Stop enabling Delta Foundation

Delta Foundation leaders head back to their burrows. Do they care? (Spoiler alert: No.)


One thing I’m learning in therapy is that when I have someone in my life who’s spoiled rotten and who doesn’t have my best interests in mind, then at some point, not only do I have to call them to account, I also have to hold their enablers accountable.

And I include myself.

For instance, who’s enabling President Trump’s rotten behavior? Republicans in Congress. Picketing and haranguing people such as Pat Toomey and Tim Murphy are ways we can hold them to account.

In Pittsburgh’s queer community, who do we know who’s spoiled rotten? The Delta Foundation. And we bloggers and (some) reporters have spilled a lot of real and virtual ink over the past few years documenting arrogant behavior by Delta Foundation’s leadership. (1, 2, 3, 4, 5)

But Delta Foundation, like Honey Badger several years back, don’t give a shit.

And I’m not enabling them any more, and that’s why I’m not setting foot anywhere near this weekend’s EQT Frack You March, or anywhere near the affiliated event on Liberty Avenue called (I think) Let’s Spend a Lot of Other People’s Money on High-Priced Entertainment and Claim It Helps Queer People. (Official hashtag: #FreedomToGetDrunkInPublic.)

(Sue — I may not have those official names right. — Trish)

I’ve written before, at length, about Delta’s finances.

According to their most recent available IRS Form 990, in 2014 Delta hauled in $921,379:

  • They spent more than $510,000 on Pridefest events, including $145,220 on entertainers.
  • They spent $83,578 on salaries for themselves and $147,874 on their own office expenses.
  • They spent $92,602 on travel.
  • They spent $39,488 on food and beverages.

Do you know how much they gave away on grants and awards to LGBTQ-related causes? $17,058.

That’s less than half of what they spent on their own meals.

Don’t take my word for it … go look for yourself:

They are not a charity. They are a joke.

We can all keep being angry with Delta Foundation, or we can turn our anger on Delta Foundation’s enablers — their donors and our elected officials, and I’m looking at you, Bill Peduto — who have allowed Delta to assume leadership it doesn’t deserve as the de facto spokesmen (and I use spokesmen deliberately) for all things LGBTQ.

So, Mr. Mayor, EQT and all of you donors — you all know Delta Foundation has a terrible reputation among lesbian, bi and queer women, people of color and the trans community for being focused mostly on cisgender white gay men — and by continuing to give Delta money or services, you are telling us you just don’t care.

And media outlets: You know Delta Foundation speaks, at best, for a tiny segment of the LGBTQ community — mostly wealthy, mostly white people — and you reporters still treat them as if they’re the only voice worth listening to.

And all of you charities, businesses and other groups who are going to participate in this year’s events organized by Delta — are you really helping draw attention to LGBTQ issues, or are you just virtue signalling? (Defined by Wikipedia as “the conspicuous expression of moral values done primarily with the intent of enhancing standing within a social group.“)

Here’s a hint: If you decided to participate in this weekend’s events organized by Delta Foundation primarily because, “Well, we have to have a presence at Pridefest,” then you are literally virtue signalling.

Until all of you — all of us — pull our support, it will remain business as usual for Delta Foundation. Their leaders will continue paying themselves handsomely to serve primarily as party planners — not as any kind of legitimate educational and charitable organization — and ignoring complaints from our wider LGBTQ community.

I know almost everyone participating in events organized by Delta has good intentions, but you’re not helping. You’re enabling.

Delta Foundation should not be running pride parades or festivals or any other damn fool thing. They don’t deserve to.

And if they won’t change, the rest of us have to change.

Find an alternative pride event this month

Go support a PFLAG group in your area, or the Gay and Lesbian Community Center, or an inclusive faith community.

But stay away from anything organized by Delta Foundation. They are not worthy of your time or money.

(Honey badger photo from Wikipedia.)

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