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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 23, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 47
Muchos dollars for LGBT scholars
Section One
ALL STORIES
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Muchos dollars for LGBT scholars

GSBA raises record $460k at 2012 TASTE event

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

This year's Greater Seattle Business Association's (GSBA) TASTE exceeded all expectations, raising a record-breaking $460,000 to support the education of LGBTQA students.

'From the moment you arrived and were handed a glass of champagne, I know we all felt the excitement in the air,' GSBA President Louise Chernin said in an e-mail message to supporters after the November 17 event. 'The pre-function reception was wonderful as each caterer gave out scrumptious small plates to savor and enjoy.'

This year's Silent Auction items were 'wonderful' and bidding was 'lively,' said Chernin, adding that the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, The Abbey of St. Joan, 'sold out of our blinkie rings in record time.'

'Moments after we entered the ballroom we met our celebrity chefs, which resulted in exciting bidding for the two coveted chef's tables,' said Chernin.

The chefs were Tamara Murphy of Terra Plata, Chris Keff of Flying Fish, Jerry Traunfeld of Poppy, and John Sarich of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates.

WHAT A FEELING
The entertainment was top-notch, underlined by the ensemble of actors performing the songs from Flashdance - The Musical. 'The performers had incredible voices and the dancers were fantastic,' said Chernin. 'I don't know when the room was more electric - was it during the performance of 'Maniac,' or was it 'What a Feeling' or just whenever those talented performers stepped on the stage?'

TASTE auctioneer extraordinaire Laura Michalek and emcee David Schmader did their magic and kept the bidding lively as bid cards were raised again and again.

FORMER SCHOLAR SPEAKS
There is no doubt that the highlight of this year's TASTE of GSBA was when former GSBA Scholar Ryan Digges stepped on stage. 'Suddenly forks were put down as Ryan poignantly reminded us why we were there and what it means to our Scholars to get that call letting them know they are a GSBA Scholar - they are not alone and they have an entire community who is proud of them and honored to help them go to college,' said Chernin. 'Ryan's words stuck and truly inspired one of the most successful 'raise-the-paddle, fund-a-scholar' moments we have ever had.'

The success of this event is due in no small part to the support received from TASTE sponsors, said GSBA officials.

'Helping, supporting, and doing some very heavy lifting to create this magical evening was our very own GSBA staff,' said Chernin. 'Led by our highly skilled and talented events manager, Scott Walden, our GSBA team members Randy Bowren, Rachael Brister, Rachel Chernin, Matt Landers, Jessica Swetin, and Jessica Wootten took care of countless details, all during one of the most intense election cycles ever, and they didn't miss a beat. They are a dream team and along with our TASTE Committee and Board Leadership, under our current outstanding board chair, Mark Rosén, are unstoppable when it comes to raising money for our students and supporting our members and our community.'

'But the number-one reason for our success is you - our guests, table captains, and members who care about our students and are incredibly generous in giving back,' she continued. 'There is a reason we are the largest and most successful LGBT and allied Chamber of Commerce and that is because we have the best members.'

NOT TOO LATE TO HELP
Chernin says that for those who were not able to attend, there is always time to become a GSBA Scholarship Donor. 'A year-end donation to the GSBA Scholarship Fund will make a significant and positive difference in the life of an LGBTQA student,' she said. 'As Ryan told us at the TASTE, 'You will never know how important your donation is to an LGBTQA scholar, but I can tell you that your support will change their life forever. Marriage equality won at the ballot box, and education equality can be achieved with your donation to the GSBA Scholarship Fund.'

Information about the fund can be found online at the GSBA website, www.thegsba.org.

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