Christopher Street West Has Turned Itself Around Financially

la pride
CSW Board President Estevan Montemayor and Executive Director Madonna Cacciatore (Photo by Joseph A. Daniels)

Christopher Street West, the nonprofit organization that stages the annual LA Pride parade and festival in West Hollywood, is no longer in the red.

A review of its 2017 tax return shows that CSW’s revenue for the year was $3.85 million and expenses were $3.48 million, leaving it ahead by $373,332. In the 2016 fiscal year, CSW saw a loss of $415,000.

The sale of festival tickets accounted for $1.3 million of CSW’s 2017 fiscal year revenue. Another $366,000 came from beverage sales at the festival and another $123,000 from food sales, charges for exhibitor booths and other Pride-related sources. The West Hollywood City Council in May voted to allocate $1.87 million to support the annual LA Pride event, an increase of 70% from the year before.  The majority of that went to cover public safety. 

CSW’s financial turnaround came after a major shakeup of its management and board of directors. In May 2018, Chris Classen, the controversial president of CSW’s board, was replaced by board member Estevan Montemayor. In July of that year, Madonna Cacciatore became the organization’s first full-time executive director. 

Classen and board member Craig Bowers, who were partners in an events promotion business, recast the Pride festival in 2016 as a music festival that some labeled “the gay Coachella.” That move, which targeted Millennials, angered older LGBT people. Also upset were transgender and lesbian members of the community, whose specific programming originally was reduced by Classen and Bowers. Several LGBT groups called for a boycott of the event, which lost $395,000.

The parade was replaced in 2017 by the Resist March, a protest of actions taken by Donald Trump’s administration, although the festival continued. The festival was radically reduced in size because of construction taking place in West Hollywood Park.  Revenue attributed to the Pride event was $1.5 million in 2016 and $1.8 million in 2017.

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WeHo conscience
WeHo conscience
3 years ago

Thank you for reporting on this Hank. Good to see a revamped CSW is returning to its original purpose, it’s roots and to solvency. Your numbers are confusing. Can you clarify? The article reports that 2017 Pride revenue was $1.8M from various sources and elsewhere it states 2017 revenue was $3.85M with expenditures of $3.48M. Where is the extra $2M from? Are you including the city’s public safety contribution within CSW’s budget? Also are there updated attendance figures? And are they more reliable? Previously CSW was notorious for inflating fabricated attendance figures. It’d be useful to know what real attendance… Read more »

Former Staff
3 years ago

You are correct. The numbers include contributions from the City of West Hollywood. I am unaware of attendance figures. However, CSW over the last few Pride festivals tracked attendance using electronic devices, which ensured the accuracy of numbers that used to be highly inflated.

jimmy palmieri
3 years ago

It’s funny , that when people that actually seem to genuinely care take over, and help make last years Pride the best ever. Where as many of the fringe were ignored by the leadership of decades passed, the community needs misunderstood by the last group in charge, this current leadership seems sincere. NEVER had leaders of the past attended a single sober working group meeting, let alone assist us in creating what is now #SIZZLE the largest FREE destination area of the festival. Madonna sat through a long meeting with the #SIZZLE working group and actually was not only impressed… Read more »

Mark T
Mark T
3 years ago

The biggest improvement this year was having Santa Monica Blvd closed the entire weekend. It was a brilliant idea to have the streets open for free with the paid admission area in the park (Friday in the park was also free). Great job after the prior 2 years of disasters – keep it up in 2020.

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