RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Pride and Diversity Richmond announced on Tuesday that the two organizations will merge together on April 1.

“Virginia Pride enters into this merger with Diversity Richmond at a time when both organizations are thriving,” said Stephanie Merlo, president of Virginia Pride.

The two groups said this merger is the result of both growing exponentially in recent years.

James R. Millner II, Interim Executive Director of Virginia Pride, said they began looking at whether it made sense to merge the two organizations 18 months ago.

He said after years of growth, Virginia pride saw it was straining its all-volunteer structure and in order to continue to grow, it needed a paid full time staff. Millner added Diversity Richmond saw the merger as an opportunity to enhance and expand its social events and connect it to sources of funding Virginia Pride has developed over the years.

“By joining forces with Virginia Pride, we hope to take one and one and make three,” said Luise “Cheezi” Farmer, Diversity Richmond Board President. “We are confident that this merger will amplify the impact of the work of our organizations and allow us to better serve not just the LGBTQ community, but the entire Richmond Region.”

The organizations said the process of merging was guided by professional non-profit
consultants, attorneys and the boards of directors of both organizations. The announcement added community stakeholders were also consulted to ensure there would be support for combining the two organizations.

“I think it’s great that Virginia Pride and Diversity Richmond are merging,” said Zakia McKensey, Founder of Nationz Foundation. “They are two of the most visible and respected LGBTQ organizations in Richmond and I think that our community will be very well served by them working together.”

According to the announcement the board of directors for both organizations have approved of the merger and Virginia Pride will submit the merger plan to its voting membership for approval at a meeting on March 22. The merger will then become official on April 1.