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A recent event in Springfield aimed at raising money for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community brought in $40,000 for five LGBT charities. Organizers say the event has grown over the years and appeals to more than just the LGBT community. KSMU’s Matthew Barnes reports.
The first Springfield Black Tie event was held in the Vandivort Ballroom in 2002. About one hundred people came and the event raised around $10,000. This November’s Black Tie event was sold-out, more than 300 people attended, and the event generated over $40,000 dollars. Randall Doennig is president of Springfield Black Tie.
“Every year Black Tie brings in more allies as sponsors, advertisers, donors, attendees. And it’s really become a way for the community at large to sort of step forward and realize that the LGBT community is a vital part of the community overall and it’s worth the support of everyone,” says Doennig.
The silent auction featured over 200 items ranging from services donated by local businesses, to art gathered from other countries. According to Doennig, growing awareness of the need for diversity in the community has helped the Springfield Black Tie event’s success.
“That’s been one of the more rewording parts of the process. Is being able to bring the straight allies into the event and show them what great work these charities are doing in the community, how much need there is and give them the opportunity to support it,” says Doennig.
One of the reasons for starting the event, according to Doennig, was to bring in donations for groups that may be overlooked by other charities. The LGBT plans on donating to The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of the Ozarks, the Ozarks Lesbian and Gay Archives at Missouri State University, and other groups that help people outside the LGBT community.
“Like AIDS Project of the Ozarks. AIDS/HIV is not just a gay and lesbian disease. So the clients that they serve are not just members of the gay and lesbian community, and we don’t put any restrictions on the funds that we give them,” says Doennig.
The next Black Tie event will be at the convention center next to the University Plaza Hotel. We have a link to more information on our website, ksmu.org. For KSMU News, I’m Matthew Barnes.
For a link to the Black tie website click here.