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Pride gets new sponsors

Pride 2008’s finances seem to be back on track, thanks to two new sponsors who leapt on board last week.

The Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre and Cathay Pacific Airways will fill holes left by major corporate sponsors including Air Canada, Hewlett Packard and IKEA, who all withdrew cash and in-kind sponsorships in the last few months.

“Cathay Pacific is one of the best luxury airlines in the world with a solid reputation and the Wall Centre is both a premiere hotel and a Vancouver landmark. We are ecstatic about our engagement with both of these exceptional companies,” said Vancouver Pride Society (VPS) president John Boychuk in a press release Jun 26.

The Wall Centre joins the VPS’ corporate roster with a sponsorship of $25,000. Jeff Graham, the Wall Centre’s director of marketing, said getting involved with Pride keeps the hotel involved in the community.

“The Pride parade is definitely part of the community in the West End and we saw it as a great way to help out,” he told Xtra West. “We see it as giving back to the community.”

Cathay Pacific will contribute a partial cash and in-kind sponsorship, which translates into discounted airfares so the VPS can send people to outreach programs in other cities, or bring people to Vancouver.

Phillipe Lacamp, Cathay Pacific’s Canadian vice president, said the airline came on board at the behest of a former Vancouver mayor.

“It was simple. We got a call from a patron — Senator Larry Campbell — who mentioned some corporate sponsors had stepped out,” Lacamp said.

Lacamp said supporting Pride was a natural choice, given that Cathay Pacific sponsors other major Vancouver events including the Dragon Boat Festival and the Jazz Festival.

The new sponsors’ support comes as a “huge weight off the Society’s shoulders since the recent loss of major financial backing from several corporate sponsors had left the VPS in a scramble to find new funding,” says the VPS’ press release.