On Thursday, May 2, Drag Queen Bingo, the monthly charity fundraising event produced by the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce, will reach the milestone of $250,000 raised for local non-profit organizations. Marking the milestone will be a reunion of drag personalities Rusty Nails and Felicity Diamond, who put the “drag” in Drag Queen Bingo when it launched in 2009, and current Mistress of Ceremonies DoMe Moore, aka Chamber board member Paul Crouch. A half-time show also will feature several Chamber board members and local business leaders performing as Drag Queens and Kings.
Proceeds from the event, part of the Rainbow Chamber Foundation’s 2009 Big Day Of Giving campaign, will support the Foundation’s scholarship program for LGBTQ and allied students and provide funding for local organizations that provide LGBTQA youth services. Drag Queen Bingo supports a different 501(c)(3) non-profit organization each month, and local organizations that have benefited include Sacramento LGBT Community Center, Davis Pride, WEAVE, Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus, West Sacramento Historical Society, Sac State Pride Center, PFLAG, Gender Health Center, River City Food Bank, Front Street Animal Shelter and many more.
Cost to play Bingo is $20, which gets you everything you need for eight Bingo games, including Bingo cards, daubers and a cheat sheet for rowdy call-backs, such as G-54: “Ooh ooh, the Disco G!” and B-11: “Legs to Heaven.” Admission to the game goes on sale at 6:30 p.m. at the venue; cash only, please.
For this one-night special event only, guests can take advantage of a $50 VIP package, which includes everything you need for eight games of Bingo, reserved seating, and a souvenir Drag Queen Bingo T-shirt. To purchase VIP tickets online in advance of the event, visit https://business.rainbowchamber.com/events/calendar/. For those who do not purchase VIP tickets, organizers recommend arriving early, as the event is expected to sell out.
Sacramento’s iteration of Drag Queen Bingo was launched in August 2009 by Fred Palmer, publisher and CEO of Outword Media Marketing Events, and Outword staffers Ron Tackitt and Charlie Peer, with original Mistresses of Ceremonies Rusty Nails and Felicity Diamond, joined more recently by DoMe Moore. Nails and Diamond retired from emceeing the event in 2016, and Moore continues as the regular event emcee. The three will reunite for this special one-night event on May 2.
In August 2015, after Drag Queen Bingo had raised more than $100,000 for local organizations, Palmer passed the torch to the board of the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber has continued producing the monthly event, coordinated by Chamber members Paul Villaluz Weubbe, R. Paul Villaluz Weubbe and Richard Hernandez with assistance from Chamber volunteers.
Held the first Thursday of each month, from 7 to 9 p.m., at Mango’s, 1930 K Street in Sacramento, Drag Queen Bingo features prizes for every Bingo, including theater tickets and souvenir packages donated by Broadway Sacramento. In addition to game proceeds, beneficiary organizations are invited to promote their services and fundraise during the event intermission. For more information about Drag Queen Bingo or becoming a beneficiary, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce is a regional chamber serving LGBT business owners and professionals across the Sacramento Valley, as well as straight allies who support its mission of fostering a prosperous, diverse and inclusive business community. For more information about the organization, visit RainbowChamber.com.
The Rainbow Chamber Foundation awarded nine $1,000 scholarships for the 2017-18 school year to the following students: Marshall Dankbar, Junior, Sac State; Augistine Garcia, SCOE; Nyree Hall, 2nd year Master’s student, Sac State; Jaela Harding, Freshman, University of Southern California; Travis Legault, Junior, Sac State; Kenneth McBride, Sophomore, UC Merced; Reina Miller, 2nd year, Lincoln Law School; Heidi Nguyen, Freshman, UC Davis; and Vanessa Vallarta, Sierra College. The scholarships were awarded as part of the Rainbow Chamber of Commerce 15th Anniversary Crystal Gala, held Sept. 14 at Dante Club.
“Every year, we are inspired and uplifted by the stories of our amazing scholars, the challenges they have overcome, and their determination to succeed,” said Foundation Chair Diana DePaola. “By helping these outstanding young people get their start, the Chamber is planting seeds for the future of our community.”
Marshall Dankbar is channeling his passion for all things technological into a pursuit for a Computer Science degree at Sac State. “The LGBT community in Sacramento has also been there for me when I needed them for support when I was younger,” he writes. “I came out when I was 13, and I didn’t know any other peers in my situation. I visited the Lambda Center [now Sacramento LGBT Community Center] in midtown Sacramento, where I was able to meet other teenagers who were part of the community, and this helped me greatly in terms of my identity. Since then, I have always been proud to be gay and to be a part of the LGBT community.
“One day after I’ve completed my degree, I would love to contribute back to the community by helping LGBT youth and the community with what I have learned during my studies, so hopefully I can make the same difference in other people’s lives.”
Augistine Garcia is a 4th grade teacher in San Juan Unified School District, and, with his partner, father to four adopted children. The scholarship will help him obtain an administrative credential from the Sacramento County of Education and a master’s degree in Education from National University. With the additional accreditation, Garcia hopes to become an elementary school principal, “to create a safe environment, welcoming and open campus for all students.”
Nyree Hall, who is seeking a master’s degree in Sociology at Sac State, is the first in her family to attend a university. After struggling for years to feel accepted, she came out to family, friends and campus community when she ran for student body president. “I decided that the best way for me to make a contribution to social justice is to educate others…,” she writes. “With my degree, I hope to educate students in higher education about the importance of diversity, inclusivity, feminism, the LGBTQ community, and about positive representation.”
Jaela Harding has been an exceptional scholar all her life, beginning high school at just 12 years old, graduating high school with a 4.38 cumulative GPA, now majoring in biochemistry at USC. At her conservative, Catholic high school, she bonded with other LGBTQ students and challenged the logic of homophobic church teachings. “By standing up for myself and my LGBT+ community, I have made small, yet significant changes,” she writes.
Travis Legault, a third-year government major at Sac State, has been interested in public service since high school and plans a career in legislative advocacy and campaign consulting. He is active in the College Democrats, Sacramento County Young Democrats, Stonewall Democratic Club of Sacramento Valley, and California College Democrats and is serving an internship in the office of Sacramento Councilmember Eric Guerra. He is interested in higher education policy and getting LGBT candidates elected to office. “No matter what, I will always take time to put my skills to use for this community that I am so proud to be a part of,” he writes.
Currently majoring in Business Management and Economics, Kenneth McBride plans to seek an MBA and is passionate about community service. At UC Merced, where 7 percent of the student population is African American, he serves on the executive board of the Black Student Union, is a member of Afrikans for Outreach and Development Program and the Baseball Club. He was named “Most Outstanding Freshman” in 2016-17. “I’m not on campus just to focus on grades,” he writes. “I really try to be that positive role model for other students around me.”
Reina Miller graduated from Sac State with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice, earning dean’s honors and becoming first in her family to earn a college degree, all while holding down two jobs. She currently volunteers for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) as an advocate for foster youth. At Lincoln Law School, she serves as vice president of the newly formed Lambda Law Student Association and on the boards of LLSA (Latina/Latino Law Student Association), WJS (Women’s Justice Society), and APALSA (Asian Pacific American Law Student Association).
Heidi Nguyen holds a degree in business marketing and works at AT&T. She says she was inspired to seek her MBA in Organizational Behavior by friends and mentors in the LGBT community. Through the AT&T Aspire Mentorship program and its partnership with Boys & Girls Club, she discovered a passion for helping at-risk youth. “I have not stopped my support the LGBT community, because the introduction into this community has been made me a better person,” she writes. “My desire to make the world a more inclusive place for everyone has pushed me to pursue my education.”
Vanessa Vallarta is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology, with a major in exercise science. Originally from Philippines, she emigrated to the United States with her family six years ago and is the first in her family to attend college. Growing up with a gay cousin, she became aware of the bullying and discrimination he experienced. “I promised him that he will never feel alone, because I will always be there for him and support him for everything that he chooses to do…,” she writes. “We all need someone to lean on, and I can be someone’s shoulder to lean on. I stand with the LGBTQ+ community.”
Rainbow Chamber Scholars are selected via a competitive application process, including a written essay. Because the program’s mission is to support local students, applicants must reside in or plan to attend a university, college, or school in the counties of Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Sierra, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne, Yolo, or Yuba. Applicants must be enrolled or planning to enroll in senior year of high school or in a university, college, or qualified vocational school and must have a minimum 2.9 cumulative GPA to qualify.
Since 2008 the Rainbow Chamber Foundation has contributed almost $50,000 to fund college and vocational education scholarships for LGBTQ and LGBT-supportive youth. The organization also provides funding support and sponsorships for youth service organizations including the Sacramento Gay & Lesbian Center, National Suicide Prevention Program Trevor Project, GSA Network, Transgender Law Center and Gender Health Center.
The Rainbow Chamber Foundation was established by the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce as a separate, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 2007, with the mission to promote mentoring, guidance, and education, and to support programs that improve quality of life for the LGBTQ community. The scholarship program is designed to motivate and assist LGBTQ and supportive students in pursuing educational degrees or vocational certificates. Applications for 2018-19 scholarship awards open March 1, 2018, and close June 30, 2018. For more information and the scholarship application form visit https://www.rainbowchamber.com/scholarship-program/.
Need money for college or post-secondary school? Applications are still being accepted for the 2017-2018 Rainbow Chamber Foundation Scholarship Program for LGBTQ & allied youth! Hurry! The application Deadline is days away on June 30th.
Must reside in or plan to attend university, college or qualified vocational school in Amador, Calaveras, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Sierra, Solano, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tuolumne, Yolo, or Yuba counties.
Must be enrolled in university, college or a qualified vocational school by Fall 2017.
Must have a minimum of 2.9 cumulative GPA
Must apply by June 30th and be selected by the Scholarship Committee
Invest in the future of our community! Limited Number of Tickets Available! Rainbow Chamber Foundation VIP Scholarship Dinner is Thursday, May 25, 6-9 pm. This fundraiser will be held at the beautiful new venue at Capital Public Radio. This exclusive event supports scholarships for Sacramento area LGBTQ and allied youth! Tickets $125. Reserve your seat NOW before we sell out!
Support LGBTQ Youth Scholarships! Donate to Rainbow Chamber Foundation on Big Day Of Giving! Join thousands in supporting non-profits on this day of philanthropy. You have 24 Hours to give where your heart is! #BDOG2017Click on the link below to donate to Sacramento Rainbow Chamber Foundation! www.bigdayofgiving.org/rainbowchamberfoundation