Out And About
The Plain Dealer
Sunday, April 08, 2007
Human Rights Campaign Annual Gala
Party pride: Cleveland’s chapter of the national Human Rights Campaign pulled off another spectacular black-tie benefit March 31 at the InterContinental Hotel & Conference Center Cleveland with an evening full of energetic entertainers, award ceremonies, dinner and dancing. More than 600 guests came out for the 14th annual gala, which helped raise approximately $120,000. The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest organization working for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality.
Fun for all: Event co-chairs Eric Lozier and Craig Foti put together the evening’s agenda, including inviting the hilarious, nationally recognized comedian Bruce Vilanch, who kept the crowd in stitches throughout the dinner program. The North Coast Men’s Chorus warmed up partygoers as they filed into the grand ballroom, and comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer continued the levity during the live auction. Local activist Patrick Shepherd received the group’s 2007 Leadership Award during the program.
VIP status: KeyBank sponsored an exclusive pre-party VIP reception and took the opportunity to tout the company’s commitment to equality. Its chief risk officer Chuck Hyle said diversity is “a huge issue for the bank.” KeyBank was the first large corporation in Northeast Ohio to offer domestic partner benefits, he said. It began the practice in 2001.
In the crowd: Cleveland City Council President Martin Sweeney, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Bridget McCafferty, Vic and Joan Gelb, David Wittkowsky, Kathy Crowley, Jane Daroff and a group of students from the University of Akron.