• The Portland Pride Parade has rejected JPMorgan's offer to sponsor this year's festivities.
  • Organizers cited JPMorgan's support for politicians backing anti-LGBTQ agendas.
  • Insider obtained a leaked email detailing JPMorgan's rejection from the parade. Read it below.

One of the most popular Pride festivals in the country has a message for JPMorgan Chase: We don't want your money.

Pride Northwest, the nonprofit group that organizes the annual Pride parade in Portland, Oregon, has asked JPMorgan Chase to refrain from sponsoring its event next month, pointing to concerns about past campaign contributions by the firm, Insider has learned. 

Debra Porta, executive director of Pride Northwest, told Insider in an interview that Chase had approached her organization about sponsoring the 2022 Pride Parade in March. But Porta and her team decided to reject their offer after coming across a 2021 investigation by Popular Information regarding the bank's PAC spending. 

The story said America's largest bank by assets was one of 25 corporations that collectively spent more than $10 million since 2019 to back members of Congress who are in support of anti-LGBTQ legislation. It found that Chase's PAC contributed $275,000 to federal lawmakers who had earned a "0" rating from the Human Rights Campaign, a leading LGBTQ advocacy organization. Popular Information also found that Chase donated $2,500 to sponsors of anti-trans legislation in five US states, including Texas and Florida. It did not name the sponsors. 

"At some point, there has to be a bit of a line drawn," Porta told Insider. "How do employees know that they actually work in a safe company if the company that they're working for is also funding legislators who are damaging their people?"

"How is a queer mother, for example, down in Texas, who might work for Chase, who may not be out — how are they supposed to interact with Pride when Chase, or anyone else for that matter, is also funding the legislator that is putting policy in place that could literally put them in jail?," she added.

The Pride Parade in Portland, Oregon, is one of the most popular in the country. Foto: Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

A spokesperson for JPMorgan Chase declined to comment.

Insider learned of the bank's rejection from sponsoring the parade via an internal email sent last week, which suggested that JPMorgan was just one of several companies that Pride Northwest had asked to refrain from sponsoring this year's festivities, based on recent political contributions. (See the full contents of the email below.)

Porta declined to name the other companies. She said Pride Northwest made its decision to exclude Chase and the other companies independently, and has not been in touch with other Pride groups nationwide about the decision. Collectively, she said, the banned companies would have donated "at least 15,000 in sponsorship dollars," about 8-10% of the parade's projected sponsorship revenue. 

Future support is still on the table

The Portland Pride Parade and Festival, which will take place on June 18 and 19, has several other sponsors from the financial-services sector, Porta said, including United Community Credit Union, OnPoint Community Credit Union, and KeyBank. Sponsors of the Pride Northwest Parade and Festival pay between $3,500 to $15,000 depending on the tier they choose.

Porta also said that she and her team will meet this week with Chase representatives to discuss their eligibility to sponsor future Pride parades, and that Pride Northwest would be open to reviewing a "written update" from the bank detailing "changes in their policies around how they make contributions."

"We are having a dialogue with them," she added. "It's not a dialogue about reevaluating for this year. It's a dialogue about finding a path moving forward in the future."

"What we would like to see and would need to see is some sort of concerted internal effort to be much more intentional about PAC contributions, and acknowledging the disconnect and the harm done in advertising through Pride — which is what sponsorship is — while also directly contributing to people who are attempting to harm our community," Porta said. "We would need corporate-level addressing of how decisions are made about PAC contributions."

JPMorgan Chase says on its website that it has "long been a supporter of equality in all forms," including for members of LGBTQ communities. It also notes that it has been a "strong supporter" of other Pride initiatives, including the Pride march in New York City, where it is headquartered, for more than 15 years.

Jamie Dimon, Chair and CEO of JP Morgan Chase Foto: J. Lawler Duggan/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Internally, the co-chairs of JPMorgan's Pride Pacific Northwest organization, which hosts events to support members of the firm's LGBTQ population, expressed disheartenment over being sidelined, according to a copy of the internal email that was obtained by Insider. 

In the email, the co-chairs of JPMorgan's Pride Pacific Northwest group said that they "disagree and are very disappointed with this decision," adding: "While we will not be participating under the banner of Chase, our members are of course still more than welcome to attend and participate in the festivities."

"We're hopeful that we will be able to return again in the future," they added.

Here's the internal email from Pride organizers at JPMorgan Chase

From: Pride Pacific Northwest

Subject: Portland Pride Parade Update

Date: Thursday, 5/12/2022

Hi members,

We hope you are having a wonderful day. We are sad to announce Pride Northwest (the Portland Pride Parade organizers) has asked that we not sponsor the Portland Pride Parade and Festival this year. Pride Northwest's leadership pulled a list of past political contributions made by firms and their PACs in the Portland area and, based on that list, has asked several companies to not participate in the parade. We, of course, disagree and are very disappointed with this decision. We will be meeting with the Pride Northwest leadership team to discuss their decision and we're hopeful that we will be able to return again in the future.

While we will not be participating under the banner of Chase, our members are of course still more than welcome to attend and participate in the festivities.

In lieu of participating in the Portland Pride Parade and Festival, Pride Pacific Northwest is planning an alternative event to recognize and celebrate our wonderful Portland LGBTQIA+ community, which is sure to be a blast.

Other Pride Heritage Month events are:

-- Pride Northwest Flag Tour, which will still be making a stop in Portland on June 18th
-- Seattle Pride Parade - We will soon be organizing a carpool from Portland to Seattle for the parade (complete with a car decorating party the day before). Stay tuned!

PRIDE Pacific Northwest Co-Chairs

Are you an employee at JPMorgan Chase? Get in touch with this reporter. Reed Alexander can be reached at [email protected] or SMS/the encrypted app Signal at (561) 247-5758.

Read the original article on Business Insider