create the best possible festival that can give the most back to the community.  This year, for example, Southern Utah Pride provided what McArdle calls “much needed seed money” for the gay health summit held by Chris Doss and Craig Stephens of the Community Counseling Center of Southern Utah. Last year, the organization donated 15 percent of their profits to the Washington County HIV/AIDS Task Force, now the only organization providing rapid HIV testing and education about the disease to much of southern Utah.

“In order to make this event a continued success and go on for years to come, we are asking for local donations,: he said. “Five dollars, $10, $15, it all makes a huge difference, so please do your part!”

To make a donation online visit southernutahpride.org. Donations can also be mailed to Southern Utah Pride PO Box 411 St. George, UT 84771.

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