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Egale puts gala on hold

Annual event will be pushed back to 2016

In 2013, Kathleen Wynne was awarded the LGBT leadership award at Egale’s annual gala.  Credit: Premier of Ontario photography/Flickr

There will be no annual gala for Egale — not this year, at least.

In a blog post published on Aug 25, 2015, Egale staff wrote that the ritzy event, which would have been celebrating its seventh anniversary, has been rescheduled for 2016.

Helen Kennedy, Egale’s executive director, says that with two major events already on the books this year — Out at Night, which brought attention to youth homelessness, and Outshine, a biennial GSA summit that took place in Winnipeg — and Egale’s 20th anniversary on the horizon, that they would move the gala to the spring.

“Those were really, really time consuming events for us,” Kennedy says. “A lot of the same sponsors and people we go to for the gala also helped us in support of those events.”

The Egale gala, which can run as high as $300 a plate, is a veritable who’s who of Toronto’s well-heeled LGBT and ally community. In 2013, LGBT leadership award winner Kathleen Wynne faced protest from community members who felt that, at the time, she had not done enough to advance LGBT rights issues.

The LGBT leadership award will be presented early in 2016, according to Kennedy.

Egale gets about six percent of its total revenue from donations, according to their 2013 Canadian tax return. A majority of their funding comes from government grants.

Kennedy says its revenue ebbs and flows, regardless of whether or not a gala is held. “It’s not a huge revenue generator for us normally,” she says, noting that it is mostly put on as a way to thank community members for their contributions, and to give people an opportunity to network.

Egale organizers are considering whether they should permanently move the event to the spring. “We really enjoy the gala,” Kennedy says. “It’s a highlight for us of the year.”