AUCTION RECAP: Friday Night Alight for Basic Rights Oregon

October 12, 2011

Last Friday night was sizzling at the Portland Art Museum, as supporters gathered to celebrate Basic Rights Oregon at their annual party. The theme, IGNITE, certainly got the party fired up, and the BA360 team was thrilled to throw on our dapper suits and sassy cocktail frocks to join the fun—which all told, raised more than $260,000 in support of LGBT rights!

Kate Kendall praising the hard work of BRO during dinner at IGNITE.

This year actually involved two events in one at the Museum’s Mark Building, directed by Samantha Swaim—a move that proved quite popular with the over 900 guests. The night began downstairs in the sunken ballroom with dinner by Vibrant Table, a rousing speech by Kate Kendall, the Executive Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and of course, an exciting live auction with packages that got the room buzzing. Think: an evening with Angels in America actor Wade McCollum; a visit to the Robert Reynolds Chefs Studio; getaways to Hawaii, San Francisco, and Italy; and a workout with rugby star Ben Cohen, to name a few.

BA360’s Johnna Wells on fire during the live auction!

They also took the time to pause and watch a new video to focus on a key goal of the night: to raise enough funds to run the Marriage Matters ads on statewide TV for another week. The new video showcased how minds—and hearts—can be changed to support the right to marry for all:

Meanwhile, upstairs in the Kridel Grand Ballroom, the spark for an epic dance party was getting ready to BLOW. UP. Guests stepped into the photo booth to answer the question, “What ignites you?” and then headed into the red-drenched ballroom with an illuminated bar front and center.

Guests answered the question with what matters most to them.

But even as the party heated up, the giving didn’t end, thanks to a new text-to-donate program powered by Qtego Auction. It was incredible to see the fundraising total rise exponentially on the big screens! And even as DJ Dan-o-mite and DJ Lunchlady got people to bust a move, they could still keep giving throughout the night in the spirit of celebration. It’s a promising technology that we’re excited to see in action.

Qtego-powered text-to-give gets started.

All in all, it was an event that tried new things and found that to be a roaring success! Want to see more photos of all the fun? Check out the BRO event’s Facebook page. (Thanks to Amaren Colosi, Jonny Schultz, and Rosemary Ragusa who photographed the event.)

Weekend Preview: Party for Equality This Friday

October 3, 2011

What ignites you? Equality. Family. Inclusion. Love. Community.

That’s the question that Basic Rights Oregon has been asking leading up to their annual celebration this weekend: IGNITE! A Party for LGBT Equality in Oregon. We’re so honored to be a part of this event and can’t wait to see what a rousing success it will be.

via IGNITE event site

If you’re not yet familiar with Basic Rights Oregon, the organization has worked for the past 15 years to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. They have grown from a passionate grassroots movement to an even more passionate statewide nonprofit, with more than 10,000 active contributors and 5,000 volunteers. At the same time, the conversation surrounding gay marriage has risen from a whisper to a headline-making news around the country. The message has become loud and clear: marriage, a symbol of love and the foundation of family, is a right that every person should have.


With the hope of putting a measure on the 2012 ballot to overturn the state constitutional amendment that defined marriage as being only between one man and one woman, Basic Rights Oregon launched their Love. Commitment. Marriage campaign to support “the freedom to marry for Oregon.” Perhaps you’ve seen the TV spots featuring couples talking about what marriage means to them—that marriage matters.

These ads have been running in heavy rotation for two weeks, but research shows an additional third week would have the most impact to gain the vote for marriage equality. Friday night’s fundraising efforts will be focused on this goal, helping this powerful message reach more and more people throughout the state. Even if you won’t be at the sold out donor dinner and auction, you can still contribute to the cause online.

And of course, everyone is invited to join the party later that evening. IGNITE is about celebrating the hard work to grant equality to all Oregonians—we’ll toast to that! Guests will enjoy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, live music by Laura Gibson, and dancing to DJ Danomite and DJ Lunchlady—and pssst, a few surprises—in the Portland Art Museum’s Kridel Grand Ballroom. Tickets are $75 and still available online until Thursday. Join us as we party for equality!