Delaware Pride ‘09 in Review
Delaware Pride is the statewide pride organization, celebrating its fourteenth year in 2010. In 1997, Delaware Pride was formed after a conversation shared by four friends, all transplants to Delaware, who recognized the need for a more visible and cohesive LGBT Delaware community. One suggested—perhaps only half-seriously—that the four should launch a statewide LGBT pride organization and put on a pride festival in the city of Wilmington. The ball started to roll, and the rest, as they say, is history. Delaware Pride has grown exponentially since that first half-serious conversation between four friends, fourteen years ago. Today, the organization does much more throughout the year than plan for the annual festival. Today, per Delaware Pride’s mission statement, we are “dedicated to promoting platforms for expressing diversity and creating a more visible and united LGBT community.” To this end, Delaware Pride follows the vision statement of “sponsoring and promoting cultural, social, educational, and recreational events.” 2009 was a wonderful year for Delaware Pride, thanks to our members, officers, volunteers, sponsors, and the community. We look forward to another exciting year in 2010, and we hope you’re a part of it!
Delaware Pride sponsored and participated in a number of community activities in 2009. We held our thirteenth annual Delaware Pride Festival in September, with our highest number of attendees and vendors in festival history. The stellar entertainers included headliner Deborah Cox, comedienne Suzanne Westenhoefer, singer Pamala Stanley, singer/songwriter Tom Goss, local band Rhyme & Reason, and a number of other singers and drag performers. In 2009, Delaware Pride added a “Night of Remembrance” the night before the festival, held at the Rehoboth Beach Pavilion in the center of town, to honor cherished loved ones who passed away during the year. We also added alcohol sales at the festival, and two Rehoboth area after-parties instead of one, including a meet-and-greet with festival headliner Deborah Cox. In addition to the festival, in 2009, we appointed a Delaware Pride representative to the steering committee of Equal Rights for All in Delaware, participated in the National Coming Out Day Celebration at Hanover Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, organized an LGBT group to walk in the 2009 Wesley College Homecoming Parade in Dover, held two community pot luck dinners, and assisted various organizations with LGBT event promotion and advertising.\
Delaware Pride participated in a number of community service activities during 2009. We volunteered at the Delaware Food Bank each month, donating our volunteer hours to AIDS Delaware for food bank credit. Delaware Pride was honored by the Food Bank as their 2009 Group Partner of the Year, donating more volunteer hours than any other volunteer group. We organized a team for the 2009 Wilmington AIDS Walk, raising over $3,000 in contributions. We supplied volunteers for the Wilmington AIDS Walk, the AIDS Delaware Red Ribbon Auction, the Miss Gay Delaware America Pageant, the World AIDS Day Interfaith Service, and the first-ever Miss Delaware Illusionz Pageant. We organized an LGBT panel discussion for an Arcadia University class of future health care providers, supported and supplied volunteers for AIDS Delaware’s “Dining Out for Life,” and co-sponsored Planned Parenthood’s annual “Choco-late Festival” fundraiser. We also made various worthy donations; maintained the Delaware Pride website including information, resources, and event pictures; replied to numerous emails and telephone calls to assist LGBT community members; and assisted in moderating the DEGLC listserv.
Delaware Pride expanded fundraising efforts in 2009, with every dollar raised going back into our community. In 2009, Delaware Pride co-sponsored seven very popular Bingo-a-Go-Go events with AIDS Delaware and the Rainbow Chorale of Delaware—five events in Wilmington and two events in Rehoboth Beach. We co-sponsored a wildly successful drag show event with Planned Parenthood of Delaware, “Plantinis, Pride, & Pantyhose.” We assisted with the second season of Pride Idol, a monthly amateur singing contest sponsored by Nude Rain Productions and benefiting Delaware Pride. We also began monthly fundraisers at The Poker Room, held a “10-Week Club” fundraiser, held a fundraising weekend at the New Castle County Farmers Market, organized a dining out fundraiser at the Newark CiCi’s restaurant, added a donation tab to our website, and secured new Delaware Pride Supporters while renewing others. Our fundraising efforts not only raise money for Delaware Pride and other groups, they also provide quality community activities where LGBT persons feel safe and comfortable.
Delaware Pride focused on growth during 2009. We doubled our membership, increased meeting attendance, elected six first-time Board members for 2010, and held various committee meetings, including the Festival, Fundraising, and Membership Committees. We reinforced existing relationships with various community organizations and businesses, and started new relationships. We had advertisements and articles in Letters from CAMP Rehoboth, Spark magazine, and The Philadelphia Gay News. We maintained the Delaware Pride MySpace and Facebook pages. And we look forward to even more growth in 2010!
Everyone with a sincere desire to help the LGBT community, and the entire Delaware community, is welcome at Delaware Pride. With so many activities and committees, there truly is something for everyone to do! Monthly meetings are held on the first Thursday of each month in Newark, and committee meetings are held at various times throughout the year. If you cannot commit to attending meetings or volunteering at events, why not become a Delaware Pride member? Membership is just $10 per year for individuals, or $15 per year for couples living in the same household. Members receive a Delaware Pride membership card, the quarterly newsletter Pride Pages, free festival admission, and discounts on Delaware Pride merchandise and events. You can sign up for Delaware Pride membership online. Also, online, individuals and businesses can donate to Delaware Pride, with every dollar flowing right back into the Delaware community. And Delaware Pride is always looking for businesses and other organizations to become Delaware Pride Festival sponsors, Delaware Pride Supporters, and Bingo-a-Go-Go game sponsors.
To learn more about Delaware Pride, or to become a part of the organization’s fourteenth exciting year, visit www.delawarepride.org, or email email@example.com.