Like many smaller non-profits, the COVID-19 pandemic impacted OutFront Kalamazoo in a myriad of ways. We had to look at ALL of our programming – from Youth Group to Kalamazoo Pride – and make decisions about how to move forward in offering services and structured groups to our area’s LGBTQ+ community. Also, like many others, we had to climb the technical learning curve if we were to bring meaningful services to our community virtually. We shuttered our office in mid-March of 2020, just two-and-one-half months after hiring a new executive director and began the process of moving most of our services to a virtual digital platform.
Our services like Youth Group and TransCend pivoted to virtual with relative ease. A simple email to group members explaining the new paradigm and learning to use a platform like Zoom made things relatively straightforward. But other programming, like Pride and our annual Winter Gala, took much more thought and time to plan and execute. Pride became a month-long virtual celebration with entertainment and educational programming instead of a two-day festival. Our annual Winter Gala morphed into the Always OutFront Awards, presented virtually in the spring.
While we could not boast the same engagement numbers for Pride and the Always OutFront Awards as we did for their in-person, pre-COVID counterparts, we did successfully reach many hundreds of people and let them know – pandemic or not – OutFront Kalamazoo would be #AlwaysOutFront.
For more information, visit www.outfrontkzoo.org