Guest Editorials

A letter from Utah Pride Center leaders on the future

Letter to our Community

Let us begin by saying the Utah Pride Center is grateful for your long-lasting dedication and support – Pride will continue to strive to ensure your commitment is acknowledged through our service to you, the board, and the Utah Pride Center’s many constituents.

Historically, the Utah Pride Center has served a diverse and growing LGBTQ community, often in the face of adversity.  In spite of the Center’s many achievements, it is now time to embark on a new journey of collective re-evaluation which may lead to the re-structuring of the of the Center’s priorities.  Your perspective and recommendations will be vital to the Center’s future.  For the discussions that lie ahead, no subject is too meager, no opinion too candid.  Only through this kind of frank assessment will we successfully re-Size, re-Imagine, re-Build and re-Launch to re-Create a Center with even greater Pride.

We will begin this collective journey of re-evaluation by embarking on conversations related to the following:

  1. A declaration of a new mission statement for the Utah Pride Center. The Center’s mission, the foundation with which our work is possible, is requisite to any re-evaluation of its operations. A mission statement is a brief, but fundamental, description of the Center’s philosophy and goals.
  2. The Center is not only financially accountable to its donors, but to the board, staff and — as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization — to the general public as well. Sometimes forgotten in the course of non-profit administration, the Center is committed to increased transparency and communication about the Center’s operations. A renewed plan of “transparency” will be a vital to the restoration of confidence among our key audiences.
  3. The Center has developed — either through planning or serendipity — a vast range of educational programs designed to serve its constituents as well as others in need. A review by the Utah Pride Center’s board, administration and staff will undoubtedly reveal whether some of these programs may have outlived their usefulness and should be replaced by newer, more relevant ones.  Some programs may even duplicate services offered by allied community and religious organizations; and some are simply poorly attended.  Conversely, to accommodate the changing demographics and dynamics of the community, the Center may decide — as other centers around the country have — to expand its counseling program to reach those not formerly served.  This review can be done while recognizing the necessity to retain, even bolster, ongoing programs that are demonstrably successful, such as cultural competency training, youth counseling, etc.
  4. The Utah Pride Center’s staff, both paid and volunteer, remains at the heart of the Center. A review of the current programs and mission may lead to a reassessment of the staffing requirements. Will the Center’s needs change as newer, more targeted programs emerge? If so, how? And how does the Center assure a safe and financially secure work environment to encourage employee creativity and loyalty?
  5. Throughout its history, commitment and dedication have been a hallmark of the Pride Center’s board of directors. With nominations and support from the current board, the Center will build upon that distinction by seeking the talent, vitality and professional expertise from additional board members that new vistas will require.
  6. Through a major donation from a generous supporter, the Center was able to buy its current facility. With the donor’s support and participation, the Center’s administration, along with its current board and members who spearheaded the capital campaign, will review and evaluate the building’s form and function — including its space, location, maintenance costs and other relevant characteristics that may either aid or impede the future growth of the Center. Recommendations will follow a thorough investigation.
  7. And finally, at least for purposes of this discussion, the Pride Festival has generated more good will and support among the general public, the Center’s constituents and the community of allied organizations than perhaps any other single Pride Center-sponsored event. Nevertheless, the time is now to take a hard look at several perplexing issues, including building fail-safe accounting systems to determine whether the financial resources are wisely used; to increase clarity of purpose, such as its educational value; to gauge its support and collaboration with other community organizations; to evaluate its outreach to new audiences; and to further understand the economic impact that the Pride Festival has on Salt Lake City, Utah.

We understand that this is a lot to drop into your collective lap all at once. However, after careful consideration, lengthy discussions, a look at programs at other centers across the country, and a growing awareness of LGBTQ diversity in society, the Pride Center’s executive director Carol Gnade and the chair of its board of directors Michael Ramon Aguilar, respectfully submit this query/challenge to you.  It is our hope that, out of your knowledge, experience and commitment a series of recommendations will emerge, so that together we can build upon the Pride Center’s rich and vibrant history. Join us as we begin this journey of reshaping and defining Pride in our community.

More information is available at

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