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.