Volunteer and Board Member Stories


Volunteers and Board Members (including Advisory and past Advisory) of the Black Tie Dinner are invited to put their special Black Tie Dinner experience in the context of this year’s theme, “Stories Untold, Let Your Life Speak.”


3 Responses to Volunteer and Board Member Stories

  1. Ron says:

    Within two years of moving to Dallas, at the encouragement of newfound friends, I attended my first Black Tie Dinner. Paul Tsongas was the keynote speaker.

    In retrospect that Black Tie Dinner was at an inflection point of my own personal adult journey. Prior to arriving in Dallas I frequently moved, being on a semi-calculated course to where I would arrive next, on a path to become “me.” In retrospect, while I certainly sought community, I never foresaw all the dimensions that would eventually unfold.

    I left a small Northern Michigan city on the Canadian border and subsequently lived in some of the largest metropolitan areas of the country. My journey took me to Washington, DC for 6 months which was a stepping stone to backpacking for months in Europe. Then a move to New Orleans which included coming out, at least to myself. I was accepted into a leading design school in Los Angeles, an early life goal, and along the way came out again but this time to family and long-time friends. Midway through the design program I had to earn more money so I took a year and a half construction job on the Texas Gulf Coast, just outside Houston. Upon graduation I left California for NYC and landed in a perfect Manhattan access suburban in New Jersey. After 15 months of exploring the Big Apple a move to Dallas extended my propensity for wanderlust.

    At that Black Tie Dinner in 1992, for me it was partly a voyeuristic experience and part party. However through the energy of the evening I clearly realized the vibrancy of “Gay and Lesbian North Texas.” A deeper sense of community began to unfold including a greater consciousness towards giving and serving.

    I am now clear that Black Tie is a celebration by our community for those who do so much for our community. Beneficiaries, Sponsors, Table Captains, local and national leaders – from the GLBT community and the larger community – all are celebrating the caring power and action that occurs here in North Texas. The Black Tie Dinner is truly greater than the sum of its parts. At the Dinner’s core is the vibrant soul of the North Texas GLBT community; its whole is one of the greatest GLBT philanthropy events you can find anywhere!

  2. Susan Spalter says:

    This is the first blog I have ever entered. But then, I’m old and blogging is new.

    I’ve put myself “out there” for a reason: I want to see the people of our community come to this forum and express themselves about what may be the most phenomenal of all fund raising efforts – The Black Tie Dinner. I use the word “phenomenal” on purpose because I know of no other event that uses this model and achieves so much. Every year, 20 local beneficiaries are chosen to participate, and every year approximately an equal number of board members volunteer to lead and guide those beneficiaries in producing what has been called The Best Party in Dallas.

    So, if it’s so great, what’s to talk about? Plenty!

    Every year there are passionate discussions about changes and additions to what has been happening for over 25 years. Should there be more beneficiaries, should there be fewer? Should the beneficiary qualifications change? Must the beneficiaries be GLBT oriented? Should we raise the ticket price? How can we get Fort Worth more involved? How can we get younger people on the board? How can we improve the actual event itself? Do we need another event some other time during the year? What do people want in the auctions? Should we offer a less formal “satellite” dinner experience? How do we get the people of Dallas to put The Black Tie Dinner on the same social status as the big “non-gay” events?

    Having served on the BTD Board of Directors myself, I can tell you for sure that this is a passionate group — passionate about keeping Black Tie the very best event in Dallas, and perhaps in the whole USA! Let’s talk!

  3. BJ Anderson says:

    Congrats on new blog, everyone! I still remember my first BTD (1987?) when Rita Mae Brown had to cancel as speaker because her best friend was dying of AIDS in NYC. Vivian Shapiro of HRC Board spoke in her place, and read a letter from Rita Mae that was powerful, thought-provoking, and of course brought tears as well.

    I was so completely thrilled to see everyone so dressed up and handsome and gorgeous. And not just the guys in drag. There were about 450 people there and it was the largest gathering of us all dressed up I’d ever seen. My heart races just thinking about what an affirming experience it was.

    I hope it’s still that thrilling to new attendees, even though the size of the project has become so gi-normous. I am in awe of the work that so many people put into such a spectacular night of fun, celebration and recognition. Congratulations to BTD Committee, to sponsors, auction donors, volunteers, recipient organizations etc. etc.

    Hope to see you at BTD this fall!
    BJ Anderson

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