Corporations, small businesses and individuals donate to support the oldest LGBTQ Scholarship Fund in the US
On Saturday, November 23, the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), Washington state's LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce, hosted over 1,000 guests at its annual fundraiser gala, EQUALUX - TASTE of GSBA, the largest LGBTQ Gala in the Pacific Northwest. A record of over $1.6 million was raised for the GSBA Scholarship Fund.
The GSBA Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to students who exhibit leadership potential, demonstrate strong academic abilities, and are actively involved in their school and community organizations. The financial support is for students pursuing any kind of postsecondary education, including public or private colleges and universities, community college, AA degrees, trade schools, and certificate programs. Applicants must be Washington state residents but can attend an educational institution anywhere in the world. GSBA does not ask the citizenship status of applicants. The average scholarship is valued at $8,000 annually per student, amounting to a substantial investment in a student's education. and with the GSBA Guarantee, GSBA invests up to $40K in the education of each student that receives four years of support.
The amount of money raised at 2019's Equalux ($450K more than 2018's event), will allow GSBA to invest over $600,000 in the 2020 class of scholars, increasing both the total number of scholars, and the financial investment in each.
"GSBA was founded to open up opportunity, promote equality, and take care of our LGBTQ youth, many of whom were thrown out of their homes because of who they are," said Louise Chernin, president and CEO of GSBA. "GSBA is one of the only values-driven business organizations that, with the help of our sponsors and donors, will continue to transform our community, and invest in the education of the next generation. I am astounded and overjoyed by the record-breaking amount of money raised at this year's EQUALUX. It is a testament to how strongly our community believes in supporting the next generation of LGBTQ leaders. Our scholars are more likely to succeed because they are not alone; they have the encouragement and support to launch their futures as capable and confident LGBTQ members of their community, working to make the world a better place for all of us."
The GSBA Scholarship Fund has set ambitious goals for the future of the program as outlined by Carrie Carson, GSBA Scholarship Fund Board Chair. "Because of you and your incredible love, compassion, and generosity here tonight, and many who couldn't be here, we can continue to grow the fund by raising the most money ever tonight and meet our Moon Shot goal of funding scholarships for 75 scholars by 2022."
During the evening, guests were treated to wine from Washington state wine sponsors including Rotie Cellars, Latta Wines, Kerloo Cellars, and Structure Cellars. Entertainment was provided by A Sensibile Theatre Co. and the featured speaker was former GSBA scholar, Katie Kolan who told her triumphant story of overcoming the rejection of her family and other hardships to graduate with a law degree from the University of Washington and her successful career as a lobbyist in Olympia, all because of the support she has received from friends and the financial support from the GSBA Scholarship Fund. "I just kept running! No one succeeds alone. What you told me through your scholarship program is that you believed in me. That you knew that I could do it. You gave me a boost to keep my head afloat."
The businesses that helped make EQUALUX possible include Title Sponsor Comcast NBCUniversal; Presenting Sponsor UW Medicine; Evening Sponsors Alaska Airlines, Amazon, Carter Subaru, DML Insurance, Inc., JP Morgan Chase & Co., Holland America Line, Kaiser Permanente, Lyft, Sound, Seabourn, Symetra, Morgan Stanley, and The Westin.
Established in 1981, GSBA is Washington state's LGBTQ and allied chamber of commerce. It represents over 1,400 small business, corporate, and nonprofit members who share GSBA's values of promoting equality, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. GSBA is widely respected throughout the region for its effectiveness in business development, representing the business voice, connecting community through business, advocating for civil rights and business, promoting LGBTQ tourism through Travel Out Seattle, and investing in the next generation of leaders through the GSBA Scholarship Fund. For more information on GSBA, visit www.thegsba.org.
About the GSBA Scholarship Fund
The GSBA Scholarship Fund awards scholarships to LGBTQ and allied students who exhibit leadership potential, demonstrate strong academic abilities and are actively involved in their schools and community organizations. GSBA invests in students who have the capacity and vision to be the next generation of leaders committed to making a difference in the world.
Founded in 1991, the GSBA Scholarship Fund has awarded over 766 scholarships to 460 students, totaling in an investment of over $4 million. For more information on the GSBA Scholarship Fund, visit www.thegsba.org/scholarship-home.
Courtesy of GSBA