Orlando Pride clears debt, awards grants

By : Jamie Hyman
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Orlando – We can officially close the books on Come Out With Pride 2015.

The treasury report was finalized last week and Michael Thomas, COWP’s finance director, says the event made $90,000 total, with $70,000 going to pay off debt created by the 2014 Orlando Pride event. Of the remaining $20,000, $15,000 will be used as seed money to pay deposits and other expenses ahead of COWP 2016. The final $5,000 will be distributed in grants via the Pride Gives Back program.

“We’re going to give $2,000 to the [Metropolitan Business Association], $2,000 to The [GLBT] Center and $1,000 to the Barber Fund,” Thomas says. “Those are the only groups that actually applied for grants.”

Thomas says the organizations will have checks in hand by the first week of January 2016.

He says now that COWP’s debt is paid, they have high hopes for next year’s projected event profits.

“We should be able to make $100,000 next year and give a very, very big portion of that back to the community an d we’re very, very excited about that,” Thomas says.

He doesn’t have specifics yet as to how much that portion might be, because the grants are awarded after the event, based on how much the event makes.

“A lot of it is based on day of and liquor sales,” Thomas says. “We see what we make, look at the grants applications we have, and determine how to divvy [the funds] up.”

Groups interested in applying for grants next year should visit the COWP website – ComeOutWithPride.com – after Feb. 1, 2016, when Thomas says they should have the new grant application ready to go. Applications for vendor booths and food vendors will also be available at that time.

“We’re good to go for next year. We’re starting the planning process,” Thomas says. “We’re just so happy and pleased with the outcome of last year. It’s amazing, beyond our expectations for sure.”

He says for 2016, the board will remain mostly the same, except they have to replace two board members, Andrew Gilette and Scott Garstka.

“It’s a process,” Thomas says. “There are multiple people interested. We have to select the right two.”

He says they’re hoping to have the new board members in place by the end of January 2016.

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