A Letter to the Community

Dear Community,

The Okanagan Pride Society held its Annual General Meeting on October 18, 2017. We wanted to update you on some new, pressing developments.

A New Era for Pride in Kelowna

A motion to rebrand and rename “Okanagan Pride Society” to “Kelowna Pride Society” was approved. This change more accurately reflects the geographic reach of the society’s activities and will allow us to leverage the strong tourism brand of Kelowna when marketing Pride, particularly to tourists. The name change in no way narrows the inclusivity of the society. Members of LGBT2Q+ and ally communities are welcome to celebrate and support Pride in Kelowna, regardless of their geographic location. The change will be ushered in gradually. Watch for a refreshed logo, updated names on our social channels and a new web URL—no action required on your part!

A New Board

The Board of the Pride Society experienced substantial changes at the AGM, with four of nine Board members choosing not to run again and no nominations coming forward from the community. As a result, the five returning Board members (the minimum required) have graciously taken on dual, interim roles to sustain the activities of the society. Huge, incredible thanks to:

  • Allison Staten, Secretary & Interim President
  • Duell Donaldson, Director of Volunteers & Interim Vice-President
  • Davina Kula, Director of Education & Interim Director of Communications
  • Jaquelyn Furman, Director of Transgender Community Development & Interim Treasurer
  • Nagata Prescott, Director of Events

An Uncertain Future

With such drastic changes in Board membership, the operation and sustainability of the society is frankly in jeopardy. Unlike many non-profit organizations, the Pride Society is a working Board that relies entirely on the Board members and volunteers to plan and execute Pride events and activities. There are absolutely no paid employees or staff.

The society is at a crossroads. The reality is the level of Pride activities staged during the last few years simply won’t happen with a team of five Board members and no paid staff. If the society is to maintain the momentum of past years, a more-complete roster of Board members or additional human resourcing will be required. Otherwise, Pride in Kelowna may look very different.

Our Appeal

The society needs some outstanding community advocates to come forward to bolster the membership of the Board. People with passion. People with determination. People who understand that the Pride movement matters. And if you have skills in planning, promoting and hosting large-scale events, all the better! If you are interested or wish to learn more about Board positions, please contact Past President Dustyn Baulkham at dustyn@okanaganpride.com.

The Board will assess the situation at the end of November. The path forward could include appointing new Board members, hiring support or resources or calling a Special General Meeting in early 2018 to consider the future of the society. The last option is certainly not preferred, but may be necessary given the current challenges.

We hope to continue celebrating the strength, equality, dignity and self-determination of the LGBT2Q+ community in Kelowna and the Okanagan. If you have any questions, please contact Past President Dustyn Baulkham at dustyn@okanaganpride.com.

Sincerely,

Board of Directors, Okanagan Pride Society  (soon-to-be Kelowna Pride Society)