Niagara Pride is asking Western New Yorkers and local businesses to help with its 2021 holiday shopping online auction by donating items or services to be part of the event. The auction will start on Black Friday, Nov. 26, and run through Saturday, Dec. 4. All items need to be donated by Nov. 20.
Niagara Pride is seeking gift cards, home goods, art or home décor, wine or alcohol, collectible items, gift baskets filled with various items, or other items to be auctioned off.
To donate auction items, email [email protected] or call 716-298-7656. For more information about Niagara Pride’s services or to donate directly to the organization, visit www.niagarapride.org.
Ronald Piaseczny, president of Niagara Pride, said, “Events like this auction and fundraisers we do throughout the year, like ‘WNY Shopping With Pride,’ are vital to the continued operations of our agency. Many people are not aware of this, but all of our programming and services are funded 100% by donations from the community. We do not receive any grants to fund the numerous programs and activities that we provide. Additionally, all of our services are managed by solely by our board of directors, who volunteer their time; we have no paid staff.”
Piaseczny added, “We are very excited about this event. We have received a number of amazing items that we think folks will want to bid on, including an autographed Dylan Cozens jersey courtesy of the Buffalo Sabres, original art pieces from local artists, gift cards and wines from area wineries, Buffalo Bills items courtesy of M&T Bank, and other great items.”
Proceeds from this auction will go toward the continued funding of existing programming, as well as help with the creation of the following new services in 2022:
√ Establishing an LGBTQ+ youth vocational training conference;
√ The creation of a virtual WNY Pride 5K run/walk;
√ A scholarship for a local LGBTQ+ youth going to college;
√ Additional diversity trainings for the community; and
√ More support programming aimed at LGBTQ+ seniors and people of color
Niagara Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization serving LGBTQ+ individuals and families in Western New York, with a focus on Niagara County.
Piaseczny said “due to the amazing support of individuals and business in the area,” Niagara Pride was able to achieve the following accomplishments in 2021:
√ Created “WNY Shopping with Pride,” an event that will be held yearly to highlight and showcase LGBTQ+-owned businesses;
√ Provided free diversity and inclusivity training to various local businesses and agencies; and
√ Helped Oliver Street Merchant Association launch the first community Pride celebration in North Tonawanda; held a historic five Pride flag-raising ceremonies throughout Niagara County; hosted several Pride events in June;
√ Implemented an LGBTQ+ community needs assessment for Niagara County, which looks at how the LGBTQ+ community feels in terms of safety throughout Niagara County as well as examines how open and affirming providers in the fields of physical health, mental health, housing, legal services and others are;
√ Held several donation drives that resulted in 2,213 pairs of socks being donated to local homeless shelters and over 180 backpacks filled with school supplies being donated to LGBTQ+ youth;
√ Created online and in-person meet-ups to provide safe and affirming spaces and opportunities for LGBTQ+ youth and adults to socialize during the pandemic;
√ Conducted focus groups to explore elder abuse amongst the senior LGBTQ+ population in Niagara County;
√ Hosted a speaker event, where local authors and professors Alex Bitterman and Daniel Baldwin Hess presented on “The Life and Afterlife of Gay Neighborhoods”;
√ Created a monthly online community provider town hall where individuals and families could interact directly with representatives from various agencies and organizations to link with services;
√ Held free community trainings on topics such as banking and budgeting, healthy eating, minority-owned business opportunities in Niagara County, gambling addiction in the LGBTQ+ community, financial disparities within the LGBTQ+ community, and other topics;
√ Created an online directory of LGBTQ+-affirming community providers, including health care, insurance, mental health, legal, spiritual and other services;
√ Created an LGBTQ+ community garden in Niagara Falls to demonstrate LGBTQ+ folks are present in the community and an integral part of Niagara County;
√ Partnered with SAGEVets to host two ongoing monthly meetings aimed at assisting LGBTQ+ veterans with accessing services and benefits, as well as providing a safe space and supportive environment to socialize with other LGBTQ+ veterans;
√ Created the first-ever WNY Pride interfaith committee, where spiritual leaders, clergy and leaders of faith-based organizations can meet on a regular basis to begin addressing the spiritual needs of the LGBTQ+ community; and
√ Finally, through partnerships with other organizations, created several family events open to all local LGBTQ+ individuals during the summer and fall seasons.