The Greater Seattle Business Association had their big annual GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund gala event on Saturday, November 19th at The Westin in downtown Seattle and ended up raising over $800,000 to benefit area LGBTQ+ scholarships.
President and CEO Ilona Lohrey issued this thank you message:
|On Saturday, our community came together, and we raised over $800,000.00 to benefit the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund! Guests were warmly welcomed with a glass of Proud Sparkling Rosé by our Sparkling Wine Partner XOBC. The night began with a silent auction filled with amazing items from our generous members and sponsors, tastings from our partner caterers and wineries, and a raffle to win a beautiful bar cart and fully-stocked top shelf liquor donated by the GSBA Board of Directors. Our local Pioneer Square gay chocolatiers at Intrigue Chocolates showed out with tasting kits for sale. We had chances to win either a float from Rubicon Float Studio or a bottle of XOBC Proud Sparkling Rosé at our Pride Bubbles Olympic Hot Tub station, shown off by the generous merfolk from The Emerald SeaFolk. Cameron Milton of Melting Miltons live-painted Sue Bird and Megan Rapinoe through the reception out of coffee for the live auction to come.|
|Once we were ushered to our seats by the Seahawks Blue Thunder Drumline and amazed by the stunts of Cheer Seattle, we heard from co-chairs Eve Hwang and Dustin O’Quinn, GSBA Board Chair Carrie Carson, and me – your new President and CEO. We were so lucky to be in the presence of truly stellar entertainment produced by our Emcee Adra Boo who performed herself alongside CarLarans, TAQUEET$!, and Aísha Noir. Auctioneer Extraordinaire Scott Carnz brought back a Live Auction for the first time since 2019. Every guest enjoyed Washington’s finest wines, thanks to our four premier wine sponsors, Aluel Cellars, Goose Ridge Winery, Rotie Cellars, and Structure Cellars. |
Moving videos were shown throughout the show, starting with new Scholarship & Education Program Manager Stacy Harbour-Van Hoy with first year scholars Osprey Varboncoeur and Ash Hopkins, then graduate school scholars Mei’lani Eyre and Dawson Dang, and lastly Scholarship Fund Chair Masoud Torabi with alum scholar Danisha Jefferson-Abye.
This year’s event took place the day before an important day for our community: Transgender Day of Remembrance. Aísha Noir sang a powerful song as we watched the names scroll through of those who’ve been murdered because of their identity over the past year. You can learn more about combatting anti-trans violence, the intersections of racism and transphobia, and active allyship here.
Amazon led the paddle raise with $50,000 announcing the creation of the glamazon Scholarship, followed by Kevin Spratt, owner of Precision Garage Door Service at $30,000, Carrie and Ashley Carson at $15,000, Pamela Merriman & Sonja Ross, Brett Smith, owner of Propeller Air, Paula & Jeff Pyatt, and Roz Edison, owner of Marination, each at $10,000. The $10,000 Leadership Match from the GSBA Board of Directors doubled guests’ donations at the $250 level. A huge thanks to each of you at every level of giving – you make education possible for our incredible student leaders.
All of this would not be possible without our Board of Directors and the GSBA Staff of 14 talented people who worked all year to put together this year’s EQUALUX – especially our Program & Events Manager Carlos Chavez and Sr. Development Officer Jeff Boyer.
The magic of EQUALUX would not be possible without our village of phenomenal sponsors. Thank you to our Title Sponsor Car Pros Kia Tacoma, Presenting SponsorSalesforce, Student Empowerment Sponsor Symetra, and Science & InnovationSponsor Fred Hutch Cancer Center. Thank you Event Sponsors Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Swire Coca-Cola, DML Insurance, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase& Co., T-Mobile, and The Westin Seattle, and to our Supporting Sponsors, Boeing, Google, Pacific Medical Centers, and Precision Garage Door Service. Finally, thank you to our Media Partner Puget Sound Business Journal and to our talented photographers Nate Gowdy and Malcom Smith, as well as Beniam Yetbarek of Converge Media.
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank all of our sponsors, caterers, volunteers, participating wineries, and most of all our guests, for helping make this year’s EQUALUX such an astounding success. A full list can be found here.
If you were not able to join us Saturday night, there’s still time to take part in this magical evening by making a year-end gift to the GSBA Scholarship Fund. We also would like to encourage all guests to renew their GSBA membership for 2023, and if you are not yet a member, we’d love to have you as a member and join us to realize our 2023 vision.
Here’s to a wonderful year ahead!
|Ilona Lohrey GSBA President and CEO|