EQUALUX - TASTE of GSBA makes a triumphant return, raising over $610,000 for the GSBA Scholarship Fund

by Mark Rosén, GSBA Acting President & CEO
| Nov 22, 2021
To each and every guest who brought their vaccination cards and diligently masked-up throughout the night and to every donor who tuned-in online from home, thank you, thank you, thank you!
 
With your help, we raised over $610,000 Saturday night to benefit the GSBA Scholarship Fund!
 
equalux_03Many coinciding factors made this year's hybrid EQUALUX a celebration unlike any we've had before, with both an in person and a virtual option. The pandemic hasn't made it easy to have a night like Saturday night, surrounded by friends old and new, chosen families, and other loved ones, coming together as one to support the future of LGBTQ+ students. We are so thankful to have such generous, dedicated, and thoughtful community members who, time after time, show up for GSBA Scholars - whether that was in person or virtually.
 
If you missed the event, there's still time to donate and show your support for our scholars. Click here to invest in our future LGBTQ+ leaders. 

Royalty led us into the ballroom, as the Imperial Sovereign Court of Seattle proudly paraded to the stage where they were joined by viral sensation, Mila Jam, singing the most apropos version of dance classic “It’s Raining Them,” celebrating the richness of our diverse LGBTQ+ community. The evening was led by our two fabulous emcees Ellen Meny and Gaysha Starr who brought wit, humor, and - most of all - heart.
 
This year's event took place on an important day for our community: Transgender Day of Remembrance. Gaysha and GSBA Scholar Ro Boyce shared their personal experiences and visions for a better future, including asking the audience to actively stand up for the transgender and gender-diverse community every day. Ro led our Scholars in a remembrance of community members who've been murdered because of their identity. You can learn more about combatting anti-trans violence, the intersections of racism and transphobia, and active allyship here.
 
Planning a gala during a global pandemic is no small task and that’s what makes theequalux_18 contributions of everyone who helped make this year’s EQUALUX possible so enormous. We could not have had such a successful event without our Title Sponsor Car Pros Kia, and our Scholar Cohort Champion Salesforce, Presenting Sponsor Premera, Student Empowerment Sponsor Symetra, and Event Sponsors Alaska Airlines, Amazon, DML Insurance, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley, The Westin Seattle; and Science & Innovation Virtual Sponsor Fred Hutch.
 
EQUALUX has become renowned for featuring top-tier LGBTQ+ performing artists, thanks to the creative vision of EQUALUX producers, Jared Michael Brown and Paul Flanagan. We owe a huge thanks to our dedicated EQUALUX Co-Chairs Masoud Torabi and Eve Hwang who brought visionary leadership and passion. Thank you to the wineries of SODO Urbanworks, who provided the world class wines to accompany our dinner: Structure Cellars, Rotie Cellars, Latta Wines, Kerloo Cellars, Sleight of Hand Cellars, Old World Tasting Room, Nine Hats Wines, and Patterson Cellars.
 
Special thank you to GSBA Programs Manager Carlos Chavez and GSBA Sr. Development Officer Jeff Boyer who worked tirelessly on planning the GSBA Scholarship Fund’s biggest night as a hybrid event, redesigning every element. Our hats are off to the wonderful staff of The Westin Seattle, who walked with us step-by-step through the planning process and made sure that our guests felt safe and welcome throughout the night.
 
If you missed the event, you can watch an abbreviated version here! (Some performances have not been included).

Thank you to the Beeks Family Foundation for the creation of a new endowed fund with a $100K gift. The generosity of several donors inspired others to dig deep. Special mention to Jay Petterson and Michael Mattmiller, Carrie Carson, Puget Sound Energy, Kurt Kruckeberg, Roz Edison, Kevin Spratt, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Carolyn Ockels, Steve King, Roz Edison, and Lori Dugdale, who gave so generously.
 
The success of the GSBA Scholarship Fund wouldn't be possible without our outstanding Board of Directors, led by Board Chair Jay Petterson, and their contributions to the Annual Leadership Matching Fund. A special thank you goes to Masoud Torabi for his magnificent leadership as Scholarship Fund Chair.
 
equalux_16We'd also like to thank our Supporting Sponsors Boeing, Google, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Safeco Insurance, Pacific Medical Centers, and Precision Garage Door Service; Voice of Scholarship InterChange Media Arts Productions; our wine district wineries Aluel Cellars, Elsom Cellars, Goose Ridge Estate Winery, and Nota Bene Cellars; and our caterers Taylor Shellfish, Mamnoon, and D Squared. We’d also like to thank our Event Photographers Nate Gowdy and Malcom Smith, Design Partner Enjoli Izidor, Print Sponsor Girlie Press, DJ Seattle Parties, and Floral Sponsor Sal Floral Design.
 
Most importantly, from the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you - our guests - for helping make this year's EQUALUX such an outpouring of community love and hope.
 
If you were not able to join us Saturday night, there's still time to show your support by making a year-end gift to the GSBA Scholarship Fund. If there was ever a time we needed community and support for small businesses and access to education, it is now. If you haven't done so, please renew your GSBA membership for 2022. If you are not yet a member, we invite your to join us in 2022. Together, we all thrive.
 
For equality,
 
Mark Rosén (he/him)
GSBA Acting President & CEO

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