TUCSON (Observer Update) - The LGBT-Straight Alliance Fund held its “Evening with Music and Friends” annual fundraiser at the elegant home of Chas Baumgardner and Michael Myers on May 1, 2009. Ernesto Portillo Jr. served as the master of ceremonies for a nice crowd on a beautiful evening that celebrated the Alliance Fund’s philanthropy. Ken McKinley and Nancy Pancino of Open Inn provided narrative on how the Alliance Fund’s grant to their organization had been leveraged into a major funding success, and Portillo summarized the Alliance Fund’s efforts since 2000. Funding of nearly $400,000 has been distributed among more than 70 projects that benefit the LGBT community or contribute to the support of diversity in Tucson and Southern Arizona.
Randy Soderstrom, the Alliance Fund Chairperson, also took the stage to thank the many individual and business sponsors of the Fund’s efforts, including Pronto Printing, Eyelink Design, and Special Events Table Linens. He also introduced prominent members of the community in attendance including City Council member Rodney Glassman and representatives from Council member Karin Uhlich’s office. Recognition and gratitude were extended to three leaders of important service organizations who attended—Jason Cianciotto of Wingspan, Wendell Hicks of the Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation (SAAF), and Scott Blades of the Tucson Interfaith HIV-AIDS Network (TIHAN). Michael Hutchins capped the formal program with a review of why philanthropy is rewarding and important to the LGBT community and to celebrating diversity in Southern Arizona.
Music by a young jazz group from the Tucson Jazz Institute, the “Blue Note Combo,” was heard throughout an event that featured delicious fare from The Gallery of Food and was colored by arrangements from the Arizona Flower Market. Alvaro Mendizabal closed the evening with commentary on and performance of works for classical guitar.
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