Wow! 2023 was quite the year for the North Idaho Pride Alliance. We’ve continued to grow and overcome local, regional, and national obstacles as the largest LGBTQIA+ organization in Northern Idaho.
Early into 2023, our Board of Directors felt it was time for the North Idaho Pride Alliance to have a new look and feel. We went off searching for one of the best local graphic design firms in our area to help us recreate NIPA. Knock Marketing + Design did a stellar job blending the input from the board into a new logo that will be relevant for years to come. Since then, we’ve slowly adapted our brand to enhance the new look and feel.
In April 2023, we hired our Executive Director, Dr. Sarah Lynch. Since NIPA’s founding in 2016, we’ve only had one other Executive Director. Dr. Lynch brings with her an expertise in public safety, a skill that came in handy in 2022 when our annual pride festival, Pride in the Park, was targeted by local extremists and the Patriot Front, a national white supremacist hate group. Dr. Lynch brings a passion for learning and connecting with the various groups in our community, bridging the divides.
During this time, we also joined our local Coeur d’Alene Regional Chamber of Commerce, allowing us to connect with other nonprofits and local business leaders. Our founder had a goal to establish an LGBTQIA+ center in downtown Coeur d’Alene, and our current board has established this as its goal in the next five years. While we still have plenty of work to do, we’re making progress and we were able to establish an office space downtown.
June 2023 was jam-packed with our annual pride events, along with many community-initiated pride celebrations. In the wake of the 2022 Pride in the Park, we weren’t sure what the turnout was going to be, but we successfully hosted another safe and joyful celebration, exceeding our expectations with more attendees (2,500+) and more vendors (60+). Our other CDA4Pride events were also a hit, with many of the events selling out, like our Pride on the Runway Drag Show Fundraiser. CDA4Pride 2023 was a resounding success. We out-fundraised our goals, boosted community participation, and continued to build new connections with people and businesses around the state.
Throughout the rest of the summer, our Board of Directors took some much-needed R&R, soaking up the sunshine and reflecting on where to take our organization next. We attended Sandpoint Pride and Silver Valley Pride, along with supporting Palouse Pride. We’re committed to enhancing and expanding other pride festivals in our area. Together we are stronger!
In August we met with our founder, Juli Stratton, to document the North Idaho Pride Alliance’s long and distinguished history. Though we were founded in 2016, the need for support of LGBTQIA+ individuals was recognized in the 1990s with the “then” PFLAG Chapter – which was started by a group of parents with LGBTQIA+ children in our community.
In the fall we commenced strategic planning for 2024 and beyond. We hosted our annual Transgender Day of Remembrance in November, as well as a few advocacy training sessions – focusing on our knowledge of the Idaho Legislature and ramping up the “Protect Drag in Idaho” state-wide campaign.
Through the development of our board and organization, we continue to learn so much about our community and the important work we’re progressing: providing a safe space and community for LGBTQIA+ people to live, raise a family, and ultimately thrive. We’re looking to expand our staff and programming in 2024 as well as plan another fantastically successful CDA4Pride 2024.
We’re so grateful to our fervent supporters, donors, friends, and community partners. We wouldn’t be able to keep doing the amazing advocacy and community-building work that we are doing without you. As our community grows in North Idaho, so does the potential to educate our community and foster acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community. We’re looking forward to another great year of advocating, educating, and networking with the LGBTQIA+ community and the greater North Idaho community.
Sam Koester (He/Him)
North Idaho Pride Alliance
Dr. Sarah Lynch (She/Her)
North Idaho Pride Alliance