by Billy Manes
Tuesday, November 4, 2014, Orlando, Florida
The Metropolitan Business Association (MBA), Central Florida's LGBT Chamber of Commerce and parent company to many LGBT subsidiary organizations including Come out with Pride (COWP) and Converge, this morning has exercised its authority to dismiss the Executive Director and suspend the board of its subsidiary organization COWP on the grounds of divergence from its mission statement, failure to meet its charitable obligations, and lack of compliance with MBA oversight and directives.
MBA's action also follows the attempt by its subsidiary COWP board last week to create separation from its MBA parent. This motion was not presented to or approved by the board of MBA, as required by COWP by-laws when the organization was formed by MBA in 2005.
While the COWP celebration this year boasted its largest ever attendance, COWP's charitable giving is predicted to be at an all time low. Coupled with what many perceive as a large departure from its original mission to serve the community, members of COWP's parent, MBA, have stepped in to help bring the organization and the event back on track.
Over the last 10 years, the Come Out With Pride organization has grown significantly, bringing together and representing the best of what our community has to offer. It is a gathering place for us to celebrate our similarities and diversity within our community and with our straight friends and allies.
MBA is extremely grateful for all of the support we have received so far while considering this weighty issue, and will work swiftly and diligently to make right this important pillar of the Orlando LGBT community.
MBA, Come Out With Pride, and Converge are nothing without the people who support us, and over the years we have been blessed by the significant outpouring from the community that has coincided with significant changes in opinion and practice reflected by our local elected officials who have also supported us.
Moving forward, MBA and the committee tasked to rebuild COWP will continue its important work.