A family organization, two crisis prevention lines and a youth agency are added to the mix


LGBT families recently spent a day out at North Texas Jellystone Park, an event organized by first time Black Tie Dinner beneficiary Rainbow Roundup. (Courtesy Marcia Stuhler/Love Is Love Photography)


DAVID TAFFET  |  Senior Staff Writer

Back Tie Dinner released its list of 2017 beneficiaries this week, and while one organization from last year is not on the list, four new ones have been added.

The Women’s Chorus of Dallas was dropped from the roster of beneficiaries; new agencies added are Big Brothers Big Sisters, Rainbow Roundup, Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas (SCCenter) and The Trevor Project.

Although Trevor Project is a national organization, earlier this year it opened a Dallas office. Lambda Legal, another national organization that has been a Black Tie beneficiary for years, maintains its South Central regional office in Dallas.

Funding from Black Tie Dinner to local organizations must remain in the Dallas area, but that shouldn’t be a problem for The Trevor Project.

“A large majority of the LGBTQ young people we serve contact us from southern states, including a significant number from the state of Texas,” said Steve Mendelsohn, interim executive director of The Trevor Project. “We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Black Tie Dinner, and the funds raised at this event will help us to expand our ongoing Southern Initiative to amplify the programs and services of the Trevor Project to all who might need our help.”

Rainbow Roundup is an educational and social organization for LGBT families. Founder Kimberly Kantor, who has two children, created the group in 2012 with 19 people. Today more than 1,700 people are involved.

Kantor said her group helps connect families to resources and support. Events have included trips to zoos and museums, swim parties and picnics.

She said her group’s Black Tie proceeds will go toward events, promoting visibility “and to provide more services to more families.”

Black Tie Dinner Co-chair Nathan Robbins said he was excited to have a family-oriented beneficiary among the mix for the first time in the dinner’s history. He also noted that Rainbow Roundup is based in Collin County, and a Black Tie goal has been to expand into that market.

Neither Big Brothers Big Sisters nor SCCenter are LGBT organizations, but both hope to provide more services to the LGBT community.

Big Brothers Big Sisters has launched programs with PFLAG, and “A good chunk of the youth they serve are LGBT,” Robbins said.

SCCenter runs a hotline for people in crisis or having suicidal thoughts. They hope to use Black Tie funds for additional training for all support staff on LGBT issues and for marketing to enable them to do more in the LGBT community.

“We’re excited about this partnership,” Robbins said.

Scheduled for June 3 is the new Black Tie Brunch. The price for tickets is being finalized, but the event will be held at the Crescent Court Hotel.

Robbins said he expected to sell 125 to 150 tickets to the event, which is underwritten by Mindy Berkson and Morgan W. Cox III.

Because of that underwriting, all money from ticket sales should go toward beneficiaries.

Robbins said he expected some form of entertainment at the brunch.

“We’ve been talking about it, and this is something we’ve been wanting to do for a number of years,” he said.

He said the inaugural event would have a lower price point than the dinner, so he hopes to attract some people who are priced out of attending the dinner.

The first announcement of this year’s Black Tie Dinner entertainment will be at the Sneak Peak event on Aug. 25. The winner of this year’s Kuchling Award and speakers or entertainment who have been signed by that time will be revealed then, too.

Until then, Robbins said, Black Tie is looking for sponsors and for silent auction donations. With the selection of beneficiaries, raffle ticket sales have begun, and table captain sales are getting under way.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition April 28, 2017.