On a lovely Sunday evening, many of the people whose gifts and projects make lifebetter for the LGBTQ community gathered at the historic Stillwell House and Garden in downtown Tucson May 15th for the 8th annual, 2011 edition of the Alliance Fund’s “Evening with Music and Friends.” Good feeling, food, drink, and music prevailed.

The music for the “salute to donors” was provided by the jazz trio Reno del Mar and by songwriter-composer Curt Beall. Kent Burbank, Director of the Victim Services Division of the Pima County Attorney’s office and an old friend of the Alliance Fund, served as master of ceremonies. He recounted the history of over ten years of cooperation among community donors and the Alliance Fund in channeling $445,000 in grants to over 100 projects that assist the LGBTQ community and celebrate diversity.

Two people who run current projects described the impact of donor’s gifts on the lives of members of the queer community. Jennifer Hoefle, Director of the Office of LGBTQ Affairs at U of Arizona, talked about the training program that provides “safe zones” for LGBTQ kids who need aid or counseling; Casey Condit, Youth and Family Programs Coordinator at Wingspan, talked about funding that supports youth activities at the Wingspan LGBTQ Community Center.

Doug Noffsinger, Alliance Fund Chairperson, closed the short program by describing progress in the Queer Youth Initiative (QYI). Projects included in the QYI are possible because of donor gifts that match funds provided in a grant from the Funders for LGBTQ Issues. The Alliance Fund’s QYI focuses on projects that make LGBTQ youth safer and saner in Southern Arizona. $15,000 were invested in such projects this year.

In addition to Stillwell House, several long-time supporters of the Alliance fund helped sponsor the event, including: Arizona Flower Mart, Eyelink Designs, Sir Speedy, Sunstreet Mortgage, Tucson Association of Realtors, Brenda Nowlan Photography, Casey and Cullen Cassidy, and members of the Alliance Fund Board.