New Mardi Gras should continue pursuing both government funding and corporate sponsorship, according to online polls conducted by Sydney Star Observer.

The poll questions, carried out over two separate weeks, found more than 70 percent of respondents wanted the organisation to pursue government funding.

When asked if the organisation, whose three-year relationship with Gaydar recently came to an end, should continue to seek corporate sponsorship, 65 percent of respondents said it should.

New Mardi Gras chair David Imrie said the results reflected New Mardi Gras’ current thinking.

We don’t feel at all bad about asking for sponsorship from either the government or the corporate world because it means that we’re getting support from a wide section of the community, Imrie told Sydney Star Observer.

I think there are people who may be worried that Mardi Gras is becoming too corporate but, realistically, corporate sponsorship does not affect our creative control and input.

We are very careful to always partner with companies that have similar goals to us and companies that have a conscience, that operate ethically.

Realistically speaking, if we didn’t have any external support from the corporate world and government, events like the parade and Fair Day, which run at an expense because they are unticketed, wouldn’t be sustain-able. That would mean we would have to charge more for our ticketed events and people just wouldn’t go.

Imrie said the external funding would also help New Mardi Gras realise one of its aims, which was to financially help smaller community organisations.

As a board we have a responsibility to New Mardi Gras and to the community to ensure our sustainability. We also feel a responsibility to help other smaller community organisations, he said.

The idea of providing community grants is not a new one, it was tabled at our last AGM and has been on the board’s agenda for several years, but it is only now that we are really financially able to do that in a way which won’t put the organisation at risk.

We are still looking into how that would be done, but the way we were thinking of doing it was to allocate a certain percentage from our annual profit each year to be made available to smaller organisations that don’t have the capacity to host major parties each year to raise funds. But yes, it looks totally feasible that community grants will be a part of our future outlook.

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