Kellogg Foundation cancels major Asheville event because of House Bill 2

In response to North Carolina’s new LGBT law, a nonprofit funded by cereal giant Kellogg has canceled an upcoming event in Asheville that would have had an estimated economic impact of $1.5 million.

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s four-day summit in August at Asheville’s Omni Grove Park Inn would have brought over 500 people to the city, the foundation said on its website last week. It will now be held in December in a different state.

“It is very disappointing that North Carolina, among other states, has thought to enact legislation that overturns protections for all people including LGBT people, sanctioning open discrimination against them,” the foundation said in a statement soon after House Bill 2 was passed.

“We are heartened by the broad coalition of public sector, non-profit, business and civic leaders who are speaking out against this injustice.”

Asheville’s local ABC affiliate, which reported the $1.5 million economic impact figure, said contracts over the event are ongoing, and that a foundation spokesman said the nonprofit put a “significant deposit” down for the conference.

The cancellation of the event is the “biggest economic hit” for Asheville because of House Bill 2, the station reported.

HB2 sets a statewide definition of protected classes of citizens that excludes sexual orientation and gender identity. It also struck down a Charlotte ordinance that would have allowed transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender with which they identify. Gov. Pat McCrory signed the bill into law March 23.

During the foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation enterprise event, leaders from across the country discuss how to deal with race, ethnicity and issues of discrimination in reference to health care, housing, education, criminal justice and employment, the ABC station reported.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta