The Portland Pride Waterfront Festival and Parade is an expensive undertaking. In order to cover those costs, Pride Northwest utilizes a combination of funding mechanisms. These include registration fees, fundraising throughout the year, sales at the festival, gate donations, and sponsorship. No one is turned away at the gate, for lack of ability to pay. As one of the largest donation-based Pride festivals around, we depend on focused support from those other areas. One of those areas is sponsorship.
We don’t know how it is for other Prides, but for Portland, the vast majority of our sponsors come to us through LGBTQ employee-led efforts inside companies of all sizes. For them, participation in Pride is a source of empowerment for bringing broad change to their professional environments, and support to their community. We see this play out over time through changes in company employment policies, inclusive contractual requirements, and other environmental changes.
Sponsorship of Portland Pride has grown in recent years and we decided to ask a few of our sponsors to share why supporting the LGBTQ community and Pride is important to them. Through the rest of June, we will share some of these stories with our community.
We start with Autodesk, a first-time sponsor. While national (and even international) in scope, Autodesk has a solid local footprint. Why is supporting Pride important to Autodesk?
“Autodesk is committed to the communities where we live – Pride embraces all the same values that our company holds dear – diversity, community, and collaboration. We are proud to be a first-time sponsor of Portland Pride. We have already seen the impact in our office, as some have enthusiastically jumped into the planning of this event who normally have stayed in the shadows.
Autodesk is about to move into downtown Portland, and we look forward to being a good community citizen. As part of that, we want to embrace the different cultures and personalities that will surround our new home. We have both our Diversity team and our Impact team, each working to help address the challenges of inclusion, of making a positive difference in the world and encouraging our employees to be more open, accepting and involved.
And it is not just Portland! We have our San Francisco office (of course!), Boston, Toronto, and even Montreal all participating in their local Pride events this year. In fact, we are having a lot of fun “competing” with our new logos and designs that the teams have created for their own events. I suspect there will be some trading of t-shirts in our near future.
All of this is possible because of the company’s commitment to embracing diversity in our workforce. Pride is a first step for our office to be more involved with the LGBTQ community, but it won’t be our last. We look forward to working with Pride Northwest in the coming years to strengthen our commitment to the LGBTQ community, and making Autodesk a company that has a dynamic and diverse workforce.”