The GSBA Blog

Your Investment is Growing: A Special Message from Louise

by Louise Chernin, President & CEO
| Aug 15, 2017

islandwood leadership academy 2017 300 widthOn August 11, forty LGBTQ and allied Scholars hopped on a ferry to Bainbridge Island to attend an intensive three-day leadership immersion weekend. Did we ever think, back at the founding of our Scholarship Fund twenty-six years ago, that we would have grown so much in size and breadth of programming to support the GSBA Guarantee and the Leadership Academy?

To what do we owe these incredible accomplishments?

Certainly, we must start with our members. Thank you! You have been generous and GSBA is proud to be one of the only chambers in our region that invests in the next generation of leaders. What started as a fund supported just by members now has huge support from the broader community. I also want to give a shout out, because we can’t do it enough, to our many founders, long term members, and champions of the GSBA Scholarship Fund such as Mary Ann Bailey, Linda Bakken, Mike Schemm, Rita Smith, Bob Dlugosh, Neil McDevitt, Tim Bradbury, Lonnie Lusardo, Don Barr, Jim Vandermeer, Gary Collins, Tim Allen, Dean Sargent, Dave Brown, Lorelle Farber, Kirsten Weiss, and Josie Gardner, just to name some of those early visionary leaders.

As Mike often says, “all we wanted to do was help our kids who were thrown out of their homes and had no one to support them. We never dreamed our Scholarship Fund would be one of the largest and most effective LGBT scholarship funds in the country.” Of course, dreams remain just that unless they are backed by vision and strengthened by a strong infrastructure. For that, we have to thank our Board, most especially our past Board Chair, Kevin Gaspari; past Scholarship Chair, Stephanie Dallas; and current Chair, Carrie Carson, whose passion and commitment led to creating our first-ever Leadership Matching Fund, which gets 100% Board support. Add to the mix our dynamic Scholarship Steering Committee and scholarship team of Travis Mears, our Director of Development and Scholarship Programs, and Mark Rosén, our VP of Development and External Relations, and you have the recipe for unbeatable success.

There is nothing that will fill your heart more than knowing you played a part in shaping a better future for the LGBT community. If you have not yet made a personal investment in the GSBA Scholarship Fund, I encourage you to do so today. It is also not too soon start getting your table together for our community’s largest LGBT philanthropic event, EQUALUX: The TASTE of GSBA on November 18.

For equality,

Louise Chernin
President & CEO


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