Wegmans Shows Its Pride in the Nation’s Capital
05/25/2022 · Making a Difference
In June 2018, a team of Wegmans employees from our Alexandria, Virginia, location participated in the annual Capital Pride Parade and Festival in nearby Washington, D.C., for the first time. Community Relations Manager Chris Holland, with support from his store and division leadership team, had established a relationship with Capital Pride Alliance before the parade. At the time, Wegmans committed to a yearlong sponsorship for various events run by the organization, but the partnership has continued to grow over the years.
Founded in 1975, Capital Pride Alliance (CPA) does much more than plan and execute events during the month of June. The organization is dedicated to serving the needs of the Washington, D.C., metro-area LGBTQ+ communities throughout the year with educational programs, fundraising, outreach and advocacy, and by providing platforms for visibility. They support the work of many community organizations, local businesses, and partner with more than 30 LGBTQ+ non-profits in the National Capital Region every day to celebrate, educate, support and inspire these multi-faceted communities.
In a typical year over 100,000 spectators view the Capital Pride Parade as it meanders across Northwest D.C. The following day, CPA hosts a pride festival on Pennsylvania Avenue in the shadows of the US Capitol Building. The festival includes free entertainment, food, drink, and over 300 exhibitors ranging from service organizations, to businesses, to educational intuitions, and more.
“There are so many amazing moments from our participation in Capital Pride events, but one from our first year stands out above the rest,” reflects Chris. “About halfway through the day, as our folks chatted with the large crowd at the pride festival, a young man approached our booth in tears. We learned that he was an employee at one of our stores in Northern Virginia and was there that afternoon with his mother. He was simply overcome with emotion at the sight of his employer at a pride event, showing support for his community.”
Since then, we’ve continued and strengthened our relationship with CPA, including in 2020 and 2021 when large in-person events were cancelled or moved to a virtual platform. Our support consists of both monetary donations, to assist with the high costs of creating and operating large events, and product donations including snacks and meals for hundreds of volunteers. Earlier this year, in anticipation of our first Wegmans store opening in Washington, D.C, we made a four-year, $150,000 commitment to Capital Pride Alliance.
“As we reunite this year and return to a sense of normalcy, one thing that we are looking forward to is our continued partnership with Wegmans,” said Ryan Bos, executive director of the Capital Pride Alliance. “As one of our generous Volunteer Program Advocates, we can always count on Wegmans to supply delicious and healthy treats for our many volunteers during meetings and events. In addition, their overall support has meant a great deal to Capital Pride throughout the years because we know we can always count on Wegmans when we need them the most,” Ryan concluded.
In addition to supporting CPA in Washington, D.C., our stores are sponsoring pride events across the company in their local communities. From festivals and parades in Rochester, Buffalo, and Syracuse, New York, to picnics, pride proms, and celebrations in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, our employees are actively engaged with local organizations that support the LGBTQ+ communities in their neighborhoods.
“At one time, I was that young man looking for my place,” shares Chris. “Nothing brings me more joy than being empowered to make a difference by showing our commitment to diversity to our employees and customers.”