Following the money at Twin Cities Pride

It’s not all fun and twerking at the Twin Cities Pride Festival and Parade. It’s big money, too, and some of it was yours.

The annual event held in downtown Minneapolis is put on each year by a nonprofit called Twin Cities Pride. It’s the trademark of a nonprofit officially named Gay-Lesbian-Bisexual Transgender Pride-Twin Cities (the three hyphens are legally part of the name).

The nonprofit corporation was founded in 1994, although the event itself dates back (in various forms) to 1972.

The pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 event. A scaled-back version reappeared in 2021, with the full version coming back in 2022. The 2023 version was expected to draw pre-pandemic crowds of 400,000+ for the weekend of events.

Pre-pandemic, the Twin Cities Pride nonprofit raised and spent more than $1 million a year putting on the show. According to filings at the IRS, most of the $1 million raised and spent each year went toward event logistics and entertainment.

It’s worth noting, though, that the security bill for the event was approaching $100,000 per year, pre-pandemic.

The nonprofit’s leadership has suggested that the event has outgrown its long-time Loring Park location. And rising security costs are playing a role in their deliberations about moving the event out of Minneapolis. Axios reports,

Though the event’s growth is a major factor behind the potential move, the cost of permits, security, and shutting down streets for the parade are “astronomical” in Minneapolis, [Executive Director Andi] Otto told Axios.

Much of the funding for the admission-free event comes from corporate and other sponsors. Target was this year’s lead sponsor. Also listed as a lead sponsor is Metro Transit, a unit of the Metropolitan Council regional government.

Utilities and hospitals are prominent on the list, as are media outlets such as the Minneapolis Star Tribune and state-sponsored Minnesota Public Radio. Curiously, Planned Parenthood is also on the list of sponsors.

On the TC Pride website, the omnipresent “Donate” button never leaves the screen. However, a search for the organization on the state Attorney General’s registered charities database produces no results.

In most years, TC Pride receives a modest grant from the state Arts Board.

Here is the Board’s description of its most recent grant to TC Pride,

Here is the Board’s description of the 2019 grant,

This year’s edition of the event was notable for another reason. As reported by independent journalist Rebecca Brannon, the parade featured content that bordered on public obscenity, performed in front of children. [This AlphaNews report has complete coverage of the uncoverage.]

Even more disturbing was this festival programming aimed a minors, as reported by Axios,

[Andi] Otto also added a fenced-in “Youth Hideaway” at the center of the park, an adult-free zone for visitors to find LGBTQ resources, try on gender-affirming clothing, and have a safe space for expression.

Indeed, a “Youth Hideaway” appears in the yellow zone of the official 2023 festival map of Loring Park, at the park’s geographic center,

The official TC Pride FAQ page has this to say about the youth zone,

Your tax dollars at work!