Co-chairs say early signs show fundraiser off to a better start after 2009 recession
Officials with the Black Tie Dinner this week announced that GameStop has already signed on as presenting sponsor for the 2010 fundraising dinner, and that Park Place Motors has already agreed to underwrite the raffle vehicle for 2010.
This year’s raffle vehicle is a 2011 Mercedes-Benz C300 Sport Sedan.
Co-chair Ron Guillard said that both sponsorships were secured earlier this year than last.
The 2009 dinner raised $1.04 million to distribute between the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and local beneficiaries, down slightly from 2008′s total of $1.19 million. Guillard acknowledged that the economic recession impacted the 2009 fundraiser, but said Black Tie board members believe this year will see a return to the event’s tradition of increasing its end total each year.
"We have our presenting sponsor and our raffle vehicle confirmed six to eight weeks earlier this year than we did last, and that is incredibly encouraging to us," Guillard said.
He added that the board sees this year as "a fresh opportunity to distance itself from the economic challenges of 2009."
One thing Guillard said the board members want to duplicate from last year’s dinner is "the program flow.
Although the keynote speech had traditionally come at the end of the evening, 2009′s keynote speaker, San Francisco Gavin Newsom, spoke at the beginning of the program.
"The feedback we got from the people who attended last year showed that people really liked having the keynote speaker come much earlier in the program, and they really liked having someone who could speak directly to LGBT issues" the way Newsom did, Guillard said. "We got that message, and we’re going to follow through on it."
Guillard and his co-chair, Nan Arnold, both said that organizing the event is a year-round effort, and that they are pleased with planning so far for the 2010 Black Tie Dinner. The board is accepting beneficiary applications through Friday, Feb. 26, and the local beneficiaries for this year will be announced on March 31.
Guillard said that the board is already working to find a keynote speaker and to choose award winners for the year.
In a statement released this week, dinner officials noted that GameStop has a perfect score of 100 on HRCF’s Corporate Equality Index, and is "a committed corporate partner within the GLBT and local community."
GameStop is ranked 348 on the Fortune 500 list and is the world’s largest video game retailer, with more than 6,100 retail outlets worldwide.
Arnold said that each year, corporate and individual sponsors are "some of our most loyal supporters.
"For corporations, Black Tie Dinner is a way to meet various objectives, including diversity programs, local community giving and target marketing," she said. "For individual sponsors, Black Tie Dinner is a means to support many organizations at once, or simply an exciting venue for personal philanthropic giving."
Individual sponsorship opportunities begin at the $4,000 Sapphire level, and corporate sponsorship opportunities begin at the $6,500 Ruby level.
Among the benefits of sponsorship are getting to choose tables at the dinner first, based on the date of sponsorship commitment and sponsorship level.
Arnold and Guillard also stressed the importance of the annual vehicle raffle in helping boost proceeds for the Black Tie Dinner each year.
A limited number of tickets are sold each year, for $100 each, and the raffle has the potential to bring in $200,000, they said.
Tickets for this year’s raffle are already available through Black Tie board members and DFW Federal Club Governing Committee and Steering Committee members.
The winning ticket will be drawn during the Nov. 6 dinner from a pool of tickets determined by drawings at earlier events. Those who buy their tickets early have a better chance of winning, since their tickets will be in the pot for more qualifying drawings.
The first qualifying drawing will be Friday, Feb. 19 during the DFW Federal Club Mixer at Dish. •
For information on Black Tie Dinner sponsorships, contact Development Director Maggie McQuown by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 972-733-9200, ext 8. For more information on the vehicle raffle or Black Tie Dinner in general, go online to BlackTie.org or call 214-632-7163.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition February 19, 2010.