GSBA Vision & Mission

MISSION: To combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT Community and those who support equality for all.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

2012 TASTE of GSBA Breaks All Records

What a star studded night! As highly anticipated as the TASTE was this year, it truly exceeded all expectations and, according to early returns, we raised 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. The pre-function reception was wonderful as each caterer gave out scrumptious small plates to savor and enjoy. Thank you to Act 3 Catering, Design Perfect Catering, Herban Feast Catering, Hyatt Downtown, Sazerac, Taylor ShellfishFarms and Two Tartes Catering. This year's Silent Auction items were wonderful and bidding was lively as we purchased Emerald Tickets from the Sisters, who sold out of our blinkie rings in record time. Thank you again to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence for your ongoing support of GSBA and our Scholarship Fund. The hugging and bantering was energetic as we walked around enjoying wine and cocktails.  Moments after we entered the ballroom we met our celebrity chefs which resulted in exciting bidding for the two coveted chef tables. Thank you again to Tamara Murphy of Terra Plata, Chris Keff of Flying Fish, Jerry Traunfeld of Poppy and John Sarich of Ste MichelleWine Estates.   

How about that entertainment? Keybank Broadway At the Paramount and Seattle Theatre Group outdid themselves in putting together an ensemble of actors performing the songs from Flashdance- The Musical. The performers had incredible voices and the dancers were fantastic. 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.  And, then, our Auctioneer Extraordinaire, Laura Michalek and our terrific Emcee, David Schmader did their magic and kept the bidding lively as bid cards were raised again and again. Sommelier Kyle Reynolds was something else as he auctioned off our incredible selection of wines that were donated at the Cocktail Contest. Speaking of wine, again this year we served only premium Washington Wines which were generously donated by Kevin Correll from Barrage Cellars, Steve Snyder from Hollywood Hill Winery, Bart Fawbush of Bartholomew Winery, Greg Smallwood from Laurelhurst Cellars, Janiece Haug of Anton Ville, John Patterson from Patterson Cellars, Tim Narby from Nota Bene, David Von Moritz from Wilridge, Jess Zander, from Fidelitas, Kurt Schlatter who donated all of the bubbly, and representing Robert Ramsey, Peter Moore, who has become our  wine guru. Peter and our Board Chair, Mark Rosén, reached out to these generous winemakers to make sure we have the best premium wines on every table.

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 are honored to help them go to college. Ryan's words stuck and truly inspired one of the most successful raise the paddle, "fund-a-scholar" moments we have ever had. A huge thank you to Microsoft for starting out the bidding with an incredibly generous $20,000 donation to the Scholarship Fund. This certainly inspired others to step up and later on when Glenn Johnson and Michael Melancon said they would match every $1,000 donation up to $25,000, we reached another milestone as 25 hands went up to make sure we received the full match. This generous response was duplicated a number of times during the evening as folks bid over value again and again culminating in the Seattle Storm donation getting two bids together totaling $12k. The bidders, avid Storm fans, will get dinner with the Storm owners and CEO, courtside seats as well as being able to take home a framed, signed jersey, of which there was only five made, commemorating the 40th anniversary of Title IX.

The success of this event is due in no small part to the support we receive from our TASTE Sponsors. Thank you to our Presenting Partner this year, 1st Security Bank and to our other TASTE sponsors: Alaska Airlines, Coinstar, Holland America, JPMorgan Chase, Seattle Storm and our Supporting Sponsors Eagle Home Mortgage and Risen'Shine. And we are so appreciative of the support we receive from Girlie Press for our all our event printing, KetchamDesign for creating the look and feel of TASTE, and Team Photogenic for photography and videography at our events. Special thanks to Choice Linens, Reliable Movers, OolaDistillery, Fun Frames Photo Booth, Monday's Flowers and Yoyo StringProductions for making the evening even more special. I can't say enough about the helpfulness and professionalism of the Sheraton Staff; thank you Anthony Horton for taking such good care of our guests.

Of course our 2012 Corporate Sponsors showed up in full force at the TASTE and added greatly to the success of the event. A warm thank you to Platinum Sponsors: LibertyNorthwest and Safeco Insurance; Gold Sponsors: American Family Insurance, Avanade, Microsoft, PacificMedical Centers, Regence and Wells Fargo; Silver Sponsors: Alaska Airlines, Boeing, CarterSubaru, Group Health, NY Life, Precision Door Services, RBC Wealth Management, Seattle GoodwillStarbucks, US Bank and our Bronze Sponsors: BECU; IronsBrothers Construction; Mona Smith, LLC; PEMCO; Toyota of Seattle and Honda ofSeattle; Guide Sponsor: 1stSecurity Bank and iPhone App Sponsor, US Bank.

And, how do we thank this year's TASTE Chair, Jerome Bader? Jerome gave his time and talent to make this event the spectacular evening it was. Thank you Jerome, your 100% commitment to the success of this event was evident every day. Certainly, he had a stellar committee to work with and no small measure of thanks go to Micheal Bailey, Glenda Downs, Keith Dussell, Jenny Harding, Mark Rosén, Debbie Mock Vaughn, Alix Mendonca and Peter Moore. Our Volunteer Committee was able to enjoy the evening because of the nearly 100 volunteers who arrived all day to help set up, run registration, welcome guests, manage the auction and help our guests check out. They worked for hours and hardly took a break to ensure the evening went smoothly. We cannot thank our volunteers enough for their support. 

Helping, supporting and doing some very heavy lifting to create this magical evening was our very own GSBA staff. 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, and 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 #1 reason for our success is you, our guests, table captains and members who care about our students and are incredibly generous in giving back. 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. Thank you for attending the TASTE and giving so generously to support our LGBTQA students. And, 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. 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, education equality can be achieved with your donation to the GSBA Scholarship Fund.

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