I set a new Personal Best this past week, attending eight fundraiser lunches/dinners, plus two mealtime official engagements for worthy causes that didn't involve raising money. The tightness of my clothes tells me I don't eat that way most of the time. Often, I barely have time for a cup of tea at midday during the work week.
The Amanda Awards for this past week's events:
* Most inspirational speaker (tie)
- State Rep Val Hoyle (D- Springfield) at NARAL ProChoice Oregon at the Hilton;
- Former state legislator Norma Paulus at New Leadership Oregon at the Portland Art Museum;
- Clackamas County Commissioner Ann Linneger at Emerge Oregon at the Hilton;
- Andrew Colas at the Minority Enterprise Development/Business Development Institute Awards held at the Convention Center
I heard many other wonderful speakers. It's hard to get up in front of a crowd and speak from the heart. I appreciate everyone who does.
* Most Creative Award Trophies (tie) - New Leadership's Shattered Glass Ceiling, and Portland Campfire USA's Exploregon team leaders, which included a gold-painted boom-box, and a Care Bear holding a talking turtle.
* Best Motivational Entertainment - Michael Allen Harrison and young piano students' trio at The Salvation Army's "All About Kids" event at the Oregon Zoo
* Most fun in being a participant rather than an audience member - Acting as a Soup Judge at the SE Works event at the Melody Ballroom, which involved tasting fifteen original-recipe soups, with fellow judges Kerry Debuse of Genoa Restaurant fame, and Genevieve Boutelle-Martin of Dave's Killer Breads. Fun and delicious!
* Most urgent of all the urgent needs - Assistance for children living outside, supported by Dinner & A Movie, whose event was held at Sunset Presbyterian Church off Highway 26.
* Best video illustrating the work (tie) - REACH Community Development, The Salvation Army "All about Kids", and Dinner & A Movie.
* Best faith-based event (tie) - The Salvation Army, Portland Adventist Community Services, and Dinner & A Movie
And for the food - the old line about rubber chicken at events isn't true in Portland. There are many establishments that do delicious catering with fine service - thank you to all the cooks and servers. Besides, after 20+ years of cooking dinners for my family, any meal cooked by someone else is a treat to me.
* Best Chicken - PSU's New Leadership Oregon, at the Portland Art Museum
* Best Salmon - Oregon Native American Chamber at Columbia Edgewater Country Club (I know, I've never been there before, either)
* Best Vegetarian - Portland Adventist Community Services at the Embassy Suites Airport
* Best Buffet (tie) - Emerge Oregon at the Hilton, and Campfire USA's taco bar at, and donated by, NW Natural
* Best Sandwich - REACH Community Development at the Governor Hotel
In case you're wondering, note that I pay for my tickets to fundraiser events with my personal money. I hope you will consider donating to causes you believe in, too. Even a little helps, if everyone pitches in. Please check out the links above. Not all the organizations announced their fundraising totals at the events, but those that did showed how generous Portlanders can be - even in tough times. The Salvation Army event raised $200,000, and Portland Adventist Community Services raised $100,026. As the MC said, special thanks to the person who gave the $26 to put them over their goal.
I go to these events and others like them to donate, to honor the work of staff and volunteers in the organizations, and to let participants know that this Portland City Commissioner values what they do. I return home, every time, with profound gratitude for all the wonderful people who work so hard to make things better in Portland, and feeling like I received more than I gave.