For the third month in a row the Pride Centre of Edmonton has issued an urgent call for donations through its monthly newsletter. It warns that it is dangerously close to closing its doors.
Since December, the Centre has maintained that they require urgent funding to cover their operating costs. The initial decision to send a call out to the community comes after the Pride Centre’s board of directors found that the operating budget will only cover a couple of months worth of operating costs.
The Centre’s youth program coordinator, Brendan Van Alstine, says that the majority of their funding comes from “the generosity of the community.” He says that it costs over $200 a day to keep the centre running after factoring in rent, utilities and a staff of four. The Centre receives funding to run its youth programs, but that does not cover costs to run other groups for seniors or trans folk who meet there on a weekly basis.
Recently the Centre received some help from Edmonton’s newest nightclub, Play, which has held fundraising events. That has helped to pay some bills, says the Centre’s administrator Will Sutherland, who cannot hide his optimism despite the situation the Centre faces.
The Centre’s financial troubles are the most recent growing pains, which also include moving locations twice in the past two years and a battle with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) over obtaining charitable status.
Established after Edmonton’s former queer centre, the Gay and Lesbian Community Centre of Edmonton (GLCCE) decided to close its doors, the Pride Centre is still without chartable status two years into its existence. The GLCCE had its charitable status revoked by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for being too political to qualify as a charitable organization.
The CRA has refused to grant the Pride Centre charitable status claiming that it is connected to the GLCCE and therefore ineligible. The Centre has obtained counsel and has been fighting the CRA for over two years, arguing that it is a new association with a separate management and entitled to have charitable status.
Van Alstine believes that having that charitable status is central to raising funds and in order to give a tax break incentive to donors. He also feels strong that they will be able to make their case and is hopeful that they will obtain charitable status soon.
When contacted Canada Revenue Agency representative, Ron Quinn, said that they could not discuss third party information saying it would breech its confidentiality agreements.