Financial picture improves dramatically for Vancouver Pride Society

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      Although the Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) ended the 2017 fiscal year in a deficit, some tough decisions and resourcefulness helped them climb out of it.

      The financial statements for the 2018 fiscal year (ending on August 31, 2018), prepared by independent auditor BDO Canada LLP, were presented at the VPS annual general meeting held on November 24 at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.

      As the VPS started the 2018 financial year with a deficit balance of $136,368, the nonprofit society took a number of measures. According to the report, after the society met with the City of Vancouver about invoices from the 2016 and 2017 Pride events, the city agreed to a deduction of $55,000.

      Meanwhile, on April 4 the VPS announced that the Davie Street Party—a multiblock street party held before the parade that includes several stages, vendors, and entertainment—would be cancelled for 2018.

      Although the Davie Street Party was one of the VPS’s most popular events, it was also one of the most expensive, with city and regulatory costs at approximately $79,500 for that event ($37,000 of which went to policing, security, and traffic management).

      Accordingly, cancelling the party proved to be not only a major cost-saving move but one that allowed a reallocation of resources that resulted in increased revenue at other events.

      In 2017, the Davie Street Party accrued expenses of $209,271 and generated revenue of $217,505, with a surplus of $8,234. With the Davie Street Party cancelled, the focus shifted toward other events, including Pride Premiere, held around the Vancouver Art Gallery.

      Although expenses for Pride Premiere mushroomed from $15,651 in 2017 to $67,540 in 2018, revenue also surged upward: from $15,790 in 2017 to $94,490 in 2018—an increase of almost 500 percent.

      After expenses, Pride Premiere generated only $139 in 2017, but it garnered a significant surplus of $26,950 in 2018.

      Overall, revenue increased from approximately $1.56 million in 2017 to $1.8 million in 2018—a growth of almost 14 percent.

      For overall revenue over expenses, the VPS had a deficit in 2017 of $238,626, but it achieved a surplus in 2018 of $181,752.

      Accordingly, although at the end of the 2017 fiscal year the VPS balance was at a deficit of $136,368, by the end of 2018, the VPS balance was at a surplus of $45,384 (prior to indirect expenses).

      In other VPS matters, the VPS affirmed it will take the same approach to police participation in the 2019 parade as it did in 2018: police will be able to participate but without uniforms, weapons, or vehicles.

      “As a board, we’re really pleased with the number of folks that showed up this year,” VPS cochair Michelle Fortin stated at the AGM, regarding police participation in the 2018 parade. “It was the largest contingent this year for them…and right now, we’re really pleased with the level of participation and the type of participation.”

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