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Pride Toronto almost bankrupt, thanks to pulled federal funding and QUAIA fiasco

Toronto Pride parade 2010 (Image: Eduardo Milano)

Last year wasn’t one of the best on record for Toronto Pride. It had the controversy around Queers Against Israeli Apartheid (QUAIA), which split the city’s gay community and “threatened to bankrupt” the organization. Pride Toronto also had its federal funding pulled, even though Canadian Press reports that it had qualified for federal cash. This year doesn’t seem to be treating the organization any better, with the revelation that it will have to tell its annual general meeting it’s effectively bankrupt.

According to the audited statement that Xtra got:

  • Pride ran a $431,808 deficit with only $322,407 in the bank, meaning it’s currently in the hole for more than $100,000.
  • Pride has a spending problem, not a revenue problem: while the difference in revenue from 2009 to 2010 is only $40,000, the difference in spending is more than a quarter of a million dollars.
  • The loss of the Marquee Tourism program post-QUAIA seems to have been less dire than previously claimed: QUAIA Pride Toronto still got some new federal money, and sponsorships were up by almost as much as grants were down.
  • Meanwhile, there were large increases in salaries and administration.

There are more details here, but in short, it’s no wonder that Brent Hawkes, the head of Pride’s Community Advisory Panel (created in the aftermath of the QUAIA implosion), calls it the “perfect storm” and warns that Toronto could lose World Pride 2014, which would no doubt make some haters happy but would actually be pretty lame.

This audited statement will be presented to the general meeting on Thursday, and no doubt there will be yet more fireworks after that.

• Pride Toronto Audited Financial Statements []
• Pride Toronto to release financials before meeting []
• Toronto Pride passed test for federal funds [Canadian Press]

This post was updated to include Pride Toronto’s (not QUAIA’s) reception of federal money. Toronto Life regrets the error. January 26 at 5:11 p.m.

  • skinned

    The pulled funding is a travesty. The Calgary Stampede got over $1m last year yet Pride funding was denied by Tony Clement. This represents the shameless conservative moral agenda dictating where the money is distributed. I hope people wake up before the election this year.

  • Nic

    Well done Tony Clement there is nothing to be proud of

  • Jon

    Sorry, research fail. QUAIA had nothing to do with the Marquee funding. It was because of the controversy over funding them in 2009 and getting a backlash from the homophobic Conservative base.

    Have you been following this story for five minutes? Google “Diane Ablonczy” and “Pride Toronto”

  • RF Johns

    The lack of funding for an event that creates a large flow of money into Toronto and the GTA is without a doubt a stupid ignorant action by government .

    Other events that will attract people from the USA have to be encouraged.Ontario is not hard hit by the recession they have been atomic blasted with manufacturing closed and sent to USA due to Obama’s economic policy.

    Instead of the excessive waste of funds dedicated to athletic events this means Pan American games that will produce a black hole for money.

    The politicians will find out that even conservative budgets will have deficits as tax base is destroyed by lack of good paying jobs.

  • Clarity

    Enough scapegoating and finger pointing! Not to mention that there is barely one correct fact in this piece. Yikes. You’ve neglected to mention: fiscal mismanagement, organizational mismanagement, in-fighting, terrible decision making by both staff and board. A veritable hornet’s nest! The federal money from heritage Canada was a one time grant and should never have been budgeted for under responsible leadership, especially under a Tory homophobic government. Short sighted to say the least. QuAIA has Zero federal, municipal, provincial funding–are you crazy?! Nor can a queer group that advocates for justice in Palestine exactly be held responsible for this mess. How ridiculous is that? So look inward, check your ‘facts’ and get the real story behind pride as it faces the growing pains of Are we still a political movement question with many forces that would prefer us to simply be ‘gay, happy, colorful and conservative’! That’s your story. Do your work.

  • Devil’s Advocate

    Nothing wrong with finger pointing, Clarity, when it’s directed at a guilty party. In creating a connection between Pride and their opinions on events in the occupied territories, QIAIA gave the Feds the excuse they needed and I’m sure turned many Pride-goers off the whole event, including out-of-towners who would otherwise spend money here. QIAIA are entitled to voice their position (and they sure do), but in the context of Pride, it was a selfish and divisive move.

  • blank

    what a ridiculous story. The mismanagement of the organization rests soley on the shoulders of the ED and the board…QuAIA is being given far more credit than it dserves…if you check the statements, not only will you see overspending but also mismanagement – the ED’s wife made over 40,000 dollars for updating a website and sending out a newsletter – not bad coin. This is conflict of interest – doublaly made worse because at the Sept. AGM, the ED said that her wife was not working at Pride when the question was asked – so now whose face has egg on it? QuAIA or Pride? I’m pretty sure Pride.

  • Correction

    The statement in your article: “QUAIA still got some new federal money” appears to be incorrect. It looks like your wrote QuAIA when you meant to write Pride Toronto. In other words “Pride Toronto still got come new federal money”.

  • Troy Jackson

    This article is still grasping at the old tired scapegoat news…that QUAIA divided the Queer community. Actually it was PRIDE Toronto who divided the community. They were the ones who instead of coming to the community they went to homophobic Politicians, and Corporations armed with a video from a self professed “Activist” which was Propaganda 101 to say the least.

    Pride Called the Police on Community Activists when they went to return their awards. What did they think they were going to do…wreck the place? People whom they had given awards to? Insulting.

    If the writer of this article had attended any of the community advisory meetings they would know that their was much more going on behind the scenes besides the QUAIA controversy smoke screen. Money mismanagement, Lies and Cover Ups. Speak to anyone on this panel and they will probably tell you how shocked they are at the amount of “Problems” with the organization.

    Get the Facts and Forget the Fiction.