On a beautiful May 7 evening, the LGBT-Straight Alliance Fund hosted its annual “Evening with Music and Friends” at the striking home of Mike Myers and Chas Baumgardner. Tony Paniagua of Arizona Public Media served as MC for a program that included music from Rob Paulus’ jazz ensemble ‘Uber Jam,’ song and guitar from Curt Beall, and vocals by Greg Stickroth.

On its 10th anniversary, the Alliance Fund dedicated the program to its steadfast donors who have supported the Fund’s effort to help solve the problem of chronic under-funding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender projects and organizations. Melissa Griebel represented previous grant recipients and related how grants to her organization, Ethica, have allowed development of a web-based guide and conferences on ethical LGBT adoption. Support of Ethica in the last two years of the Alliance Fund’s annual competitive grant round is but part of the $404,000 that has been granted to 90 projects since 2000. Additional comments of gratitude were directed to the large group of donor- supporters by Randy Soderstrom, the Fund’s chairperson, and by Kristen Birner, a Board member who organized the evening’s gala with help from Felipe Caldeira, project coordinator for the Alliance Fund, and John Jackson of the Board.

Alliance Fund grants are awarded following a competitive grant round that includes site visits. The philanthropy serves as a vehicle for both “straight” and LGBT donors to find worthy community projects they would like to support. Although grants go to projects that provide benefit to the LGBT community, they often are valuable to a wide segment of the population of Southern Arizona.

Sponsors of the Alliance Fund, including Gallery of Food, Eyelink Design, Sir Speedy-Tucson, Special Events Table Linens, Arizona Flowers, and Casey Cassidy-Barmaster, helped make the evening special. See links to them as well as Alliance Fund news and information at www.alliancefund.org. The Alliance Fund is a successful special project of the Community Foundation for Southern Arizona www.cfsaz.org.

If you would like to talk with an Alliance Fund Board member about getting involved with the philanthropy or donating to an effort you wish to support, get in touch with our project coordinator, Felipe Caldeira, at admin@alliancefund.org and he will arrange a meeting.