Throughout the years, the Metropolitan Business Association (MBA – The Central Florida LGBT chamber of commerce) saw the need for a Pride festival that focused on building unity and cohesiveness within the local community and also encouraging the rest of the country to rally to our side while we work to change the laws in Florida. In 2005, Come Out With Pride, Inc was formed as its own corporation under the MBA umbrella. This allowed for Come Out With Pride to have their own board of directors and mission for the community utilizing the 501c3 tax status.
The first weekend of October was chosen for many reasons. It aligned with National Coming Out Day (October 11th) and National Gay and Lesbian History Month, it could take advantage of the cooler fall days, and central Florida already had a major LGBT event in June (Gay Days).
Since that day in 2005, Come Out With Pride (COWP) has grown into a major Pride event, becoming one of the largest Pride festivals in all of Florida with attendance at upwards of 150,000. Between the vendors, entertainment offerings, Disney Kid Zone, parade, fireworks, variety of food and beverage choices, this event caters to the diverse audience that make up our wonderful community.
An important mission of the COWP event is to give back to our community through charitable initiatives, including cash grants, promotional and logistical assistance to other organizations/causes, which accounted for over $5,000 in 2015 (cash and in kind).
COWP is already implementing ways to continue to improve and build upon this incredible event in the future, without losing sight of where everything started. It will continue to spread a message of acceptance and diversity while engaging with community activities and educational forums. Though created to commemorate National Coming Out Day, it is a fun event for everyone to enjoy, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, age, or race.
COWP is a 501c3 non profit organization run by a volunteer board of 7 directors elected every 2 years and a production team made entirely of volunteers.
To learn more about our bylaws and our latest financial information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org