Two Lehigh Valley-based LGBT organizations will merge in an effort that organizers say will support the production of the area's annual Pride festival.
The Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center will add a volunteer Pride Festival Planning Committee to assist Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley in producing Allentown's annual Pride in the Park Festival.
The boards of directors for both organizations unanimously voted for the merger.
Greater Lehigh Valley President Shawn Bausher said in a statement that the organization wanted to ensure the Pride in the Park would continue “well into the future” as they considered the upcoming 25th year of festival in 2018. He added that this merger will add professional staff “to support the festival and will also lead to more resources for our community by cutting out duplicative administrative costs between the two organizations.”
“Our board is very enthusiastic about this proposed merger,” Bausher said. “Our current board leaders plan to continue to stay involved with festival planning through the Pride Festival Planning Committee at Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center and we are grateful that the center is willing to take this on."
Pride of the Greater Lehigh Valley is an all-volunteer organization, while Bradbury-Sullican employs five full-time and three part-time employees. However, Bradbury-Sullivan Executive Director Adrian Shanker noted the center’s roots.
"Our organization also started as an all-volunteer organization, so we understand how all-consuming it is for volunteer leaders to manage a nonprofit, let alone produce an annual festival,” Shanker said. “We look forward to continuing to work with volunteers to produce an annual LGBT Pride festival and we hope that, through this merger, the festival can be stronger than ever before."
Shanker told PGN that the center’s volunteer committee will have a similar model to its group that plans its annual Fall Gala & LGBT Community Leadership Awards. It will include a group of board members, staff members and community members. To get involved, visit http://www.bradburysullivancenter.org/volunteer.