City throws Pride Centre of Edmonton a lifeline

New funding is what the Centre needs to go from "treading water" to stability, says vice-chair

On Mon, Aug 24, Edmonton City Council supported a motion brought forward by Ward 4 councillor Ben Henderson that the Pride Centre of Edmonton should be considered to receive $24,000 in funding from the Family and Community Support Services fund (FCSS).

The motion, a result of conversations between the Pride Centre, Edmonton Mayor Stephen Mandel and former Ward 4 Councillor Michael Phair, recommends the Pride Centre be allocated $24,000 over two years. This number amounts to $1,000 a month which is what the Centre needs to go from “treading water to creating sustainability including making way for planned giving, gaining charitable status and applying for casino money,” says Pride Centre vice-chair Wade King.

Working with an Ontario-based lawyer that specializes in charitable issues, the Pride Centre is also on track for receiving charitable status from the federal government in the coming months, says King.

City Council’s vote was not the final hurdle for funding, because council cannot spend from the FSCC fund. The fund is allocated from within the City of Edmonton administration, and it is intended to “promote and enhance well-being among individuals, families, and communities.” Henderson thinks that the Pride Centre is a prime candidate for the funding because it is an organization that aligns with the FSCC mandate.

The motion will now work its way through the city administration for final approval. King and Henderson both suspect that the money will be approved. Prior to the motion being brought forward, the city administration investigated new funding for the Pride Centre, and according to Henderson, “the report came back glowing in the Pride Centre’s favour.”

If the money from the City is approved and charitable status is granted it will be smoother sailing for the Pride Centre, which has moved twice in recent years and is still experiencing growing pains in its new location. The Centre is also trying to resolve what it needs to be for the communities it serves. “We are changing to meet the needs of an ever changing queer community,” says King.

“The Pride Centre does a lot of things and is needed,” remarks Henderson, who remembers taking to Edmonton’s streets against Anita Bryant’s visit to Edmonton in the ’80s. “I believed that by now things would be better — in some ways they are” says Henderson, adding, “but not enough has changed.”

Pride Centre of Edmonton
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