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, December 11, 2012

GSBA Named 2012 Outstanding Philanthropic Organization

On November 7, right in the midst of the excitement around Election Day and the approval of Referendum 74, GBSA was named Outstanding Philanthropic Organization by the Washington Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) at their 24th annual National Philanthropy Day celebration.
GSBA shared the stage with five other incredible individuals and organizations that have done so much good work around Washington State.  Best of all, two of those awardees were also GSBA members – GirliePress (Outstanding Philanthropic Small Company) and Alaska Airlines (Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation).  As GBSA’s mission incorporates philanthropy alongside business, community and advocacy as a pillar of the organization, we are tremendously proud of this recognition for ourselves and for Girlie Press and Alaska Airlines.

AFP recognized GSBA with the following statement: 
Philanthropy is one of the four pillars of the Greater Seattle Business Association. That mission of combining business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and those who support equality for all has made the GSBA a national leader as the largest business chamber of its kind in the country. Always maintaining “philanthropy and advocacy” at the core of its business model, the most visible program is its scholarship fund, which has awarded $1.4 million to more than 300 students over the past two decades. In addition, the GSBA works to foster and strengthen the LGBT and allied community by encouraging its leaders to become involved in the greater community. “The culture of GSBA encourages everyone to become involved with local nonprofits,” says Lisa M. Stone, the executive director of Legal Voice.

Alaska Airlines was recognized for their tremendous impact in our region through donations, volunteer time and executive leadership. One quarter of all Make-A-Wish donations in Alaska and Washington are from Alaska Airlines. “The Alaska employees turn what is the most stressful time in a family’s life to a joyful, memorable experience,” says Laurie H. Schmertz, director of donor and corporate donations of Make-A-Wish Alaska & Washington. Kim Nelson of Northwest Harvest adds that the enormous support from the company “exemplifies the best of corporate philanthropy and highlights the dedication of Alaska Airlines corporate leadership and employees to help their neighbors in need.”

Each year Girlie Press donates roughly 5% of its revenue – in the form of printing, services and materials – to local non-profits, integrating philanthropy into its business model and workplace culture. When Risa Blythe founded Girlie Press in the 1990s, she decided to create a culture of caring and to model giving. “I decided to start my business, in part, to support values that are important to me such as women’s issues, queer issues, neighborhood organizations and schools, arts projects, etc.” Through its giving, Girlie Press intentionally bolsters causes that are not widely supported by corporate and mainstream philanthropy. “Girlie Press leads the example of how businesses and non-profits can partner to build a mutually beneficial relationship,” says Philip Wong, director of communications for the Pride Foundation.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals writes “Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life.” This is a central pillar of GSBA’s mission, and we firmly believe that our commitment to giving back is tied to the health of our businesses and to our communities.  We are so proud to have Alaska Airlines and Girlie Press honored alongside us this year.

But, of course, one of the proudest moments of the luncheon was that we received the official word that Referendum 74 had been approved by the voters of Washington State, and Risa Blythe promptly proposed to her partner in her acceptance speech.

GSBA staff and Board at the AFP National Philanthropy Day luncheon

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