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Pride to have been plagued by significant losses in sponsorship, volunteers

(SAN DIEGO) Non-profit organizations rely on two very important things as a means of successfully advocating their cause: monetary donations and volunteers.

Had Princetta, Karim, and Worrell not agreed to step down, Pride would have lost a substantial amount of both.

SDGLN last week obtained a list of 39 businesses that sponsored the parade and festival in 2009, many of whom had been sponsors for a number of years. All were contacted to discuss whether Pridegate would impact financial contributions for 2010.

While not all of the business owners were accessible; of the more than half that were reached, many indicated they would continue to support Pride. What did resonate, however, was a growing concern that under the leadership of those involved in the scandal, the annual event might not take place at all.

Yet a number of other business owners, such as long time community activist and Lavender Lens Publisher Bixi B. Craig (whose contributions extended far beyond monetary donations) were very vocal about their reasons for wanting to separate from the 2010 event.

Craig, a Pride sponsor since 2002, initially supported Pride through media sponsorship. Yet for the past three years she and Lavender Lens has been responsible for putting on the women’s area known as the “Lavender Stage.”

Along with a string of devoted volunteers, Craig would spend seven months building a production and marketing team and working with dozens of artists. The collective goal was to ensure the women’s area would not only be a space everyone can enjoy, but a production the community could be proud of.
According to Craig, had Princetta, Karim, and Worrell not agreed to step aside, her participation would have come to an end.

“Due to an unfortunate turn of events at San Diego Pride, I have, on behalf of Lavender Lens, withdrawn my sponsorship of the organization,” said Craig in an earlier interview. “This is in effect until a new Board is in place, [the staff is reinstated] or a similar scenario occurs.”

Chris Shaw, owner of Urban Mo’s, Baja Betty’s and Gossip Grill, also indicated he would withdraw sponsorship until a new Board was put in place. “We need a stronger, much larger and new Board,” said Shaw.

Shaw is among those named by Senator Christine Kehoe, Councilmembers Todd Gloria and Carl De Maio, and former Councilwoman and Deputy Mayor Toni Atkins in a January 26 memorandum suggesting candidates for interim reinstatement.

Metropolitan Public Safety (MPS) operations coordinator and seven-year Pride volunteer Lt. S. Zimmerman said that although MPS had been a supporter for the past four years, their sponsorship would not renew as long as the Board stayed its course.

“Metropolitan Public Safety is a believer in the democratic process and if this upheaval had been done publicly and with all persons involved being held accountable for their parts and actions, we might have reconsidered our opinion, but at this time, we are not inclined to renew our sponsorship,” Zimmerman said.

“Should the remaining three board members resign and the paid professional staff who were terminated or resigned be reinstated, then we will gladly reconsider our position and renew our sponsorship.”

Zimmerman could not be reached for further comment at the time this article went to print.

But it’s not just financial backers who were stepping aside. As recently as yesterday afternoon, close to 500 former Pride volunteers had joined forces on Facebook to call for the resignation of the Board, pledging to boycott the event should their request not be met.

Although SDGLN was unable to tally the exact monetary total of what Pride would have stood to lose had the Board not stepped aside, the question on everyone’s minds seemed to be clear- how much were Princetta, Karim, and Worrell willing to lose?