Meta and Mardi Gras launch $100,000 grants for LGBTQI venues and small businesses

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• Venues that took part last year ranged from as far as Cairns to Broken Hill

Meta and the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras are offering 30 grants for venues and small businesses around Australia to share in $100,000 to host viewing events for the highly anticipated parade.

The return of the grants program will allow venues to host Covid-safe events from across the country to celebrate the queer community – particularly those unable to travel to Sydney and participate in the festivities.

It will also allow them to hire and support local queer performers or artists as part of their event. 

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras CEO Albert Kruger: “We’re proud to unite with Meta once more to deliver much-needed support to our LGBQTIA+ venues and artists after what has been another year of disruption for them. 

“The Parade Viewing Events also give us the opportunity to bring Mardi Gras celebrations to regional and interstate communities during a time when traveling to Sydney may not be an option for everyone,” he added.

Venues that took part last year ranged from as far as Cairns to Broken Hill and allowed the LGBTQ+ community and their allies to celebrate.

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Esther LaRovere, the managing director of The Palace Hotel Broken Hill who received a grant last year said: “The return of these grants will be so helpful for our entertainers, hospitality and event venues that are coming out of a very crippling experience with COVID over the last two years. 

“Receiving a grant last year helped us run a fantastic Mardi Gras Parade viewing event in Broken Hill. Events like this remind the regional LGBTIQA+ community that they are not forgotten in these often city-centric celebrations and that community is everywhere.”

Meta Australia’s Director of Policy Mia Garlick said: “We’ve witnessed the disastrous impact that two years of the pandemic has brought to entertainment venues, live performers, and queer events. 

“We’re proud to announce the return of these grants to support the arts and entertainment sectors, while also enabling people all over Australia to celebrate Mardi Gras at live, COVID-safe events.

“It is vital that community empowerment and uplifting queer voices sits at the heart of our work with Mardi Gras, as it has for ten years of partnership.”

Alex Greenwich, Member for Sydney said: “Each year the magic of Mardi Gras is brought to life by venues, performers and events, and it’s more critical than ever to support their economic prosperity.

“These grants from Meta and Mardi Gras allow businesses in Sydney and all across Australia to bring the Mardi Gras experience to a diverse audience, while also supporting community connection and economic resilience,’ he added. 

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