equality gala 2017

The Greater Jacksonville Gala

Saturday, January 14

Equality Florida’s gala season begins this year with the Greater Jacksonville Gala, rescheduled from last autumn due to Hurricane Matthew. The gala will be held at The River Club (1 Independent Dr., Suite 3500, Jacksonville) on Saturday, January 14, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Organizers ask that you dress in cocktail attire.

At the Gala, attendees can expect hors d’oeuvres, an open bar, a silent auction, and dancing with music provided by Jason Lamar and The Rig. Also at the event, Equality Florida co-founder and CEO Nadine Smith will give her “State of the State” address, outlining Equality Florida’s achievements in 2016 and what needs to be done to secure full LGBT equality in the future.

At the Greater Jacksonville Gala, Equality Florida will launch its Legacy Society Program. They describe it as “an initiative aimed to ensure the future of LGBT equality is strong by enabling supporters of our mission to leave a legacy of equality for generations to come.” If you are interested in leaving money to Equality Florida in your will, you can learn more by calling them directly at (813) 870-3735, or by visiting eqfl.org/legacy.

Two people and one corporation will be honored by Equality Florida at the Greater Jacksonville Gala. The first award honoree is Frieda Saraga, who will be given the Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the Jacksonville LGBT community. She started Jacksonville’s first HIV/AIDS support group in 1991 and founded Jacksonville’s chapter of PFLAG in 1992.

Hope McMath will be given the Voice for Equality Award. A strong ally, Ms. McMath was the former director of the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and a proponent of the human rights ordinance Jacksonville has yet to pass. “Hope has used her voice and her important leadership role in the Jacksonville community to help advance the rights of LGBT people, promote diversity and inclusion and to move forward the goal of passing and LGBT inclusive Human Rights Ordinance for Jacksonville,” Equality Florida said in a statement. CSX will be given the Equality Means Business Award.

Tickets are available for purchase right now and cost $125 per person ($35 with a valid student ID). Sponsorship opportunities begin at $500 and include complimentary tickets. For more information on how you can purchase your ticket, visit eqfl.org/jacksonvillegala or call (407) 462-9692. Your names will be held at the door for verification upon arrival.

Equality Florida is the state’s largest civil rights organization dedicated to full LGBT equality. For more information, visit eqfl.org.