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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, December 2, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 48
TASTE of GSBA breaks fundraising totals
Section One
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TASTE of GSBA breaks fundraising totals

by Joshua Michael Rumley - SGN Contributing Writer

On November 19, the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) held its annual fundraiser, the TASTE of GSBA Cinderella Ball: A Journey to Your Dreams, for its scholarship fund. The organization broke previous fundraising records by raising $366,000 for LGBT and allied students.

'Meeting and actually surpassing our goal was incredible and is really a testament to how important the GSBA Scholarship Fund is to GSBA members and the LGBT and allied community,' said Louise Chernin, GSBA president and CEO.

The TASTE of GSBA event consisted of a silent and live auction and a wine and restaurant frenzy, with items and trips primarily provided by GSBA member businesses. Before the live auction, guests were treated to an amazing array of appetizers prepared by As You Like It Catering, Herban Feast/Fresh Bistro, Hi Spot Café, Sazerac, The Space Needle, Tuxedos and Tennis Shoes, and Urbane.

'The TASTE is known to be an amazing evening; attend once and you'll want to go again,' said Chernin. 'It is not just an auction or a dinner, but an event filled with an evening's worth of fun, surprises, and amazing food. Just walking into the event is an experience, as folks are greeted by the Sisters and members of the Court.'

The energy and excitement for the evening overflowed the confinements of the ballroom at the Sheraton Seattle (almost as much as the champagne). The TASTE is the biggest event that the GSBA produces. It attracted almost 650 guests and an additional 100 volunteers.

Entertainment for the night consisted of performances from the 5th Avenue Theatre, enthusiastic drag performer Andrew Tasakos, appearances by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and members of the Imperial Court of Seattle, and auctioneer extraordinaire Laura Michalek.

With tuition on the rise each year, events like the TASTE of GSBA have proven to be crucial for students in need of financial support. Just last year tuition spiked almost 14% in Washington universities, which continues to strain the pocketbooks of students. In some cases, LGBT students are in greater need of help because some have lost the support of their family due to their sexuality.

'I also think that our members understand that especially during hard times, LGBT students need our support more than ever,' said Chernin. 'We are the surrogate families of many of our students and they depend on us for support and encouragement.'

Aysha Kloub, a GSBA scholar from Jordan, gave remarks about having her voice silenced first because of her Arab and Muslim identity, and again when she came out as a Lesbian. Tina Podlodowski announced the creation of the Chester Podlodowski Scholarship for a first-generation student. Tina created the scholarship in honor of her father, the struggles he faced coming from another country, and the support he unfailingly gave her during her own challenges.

'Our scholar courageously shared what it's like to be silenced. & The support of GSBA has played a part in her finding her voice. [Her story] was moving and inspiring and clearly demonstrates why we raise money for LGBT scholarships,' said Chernin.

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