By Steve Lee-O’Neal
The Denver PFLAG Scholarship Program held a rousing annual fundraiser on February 27 at the Wash Park Studio in Denver! Months of planning by the scholarship committee paid off as the actionpacked evening began at 6 p.m. for VIP PFLAG members, with invited guests arriving between 7 and 10 p.m. Our Chinese New Year theme brightened the space with decorations, and many Chinese zodiac red fire monkeys were spotted around the room. The coveted red plush monkeys auctioned off so fast it was amazing!
There was much to see, buy, and experience during the event, which raised more than $22,000 for our scholarship program! The auctioneer and emcees, Shelly St. John from Auction Divas, and Jerry Cunningham, owner of Out Front magazine, kept the event fresh and fast-paced as both the exciting silent and live auction items were snapped up by our wonderful supporters throughout the evening. Delicious catering, fine wine, some local beer, and a community panel added to the enjoyment, and some burlesque entertainment and dance music rounded out the evening.
To begin the program, our guests enjoyed listening to Daniel Ramos of One Colorado, Jerry Cunningham, and Carrie Schiff, who read the special letter from NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. A video featuring the accomplishments of one of last year’s scholarship recipients highlighted how our program supports ongoing LGBTQ and ally leadership. And after the live auction, a panel with Margaret Burd and Becky Brinkman, State Representative Beth McCann, Erin Bennett who is running for Senate District 31, Koren Vining from Foresters Financial, and Councilwoman Robin Kniech fielded LGBTQ community questions ranging from marriage equality, to community support, to LGBTQspecific financial topics.
This year’s gift donors, our event bidders, program participants, our eversupportive chapter members, and especially Dean Lewallen, Price Jepsen, and Rex O’Neal have shown us how important our ongoing program is to the state of Colorado! We have successfully doubled our 2016 awards to provide a $5,000 Elinor and Tom Lewallen Scholarship Award, and two $2,500 awards, too!
We plan to use the momentum from this year’s event to engage even more community and business support for next year. Please join us next year on February 11 for our 2017 annual scholarship fundraiser! We look forward to another rousing event with local support and new talent, and to seeing you there as our program continues to raise money for our worthwhile cause. We believe that rewarding strong youth leadership is essential to a strong community and a vibrant economy.
A great big thank you to the hardworking scholarship committee for this year’s sensational success. Great job, team!