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Task Force exceeds goal, raises more than $325,000 at Miami Recognition Dinner

New release from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force:

MIAMI, Nov. 6 — Approximately 720 guests attended the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s 13th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner last month at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach — the highest attendance since 2005, when the same number of guests gathered in the wake of Hurricane Wilma.

“It’s a fantastic surprise,” says David Price, event co-chair. “We were worried that our numbers would be down considering the current state of the economy, but it appears that difficult situations only give the LGBT community and our allies more impetus to come together.”

“The dinner raises a significant sum for organizations serving the LGBT community, and that’s very important,” says Liebe Gadinsky, the other event co-chair. “But I have often said that even if we didn’t raise a single dime, this event is irreplaceable because it gives us a night to dress up, get together and celebrate the uniqueness and diversity of the LGBT community.”

The Oct. 17 event — which included two cocktail receptions (one exclusively for VIPs), dinner, an awards ceremony and dancing — exceeded its gross revenue goal, raising more than $325,000. More than $85,000 of this sum was raised the night of the event through the silent auction. Additional income is expected from the sale of auction items that did not receive bids at the event.

Karen Brown hosted the formal program segment, which included a speech by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey, musical performances by Kimona and Marger and a video yearbook of previous Miami Recognition Dinners.

U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) presented the National Leadership Award to Lt. Dan Choi, the former West Point cadet who has become the face of the campaign to overturn the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and also presented him with a flag recently flown over the U.S. Capitol in Choi’s honor. Local veterinarian and event committee member Steven Leidner presented the Humanitarian Award to one of his personal heroes, the Rev. James Trapp, president and CEO of the Association of Unity Churches International. Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award winner Steve Adkins was introduced by a moving tribute video that included remarks by Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower.

Grey Goose Vodka sponsored the bar, with wine provided by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly.

The financial success of the Miami Recognition Dinner can be attributed in large part to more than 20 corporate sponsors and underwriters. In their opening remarks, Price and Gadinsky noted that corporate support for the event was higher than ever before.

All combined net proceeds from the 2009 Miami Recognition Dinner and the 2010 Winter Party Festival benefit organizations serving the LGBT community. The Task Force donates two-thirds of the combined net proceeds to the Miami-Dade LGBT community through the GLBT Community Projects Fund administered by the Dade Community Foundation. The remaining one-third of the net proceeds helps fund the Task Force’s efforts to achieve equality for all LGBT people.

Sponsors

Platinum Sponsors: Burger King Corporation, Dade Community Foundation, James G. Pepper, Wachovia/Wells Fargo.

Gold Sponsors: AT&T, Akerman Senterfitt, Best Buy, Bradley Carlson & Aurelio Tiné, Liebe & Seth Gadinsky, Greenberg Traurig, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kraft Foodservice, Mario Magcalas, M.D., P.A., Merrill Lynch, Ryder Charitable Foundation, Shore Club.

Silver Sponsors: Alberto Arias & Wood Kinnard, Anonymous, Stephen E. Herbits, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman, Mark Kirby & Jerry Chasen.

Bronze Sponsors: Alan Behmoiras, Karen Costello & Rosemary Wilder, Lawrence R. Hyer, Christopher Russell & Mario Acosta, Jr., Elizabeth F. Schwartz, Barton G. Weiss, Judge David Young, Paula Redd Zeman.

Underwriters: Barefoot Wine & Bubbly, Berger Singerman, Bonnelly Productions, Brinker International, Cargill, Credelis, Grey Goose Vodka, William Neubauer/Comprehensive Money Management, Shore Club.

Media Sponsors: Atlantic Broadband, Mack Multimedia, Mark’s List, Passport Magazine, She Magazine, SoBe Social Club, South Florida Blade, Wire Magazine.

To learn more about the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, visit www.theTaskForce.org and follow us on Twitter: @TheTaskForce.

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