Nearly 250 Companies Now Belong to the Pride Business Alliance

Via Compas; Natalie Kay Rhodes, Adrienne Parcival & Tay Baebae

(Palm Beach) Nearly 250 Palm Beach County companies have joined Compass’ Pride Business Alliancesince its creation in 2005. 

The business group has big plans for 2019 — from expanded victim services opportunities, to additional bins showcasing its annual Pride Directory. 

 “Our overall mission has not changed, but our culture has changed a lot,” said Development Coordinator Adrienne Percival of Compass, the LGBT community center of the Palm Beach County. 

According to Compass’ site its mission is to “provide the community with a directory of gay owned and gay friendly businesses and resources, promote networking within the existing gay and gay-friendly business community [and] promote Palm Beach County as a year-round gay and gay-friendly destination.”

PBA is a coalition of LGBT-owned and LGBT-friendly businesses throughout Palm Beach County. Member companies network at monthly mixers and are noted in Compass’ business directory.Their website lists 95 founding companies, and PBA stands now at around 250 members, Percival said. 

This year, Compass’ PBA will work with Palm Beach County Victim Services on hiring someone to oversee LGBT cases, according to Chief Development Officer Julia Murphy. The representative will also focus on LGBT outreach and community engagement. 

“We are making sure our community feels safe,” Murphy said. Victim Services will also be “training their staff” to work more with the LGBT community.

 Another recent development in PBA has been its growing number of distribution locations for its Pride Directory. The guide lists LGBT-friendly businesses throughout the county. Now, the directory can be found at all public libraries in the county. 

PBA holds monthly networking mixers at PBA-affiliated businesses. Over the years the business group has outgrown their original smaller venues. Percival recalled that one of the first mixers was held at an automotive shop, while reflecting on its growth. Since then, it’s grown into “one of the largest evening networking events” in Palm Beach County, she said.

At the mixers, Percival has witnessed everything from people landing jobs to people buying their parents a home. 

“[Compass] has a lot of great resources for the youth, but this is a great thing for adults,” she said. 

Next month’s mixer is slated for Feb. 27 at Consign & Design in Palm Beach Gardens from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. On average, 80-125 people attend, according to Percival. 

PBA members can also join the Business Response to AIDS(BRTA) initiative and contribute to HIV/AIDS prevention and education. Member companies receive basic HIV/AIDS training for employees and customers, free resources and publicity in press releases. 

So far nine business have signed up to participate in the partnership between Compass and Florida’s Department of Health.

Percival encouraged more local businesses to join PBA for the “wonderful chance to build relationships and connect with the LGBT community.” 

“In a political climate like this one, it’s nice to say: ‘Yes, we’re friendly,’” shadded.