Holiday with Heart fundraiser scheduled for Dec. 7 at Toledo ClubWritten by Sarah Ottney | Editor in Chief | firstname.lastname@example.org
For many, the Holiday with Heart Charity Gayla is among the most anticipated events of the year, organizers say, offering an opportunity to raise money for local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) causes while enjoying a fun, fancy evening out.
Taglined “the premier social event for LGBT community and friends,” the 37th annual event will take place Dec. 7 at The Toledo Club, 235 14th St. Tickets are $75.
“Holiday with Heart is the only formal affair for the local LGBT community and I feel that sets us apart from any others,” Rick Cornett, a member of the group’s board of directors, wrote in an email to Toledo Free Press. “It is nice to get all glammed up and go to The Toledo Club to help raise funds for great causes. I feel it is a perfect way to jump-start the holiday season in style and meet new people while doing so. We are very proud that we are the oldest and longest lasting LGBT fundraiser in the entire state of Ohio now.”
Attendees can expect an elegant evening with a served dinner, dancing, DJ Richie, live entertainment, a photobooth from Grand Lubell Photography, a silent auction and plenty of networking and socializing opportunities, said Cornett, who has attended the event since 1991.
“Tickets go fast and we highly suggest you get your reservations in early to assure you get seated with your group,” he said. “We’ve sold out for the past five years and The Toledo Club maxes out at 300 guests.”
Among this year’s beneficiaries are Why Marriage Matters Ohio.
“We are very excited to be helping them for the first time,” Cornett said. “They are making great strides to help legalize gay marriage in Ohio and we want to help them achieve this last major hurdle in the gay rights movement for equality for all LGBT people.”
Another first-time beneficiary is Mpowerment, a Toledo social group for gay, bisexual and transgender men ages 18-29 as well as resource for HIV prevention education. The remaining funds raised will go to the Holiday with Heart fund at the Toledo Community Foundation.
The fund was established in 2011 in memory of Gayla co-founder Dick Flock. So far, more than $27,000 has been raised. Once the goal of $100,000 is met, the fund will be used to support local LGBT causes year-round, Cornett said.
“We encourage anyone that can’t attend the Gayla to make a donation toward this fund and remember us in your estate planning, or make a donation in honor of a loved one who has passed,” Cornett said.
Many straight allies also attend the Gayla, committee member Billy Mann said.
“It’s a very welcoming atmosphere and a good blend of allies who aren’t necessarily LGBT, such as friends, family, business professionals,” he said. “It’s a really good mix of people.”
Mann said he looks forward to dressing up and having fun while knowing he’s making a difference by giving back to local charities.
“We in the gay community love going out to nightclubs and there’s a great dance scene in Toledo, but we so rarely get to slow dance with a partner and be one-on-one with them. The Gayla is a nice formal setting for that,” Mann said. “There’s really no other event like it. It really kicks off the holiday party season.”
Toledo Free Press is a media sponsor of the Gayla.
For more information, visit hwhcharitygayla.org.