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by Jessica Carreras
Michigan Pride organizational group, which put on the 20th annual statewide pride event in Lansing in June, has recently come into financial trouble totaling over $10,000 of debt. Now, the group is asking for individual and organizational donations of any amount to ensure that they are not only out of debt, but are able to raise funds and prepare for next summer’s Michigan Pride.
According to pride co-chair Candice Risner, two withdrawn sponsorships are to blame for the loss in funding.
On May 22, alcohol company Jagermeister backed out of an $8,000 sponsorship. Just ten days later, Absolut Vodka did the same, causing another loss of $3,000. Both companies’ sponsorship losses came within a month of the festival in Lansing’s Riverfront Park, which brought almost 10,000 LGBT and allied people to the capital for music, entertainment, rallies, speeches and food.
Both Jagermeister and Absolut were contacted ahead of time by e-mail, but neither responded. Risner said that the Michigan Pride organizers originally thought nothing of the lack of responses. In previous years, both groups did not send money until the weeks leading up to the celebration. However, after four or five e-mails a piece and no time to cancel events or find replacement sponsorships, Michigan Pride went on as planned – without the necessary funds.
“We would be fine right now if they had not backed out on us,” Risner said.
Michigan Equality has taken up the initiative to try to help the group get out of debt, and has sent out e-mails asking for donations for the group. “There were 10,000 of us present at the festival and march in June,” they wrote. “If each of us donated just one dollar, we could erase this debt and free the folks are Michigan Pride to begin developing plans for another smashing fun time!”
To make a donation, visit http://www.michiganpride.org.