Dec 2, 2015

A Record $775,000 Raised for LGBTQ Students

Greg speaking to the audience
Greg speaking to the audience

The 2015 TASTE of GSBA culminated Saturday, November 21 at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel, raising more than $775,000 for The GSBA Scholarship Fund. 100% of the proceeds raised at the event will benefit LGBTQ and allied students from across Washington state. As the largest and most successful LGBT chamber of commerce in the US, TASTE is the organization’s signature fundraising event, a black-tie evening of culinary delights, celebrity chefs, four-course gourmet dinner, entertainment from the incomparable Robbie Turner, and multiple auctions.

“Dressed in beautiful Cabaret-themed elegance, over 800 guests arrived at the Sheraton ready for an evening filled with incredible food, amazing wine, show-stopping entertainment and a laser focused purpose to raise money to ensure that our LGBT and allied students are supported and able to attend college,” said GSBA President and CEO Louise Chernin. “We are a community that understands adversity and we have learned how to take care of our own; we support each other’s businesses, we advocate for equality and we have the backs of our young people. That depth of support and generosity was in evidence all night as guests enjoyed each other and happily raised their paddles to raise a record amount of funds for LGBT and allied students.”                          

The evening kicked off with silent auctions and small plates from GSBA member restaurants and caterers. Participants included Barrio, Sur 16, Hi Life, Two Tartes, Hook & Plow, Tuxedoes and Tennis Shoes, Café Yumm!, Ernest Loves Agnes, and Gordon Biersch. Wine lovers enjoyed the return of the Wine District, a special tasting area with 12 Washington winemakers pouring tastes from Bartholomew Winery, Browne Family, Canoe Ridge, Elsom Cellars, Fidelitas Winery, Five Star Cellars, Good Ridge Estate Winery, Laurelhurst Cellars, Nota Bene Cellars, Structure Cellars, Va Piano Vineyards, and Waterbrook.

Highlights of the Live Auction included: international trips to Spain, Tuscany, and Panama City; wine getaways to Napa, Walla Walla, and Prosser; Chefs’ Dinners; and a Wine Frenzy and Magnum Madness.

The centerpiece of the evening was an emotional speech made by GSBA scholarship recipient, Greg, who spoke about the impact the scholarship made on his life. He was a GSBA scholar 2010-2013 who earned his Management Information Systems at Western Washington University (2014). He currently works as a Service Operations Center Analyst at Tableau Software in Seattle.

“When I turned 18, I was determined to escape my hometown and make college a priority. But I didn’t qualify for financial aid, and with my strained family relationships, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to make it through college. With the money I had saved up in high school, I was bound to run out in my second year,” said Greg. “I was lucky to receive a GSBA scholarship, which allowed me to graduate in 4 years with almost zero debt. I was able to take the time to focus on career development, and a month before I graduated I was offered a position at Tableau Software. I’m proud to say that after only a year out of college I made my first donation to the GSBA scholarship fund of $150.”

In the 25 years of the GSBA Scholarship Fund, the organization has awarded more than $2.1 million to more than 350 students. In 2015, the GSBA was able to support 48 students with $350,000 in educational scholarships.

Sep 17, 2015

GSBA Awards $350,000 to 48 Scholars!

2015 GSBA Scholars
2015 GSBA Scholars

Mayor Ed Murray addressed over 500 business leaders gathering to make history at the Seattle Waterfront Marriott on May 15 when the Greater Seattle Business Association gave out $350,000 in scholarships to 48 LGBTQ and allied students, reaching the milestone of having awarded over two million dollars in scholarships since 1990. The evening also marked the 25th Anniversary of the GSBA Scholarship Fund.

The GSBA Scholarship Fund awards educational scholarships to undergraduate lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and allied students, who exhibit leadership potential, demonstrate strong academic abilities and are actively involved in school and community organizations.

Scholars reflected a diverse group of students from across all of Washington state, pursuing a wide range of professions and with plans to positively impact their community. The GSBA Scholarship Fund supports the community by providing financial support, role-modeling and hope to outstanding lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and allied students, many who have no traditional means of support.

“I found out yesterday that I received a GSBA scholarship”, said Kelly, a three-time GSBA Scholar and current graduate student at Antioch University. “I just want you to know how grateful I am to the GSBA community. I have seriously struggled, and I feel thanks every day for the support and generosity I have received. I couldn't do it all without the incredible amount of support I've be blessed with.”

The GSBA Scholarship Fund started in 1990 because of the great financial need of lesbian and gay students with no other means of support. These students, because of their sexual orientation, were often discriminated against in school, experienced bullying by their peers and may have lost family support. Some were even thrown out of their homes because of their sexual orientation. As a marginalized group, these students often could not receive financial aid from more traditional sources.

Over the years, the GSBA Scholarship Fund has expanded its reach and its mission. Scholarships are now available to students of any age who are Washington state residents. They may be LGBTQ themselves or come from families with gay or lesbian parents, or straight, allied students who are committed to working for civil rights in the LGBTQ community. In addition, scholarships have been extended to graduate school students if they have received funding from GSBA during their undergraduate education.

GSBA President & CEO Louise Chernin is proud to have a membership that understands the need for a highly skilled work force that also represents the diversity of our communities is of paramount importance if we are to meet the challenges of a complex and rapidly changing world. She says “There is great pride in GSBA that our founding members back in 1990, when they created the first LGBTQ scholarship fund in the U.S., had the vision to recognize the importance of investing in the next generation of leaders. Today, GSBA business leaders continue to understand that providing access, financial support and encouragement to a diverse group of talented students will prepare the next group of leaders to meet these challenges. Identifying and funding untapped talent and creating opportunities is what the GSBA Scholarship Fund has been successfully doing for students for the past twenty-five years.”

Dozens of Microsoft employees volunteered their time to interview scholarship applications this year and for the fourth year in a row, Microsoft has donated $20k to award scholarships to students entering a STEM field. Other special purpose scholarships include the Chester Podlodowski Scholarship awarded to a first generation student, the Glenn Johnson & Michael Melancon Bright Horizons Scholarship for a student attending the University of Washington, and the Future Ribbon Scholarship awarded to a student whose field of study focuses on HIV/AIDS.

To date, the GSBA Scholarship Fund has awarded more than 500 scholarships totaling over $2 million dollars. GSBA scholarship awards range from $7,000 to $13,000 and provide significant support to students who often have little support from other sources. In addition to financial support, having the acceptance and encouragement from business and professional leaders provides LGBTQ and allied youth role models and the kind of validation important to all youth on the road to adulthood.


May 14, 2015

GSBA and Central Washington University Partnership

The Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) and Central Washington University have established a new waiver match agreement that invests in the education of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and allied students.

Under the new partnership, every GSBA Scholarship Fund recipient who enrolls at CWU will receive a tuition waiver match up to $2,500 from the university. The tuition waiver is renewable each year a student attends CWU and continues to receive scholarship support from GSBA.

“The partnership between CWU and GSBA is an important step in closing the opportunity gap in higher education for LGBTQ and allied students—a group who are all too often underserved by traditional support systems,” said Louise Chernin, GSBA President and CEO. “GSBA applauds CWU for taking a leadership role in breaking down barriers for LGBT and allied students to be able to attend college.”

CWU is among the top 50 LGBT-friendly universities in the nation as recognized by Campus Pride, a leading nonprofit that encourages safe campuses for LGBT students. And in 2014 CWU was a recipient of the INSIGHT Into Diversity Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award. The HEED Award recognizes colleges that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Only 83 institutions were honored nationwide, and CWU is the only four-year university in Washington to receive the award.

GSBA scholarships support a diverse group of students who have the capacity and vision to be the next generation of leaders and create a better world. Over the past 24 years, the GSBA Scholarship Fund has awarded $1.9 million to more than 300 LGBTQ and allied students from Washington. The fund is poised to award its two millionth dollar and celebrate its 25th anniversary when it presents $350,000 to 44 students at its annual awards dinner in May.

GSBA scholarship applications are online in October and are due in January. A team of business and nonprofit leaders, former scholars and community members choose the award recipients.

GSBA is the largest business chamber of its kind in the United States. With more than 1,100 members, it has been advocating for equality in business for nearly 34 years.

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.