During the month of June, Pride events bloom across the country. In every state, these events are an encouraging reminder that the path forward needs to be one that recognizes, respects, and celebrates diversity, equality, and inclusion.
To learn more about Utah Pride and to hear about the role DipJar has played in supporting this momentum, we sat down with Kevin Randall, the communications director for the Utah Pride Center’s Pride Festival. The event was held on June 4 and 5 and attracted more than 75,000 people to Salt Lake City. When we spoke, just a few days after, Kevin was exhausted and elated at the same time.
Founded in 1991, Utah Pride’s mission is to unite, empower, and celebrate Utah’s diverse LGBTQ+ community by providing a safe and welcoming space for education, partnership, service, and events that advance everyone’s collective health, wellness, and success.
Utah Pride is an events-based organization that supports the community through mental health services; programming for youth and families, teens, adults, and seniors; suicide prevention efforts; education and training; and a community space where people can gather and connect. At any given time, more than 300 people are receiving direct services through Utah Pride. While programming is not free, no one is turned away for lack of funds.
Members of the LGBTQ community can often feel really isolated and alone. This can be especially true when people come from very religious and conservative backgrounds. In many cases, teens who have come out are rejected by their families and become homeless. The Pride Center offers a home. Not a place to sleep, but a place where people will love and support each other.
“While Salt Lake City is very LGBTQ-friendly,” he said, “there isn’t much support in many parts of the state.” Doing outreach in these areas – difficult in the best of times – was further complicated by the pandemic.
For its good works, the Utah Pride Center is recognized and rewarded with strong support from the community. Pride Week – and the Pride Festival – attracted more than 75,000 registered attendees (and close to 1,000 volunteers!). Many more than this were on hand to watch the parade. 130,000 people participated in the 2022 Pride Week celebration, which included 14 events over an eight day period. While the Pride Festival is the single largest fundraising event (typically generating more than $1M), it is not the only one.
The Pride Spectacular and Queer Prom are also opportunities for the community to show their support for Utah Pride and its mission. Kevin told us that many corporate sponsors of the parade and the Pride Festival are planning to support the organization throughout the year, rather than just during June.
As things return to something closer to normal, in-person events are once again becoming important for the Utah Pride Center. When it comes to in-person events, DipJar shines. In fact, since acquiring ten DipJars in 2019, Utah Pride has used them to raise more than $66,000!
It is through stories like this, where an organization is able to touch and improve the lives of so many, that the real value of DipJar becomes clear. Making it easy for people to give in the moment can make a huge difference and we are proud to be there to help.