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TASTE of GSBA raises $250,000 for LGBT and allied students
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TASTE of GSBA raises $250,000 for LGBT and allied students

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Staff Writer

The Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) raised over $250,000 on November 14 at the 12th annual 'TASTE of GSBA South Pacific' gala. Funds raised support the GSBA Scholarship Program, the first program of its kind in the United States to provide support to Washington State's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and allied college students.

'The members of the GSBA are known for giving back to their community through volunteerism and philanthropy,' said Louise Chernin, GSBA executive director. 'Certainly, the strong support GSBA members and donors have for our Scholarship Program - often referred to as the heart and soul of GSBA - is a clear example of the philanthropic values that drive the LGBT and allied business community.'

Heading into its 20th year, the GSBA Scholarship Program has awarded almost $1 million to LGBT and allied future leaders - with $137,000 provided this year alone.

The 2009 "TASTE of GSBA South Pacific" gala featured entertainment provided by the 5th Avenue Theatre USO Show: The Men and Women of the Fighting 5th. In addition to the 11 restaurants and caterers serving signature small plates to the guests, two of Seattle's most well-known chefs, Jerry Traunfeld of Poppy and Tamara Murphy of Brasa, started the evening by auctioning off a dinner specially prepared by them for the two highest-bidding tables.

GSBA membership is far-reaching, and the organization's special events are always well-attended, and the November 14 gala was no exception. U.S. Congressman Jim McDermott, State Sen. Joe McDermott, Councilmembers Tom Rasmussen and Jan Drago and Port-Commissioner Elect Rob Holland were all in attendance.

"I was clearly touched by the poignant testimony from one of our multiple-year scholars sharing the significant role that the GSBA scholarship program played in her ability to attend college," Chernin said.

Many of the students who receive a GSBA scholarship do not receive the support of their own families, she said.

"It moved our guests to raise their auction paddles again and again," said Chernin. "Our guests related very personally to the importance of providing hope and financial support to the next generation of LGBT and allied leaders."

The GSBA has been the Seattle area's LGBT and allied business and professional chamber of commerce since 1981. With over 1,000 members, GSBA is the largest business chamber of its kind in the country. GSBA is a vibrant community organization with a broad and diverse membership base. GSBA's mission is to combine business development, social action and leadership to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT community and those who support equality for all. For more information about GSBA, visit www.thegsba.org.

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