The Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 16th year at its annual scholarship and awards gala, “Boas & Bow Ties,” on Thursday, September 20, at Hilton Sacramento Arden West in Sacramento. The sold-out event drew more than 300 guests and honorees.

The event, a fundraiser for the Rainbow Chamber Foundation, honored 15 LGBT and allied 2018 scholarship recipients, the highest number of scholarships awarded in one year in the 10-year history of the non-profit organization. Six of the 15 scholarships were awarded by the Palmer Family Health Care Professionals Scholarship Fund, established in 2018 to commemorate the parents of Outword Magazine publisher Fred Palmer. The Rainbow Chamber Foundation has awarded a total of more than $65,000 to 66 LGBT or LGBT-supportive students.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of working with the Sacramento Rainbow Chamber of Commerce and our Rainbow Chamber Foundation is having the opportunity to invest in deserving LGBT and allied students,” said Chamber President Diana DePaola. “Every year we hear from students how much this unrestricted funding means to them. They are our inspiration and our hope for the future of our community.”

In addition to the scholarship awards, the Chamber presented its 2018 Business Leader of the Year award to Paul Villaluz Weubbe of Laughton Properties Inc. and Billy’s Farm. Also honored were nominees Tina Reynolds of Uptown Studios and Janet Smith of Lucky Buddy Petcare. The Chamber’s Business Leader of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has contributed to the Chamber and demonstrated leadership in the LGBT and business communities.

Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen installed the Chamber’s 2018-19 Board of Directors, with Reynolds serving as Mistress of Ceremonies. Live entertainment included performances by jazz singer Megan Ugarte of Sac State and drag personalities Taryn Thru-U, DoMe Moore and Precious Cargo. Charity auctioneer Steve Godfryd of Pacific Auction Company will preside over live and silent auctions, with all proceeds benefiting the Foundation’s scholarship fund.

The evening’s entertainment included performances by members of Sacramento’s Imperial CourtTaryn Thru U (Johnathan Cameron)Precious Cargo (Jake Bradley-Rowe), and Do Me Moore (Paul Crouch). Singer Joe Engle performed our National Anthem; and Megan Ugarte, vocals; Alex Agius, piano; Alex Reiff, bass; and Sean Nelson on drums, all of Sac State, performed for guests at our VIP Sponsor Reception. Sacramento Vice Mayor Steve Hansen installed our 2018-2019 Board of Directors, and Mistress of Ceremonies Tina Reynolds kept the whole evening rolling smoothly.

Congratulations to 2018 Gala Chair R. Paul Villaluz Weubbe and his event committee on a job well done.

Of course, none of this would be possible without the support of our generous sponsors, including the following Gold, Silver and Bronze level sponsors: Outword MagazineWells Fargo BankSMUDLasher Auto GroupSacramento KingsCalifornia Army National GuardGolden Pacific BankRCPOne Community HealthStephanie Slagel State Farm, and Capitol Archive and Print Holdings.

Following the dinner and program, guests migrated to the Boas & Bow Ties Afterparty at Faces Nightclub in Midtown Sacramento.

Thank you to all who helped make Boas & Bow Ties 2018 an evening to remember.

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 climate. For more information about the organization, visit RainbowChamber.com.