What does CSW spend on Pride?
A non-profit group, Christopher Street West (CSW), organizes the LA Pride parade and festival in West Hollywood. According to their publicly-available tax return, they spent $2.4 million in 2014. We don’t know yet how much they spent in 2015 or 2016.
The 2014 total included half a million dollars in fees waived by the City of West Hollywood, so the cash spending was below $2 million.
By comparison, the Pride organizers in New York and San Francisco spent $1.6 million each, excluding grants made to other groups. San Diego’s spending was $1.4 million.
Some organizers had much smaller budgets. For example, the Boston group spent less than $300,000. We assume there must have been big differences in the scale and scope of events and/or responsibilities versus CSW.
Growth in spending
How much has CSW’s spending grown in recent years, ending in 2014? It grew 25% in the most recent year. It rose more than 50% over three years. It increased almost 75% from 2007 to 2014, a seven-year period.
In 2014 at least, CSW’s spending increase wasn’t unusual. That same year, spending grew roughly 20% in Atlanta, 30% in Washington, DC, and 50% in Houston.
How did CSW spend its $2.4 million? The single biggest item was about $500,000, but not in cash. It was for permit fees, which were waived by the City. This item was 21% of total spending.
Other items included 19% for rentals, 15% for labor, 9% for entertainers, 7% for production, 7% for security/medical, and 4% for the beverage program. Together, those items made up 61% of spending and almost $1.5 million.
CSW’s $225,000 for entertainers was much more than Atlanta’s roughly $120,000, Boston’s about $100,000, and Washington, DC’s $85,000.
CSW didn’t spend any money on employees in 2014. That was also true in Boston, Houston, and Washington, DC. The organizations in New York, San Diego, and San Francisco had $250,000 to $300,000 in employee compensation. We assume the groups without employees used some combination of volunteers and paid contractors to complete their tasks.
In 2014, CSW received $1 million in contributions. Together, those contributions represented 42% of CSW’s revenue. Contributions were split evenly between cash and non-cash. The non-cash contributions were permit fees waived by the City.
Another 32% of revenue came from selling tickets to the festival — about $750,000. Put another way, festival-goers covered roughly 30% of the combined cost of the festival, parade, and CSW organization. If non-cash costs were excluded, festival-goers covered 40% of the total. Those percentages were stable in the years leading up to 2014.
Almost $400,000 in revenue came from the beverage program, or about $300,000 after expenses. Another $200,000 or so was paid by exhibitors and groups in the parade.
There is a strong similarity between the revenue streams for CSW and the San Diego group, which puts on a parade and music festival. About a third of San Diego’s total expenses in 2014 were covered by ticket sales. The combined booth and parade entry fees were almost the same in dollar terms for the two groups. Both had a few hundred thousand dollars in beverage revenue. The big differences were in contributions received, especially non-cash contributions.
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