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HRC's Pacific Northwest Dinner seeks to raise $300,000
HRC's Pacific Northwest Dinner seeks to raise $300,000
T.R. Knight, Ross "The Intern" Mathews and Jane Lynch to attend

by Robert Raketty - SGN Staff Writer

see:HRC Banquet photos

The Human Rights Campaign will hold its Eighth Annual Pacific Northwest Dinner at The Westin Seattle (1900 Fifth Avenue, Seattle) on Saturday, October 20, 2007. The annual black-tie affair features more than 1,000 guests and is one of Seattle's swankiest events in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender community.

In its short history, the Pacific Northwest Dinner has raised over one million dollars for HRC, one of the nation's largest LGBT organizations advocating for equal rights through advocacy, education and outreach programs. The dinner is organized annually by a committee of 25 local volunteers.

The theme his year is "Greater Than Now," according to HRC Dinner Co-Chair Lucy All. "All the great momentum and our work have made today greater than yesterday," she explained. "Together, we can make tomorrow greater than now."

All says dinner organizers, including fellow co-chair's Sean West and Steve Sgervacio, are hoping guests will reflect on the victories HRC has had, both at the local and national level this past year, and commit to helping to build momentum for the upcoming election year.

"This is a sort of valley year; next year will be an election year. We will have some elections and initiatives here in this state and across the United States that we need to have a lot of support and energy around," she said. "We live in a state that affords us a lot of comfort but we have a lot of work to do across the U.S. and these next few years are going to be really important for some of the initiatives that we have going on."

This year, Ross "The Intern" Mathews will emcee the evening. Originally born in Mount Vernon, Washington, Mathews has made a name for himself as a former intern and correspondent for The Tonight Show and has appeared on Battle of the Network Reality Stars, Celebrity Fit Club and various E! Network specials. He also was a guest host on The View last July. All says he's "hilarious" and will "be a lot of fun."

Jane Lynch, a Lesbian and seasoned television star and movie actress, will be awarded HRC's National Equality Award. She wrote and starred in the award-winning play Oh Sister, My Sister in 1998, which was revived in 2004. Her breakthrough film role came in 2000, when she played Christy Cummings, a masculine Lesbian personal dog handler in Best in Show. She was honored by POWER UP in 2005 as one the Ten Amazing Gay Women in Showbiz of the year.

The National Equality Award will be presented by T.R. Knight, an Emmy Award-nominated and Screen Actors Guild Award-winning actor. He is best known for his role as Dr. George O'Malley on ABC's top-rated drama Grey's Anatomy.

Dinner organizers hope to raise $300,000 for HRC through ticket sales, a silent and live auctions, corporate sponsorships and individual donations. "We have a pretty aggressive fundraising goal," admits All. "We are hoping to sell out this year."

The auction features over $90,000 in live and silent auction items. "We have a pretty expansive live auction," said All. "We have 10 items in the live auction-very exclusive packages."

Among the live auction items are a VIP package to the Tony Awards in New York, a $5,000 gift certificate to Turgeon Raine's downtown Seattle jewelry store, a $3,000 gift certificate toward Luly Yang's couture line, and a $7,500 shopping spree from Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

A silent auction will present bidding opportunities galore on everything from trips and spa packages to art, food and wine and everything in between. "We have a silent auction as well, so there are pieces that don't cost $10,000," said All.

Tickets can be purchased online at the HRC Seattle dinner website or at the door on a space-available basis. Tickets start at $150 for seniors, students and elected officials. However, general admission is $200. Limited financial assistance may be available to those whose financial resources might otherwise prevent them from attending the dinner.

For tickets or more information, e-mail dinner@hrcseattle.org or visit www.hrcseattle.org/dinner.
picture: top - T.R. Knight; middle - Jane Lynch; bottom - Ross Mathews
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