by Nicole Crews
She’s 17. She’s gorgeous and outrageous. And she’s Greensboro born and bred. Of course I’m talking about the Guilford Green Foundation’s annual gala that has emerged from a club kid to become the “it” girl of Greensboro’s social season.
In 1995, a group of Greensboro community members banded together to help Triad Health Project — the local AIDS service organization — raise funds. By the next year they’d come up with a plan to host a Green Party at Club Babylon. The event was such a hit it launched the formation of what we know as today’s Guilford Green Foundation. In 1998, the Green Party’s founders and organizers expanded their repertoire to help fund other organizations affiliated with the LGBT community and formed the nonprofit.
The organization’s biggest annual fundraiser, the gala brought in $58,000 last year for grant recipients Equality NC, FaithAction (immigrant outreach for those identifying as LGBTQ), Community Theatre of Greensboro (West Side Story performance sponsorship with LGBTQ Latino-focus), Bayard Rustin Conference (activism conference for LGBTQ people of color), Interactive Resource Center, Kaleidoscope (providing therapy for LGBTQ youth in rural areas), NC Trans Pride, PFLAG Leadership, Triad Friends (providing meeting space for LGBTQ organizations), Triad Health Project, Triad Pride Men’s Chorus, UNCG Queer Student Union, UNCG Speech and Hearing (for those in transition to achieve gender neutral voices), Alamance Pride and Youth Safe.
To date, the Guilford Green Foundation has invested more than $800,000 to support these programs and alike organizations — but come Saturday at Proximity Hotel it’s all about the party.
This year’s theme — “Hollywood: Everyone’s a Star!” — has taken on a life of it’s own with promotional and event informational videos featuring parodies of film and starring Greensboro luminaries. Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan, who was also recently named executive director of Guilford Green Foundation, glides down a staircase as Scarlett O’Hara in a Gone with the Wind clip and into the arms of foundation board member Sarah Catherine Poole as Rhett Butler. Same-gender marriage celebs Frank Slate Brooks and Brad Newton as Joan and Christina Crawford, respectively, terrify with a wire-hanger spoof. Wonder Woman makes an appearance and there’s a nod to Fight Club starring Evan Olson and even a Showgirls reference.
Foundation board member and senior co-chair of this year’s gala Jessica Mashburn is the mastermind behind this year’s event and has served as the creative driving force behind these promotional videos (available on Youtube) and the gala itself. Tigermoth Creative pitched in their services to bring the videos to life.
Poole and Evelyn Day are junior co-chairs of the event and the rest of the planning committee is made up of board chairs Jeff Smith and Melissa Greer, Tony Doles, Leigh Anne Kincaid, Aaron Tyler, Lyna Urmos, Dennis Quaintance and Martha Bryant of Quaintance Weaver Restaurants and Hotels.
Stay tuned next week for coverage of the party of the year.