As the Chattanooga Football Club begins an extended stretch of home games in June, local supporters invite the community to join them in raising money for the LGBTQ community.
Supporters pledge a few dollars for every goal scored by their home team during June. That money will be donated to the Tennessee Equality Project, an organization that engages state and local governments in Tennessee on behalf of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Pride Month is a series of events and celebrations that “recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally and internationally.”
In just a few days, the Prideraiser idea has spread throughout the soccer community. Campaigns have been started in Memphis, Detroit and Chattanooga so far.
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Prideraiser was started by Galen Riley, the familiar “head cheerleader” of the Chattahooligans. During June, he decided to wear rainbow colors and pledge a per-goal amount.
“I posted about what I was doing on Facebook and invited people to join,” he said. “It got picked up and emulated by some folks almost immediately.”
With the help of Dean “Padre” Simmer of Detroit City FC’s fan club, the term “Prideraiser” was born.
Riley said the idea really took off because Chattanooga FC has such a large and respected fan base.
“The main thing we try to project is inclusiveness,” Riley said. “Southern hospitality is a bedrock value of our community. At least half our community is women, and we’ve had LGBTQ people since the very beginning … We’re all fans of Chattanooga and the community we’ve built together.”
Participate in Prideraiser
No money will be collected by the Chattahooligans or Riley. At the end of the month, pledgers will receive a “gentle nudge” to make their pledges to the Tennessee Equality Project.
Soccer clubs throughout the nation are encouraged to create their own Prideraiser campaigns.
The Chattahooligans are also partnering with other organizations as part of a larger charity initiative at tailgates this year. Those charities include the Chattanooga Area Food Bank and Chattanooga Girls Rock. During the off-season, the group will also participate in a Habitat for Humanity build day.
Guests can learn more by visiting the community action table during pregame tailgates.