Ferndale Pride donates $25,000 to local charities

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published September 5, 2017

FERNDALE — Ferndale Pride made the largest donation it’s ever made in a single year by donating $25,000 total to five local charities.

Pride donated $13,000 to the Ferndale Community Foundation and $3,000 each to Affirmations, Gender-Identity Network Alliance, Matrix Human Services MAC Health, and Transgender Michigan.

With this distribution, Pride crossed the $100,000 mark in donations made since it was established in 2011.

“It’s a lot of hard work, but it’s fun work and it has a good feeling behind it because of what it goes to,” Pride Chair Julia Music said. “I talk to people who are like, ‘That event was my first Pride festival. That was the first time I was comfortable. I met friends who were trans for the first time.’ Those are huge things for people on a social level too. I feel like it really gives back. The money is wonderful, but it also gives people a really great life perspective.”

Pride was able to raise $14,000 more than last year’s total donation of $11,000. Music credited Pride’s fundraising chair, Andrew Shankles, for helping reach this goal, as she said he wanted to do more fundraisers, of which there were about 12, and get out into the community more.

Music also said they were able to bring on more sponsors to help cover some of the basic costs of the event.

“I participate in a lot of the programs the groups put on, because I like to be in touch and actually work with the charities, and I know how much it means to people to have a space on Thanksgiving to have Thanksgiving, or to have something like a counselor talk to them when they’re transitioning,” she said. “There’s so many things that it ends up doing in our community. Everything from youth support, schools to feeding people. It really goes a long way. So it means a lot to know that (the money) stays in Ferndale, and it helps people right in the southeast Michigan area.”

Affirmations Executive Director Susan Erstamer said the $3,000 donation will go directly back into budgeting the organization’s weeklong Pride activities next year.

This includes doing healthy living activities, hosting an art gallery and movie night, and Affirmations’ annual youth prom.

“Next year, our goal is to have two activities a day, Tuesday through Friday,” she said. “Then, of course, on Pride day we’re open 12 hours, and we have lots of foot traffic that comes through here.”

Erstamer said it’s incredible to keep getting this money from Pride year after year, especially with a donation of this size.

“It’s more than we ever received since I’ve been here, which is going on two years,” she said. “I’m very thankful and appreciative. It really helps us to do what we should be doing during Ferndale Pride.”