Western North Carolina is blessed with an unusually high concentration of nonprofit organizations, many of which are intent on serving the LGBTQ community. We seek to uplift and support these organizations. We never want to be in competition with them. One of the reasons we set up the Community Partner Fund is to ensure that our success drives resources to other organizations. We are not trying to grow Blue Ridge Pride. We are trying to grow our community – together.
Our community partners tend to be expert at delivering specific services and at advocating for specific groups and issues. We view it as our role to facilitate communications and services across the community.
We are often asked by one group or another to exclude certain organizations from the festival. We rarely do. Our role is to create gathering spaces that invite all to engage in civil dialogue. At the festival, we encourage our partner groups to feel free to take strong political positions and to share their points of view (within their exhibit area). We also expect them to allow others to do the same. Our role in the community is to ensure that there is always a watering hole where all feel safe to gather.
As we grow, we have found it necessary to contract out certain work. We will likely take on certain staff positions. Nonetheless, we seek to remain as volunteer-driven as possible. Volunteers keep us anchored to our community roots and values.