Everyone loves a community dinner. It’s a chance to dress up -“ because the dress is formal -“ and it’s a chance to raise much needed monies for two community groups who subsist, it has to be said, from the kindness of the community.

Aurora co-founder Bruce Pollack admits though, that this dinner is the last of its kind. There’s nothing like this any more, he mused. There used to be the balls and the fundraising dinners and all of those sorts of things, but they don’t have them any more. This [dinner] and DIVA are the only ones left.

For the Aurora Group’s fourth annual dinner, community groups Twenty-10 and the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service, will be the happy beneficiaries of all monies raised.

The Aurora Group’s main aims are to hold events that bring the gay and lesbian community together through the annual dinner and to raise funds for the community and its beneficiaries through its Giving Program. It’s something which Pollack takes very seriously.

Last year, while we had a maximum capacity of 750 people, we had in excess of 400 people, Pollack told Sydney Star Observer. But we were still able to distribute $16,000 to the Counselling Service and Twenty-10. We hope to be raising at least that again this year.

Pollack says that these two groups are a matter of choice for Aurora, but only because of the restrictions placed on the group by the Charities Act. As we start to do more events and more money comes in, then we’ll be looking at other organisations to assist, he explains.

When the Aurora Group was first conceived, Pollack says that there were three groups earmarked for financial support -“ the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service and Twenty-10.

When I first set up Aurora, I set it up with the explicit aim to help the Counselling Service and Twenty-10, but we also wanted to help the Lobby as well, he said. We wanted to establish Aurora as an actual charity organisation, [but] because the Lobby is an advocacy organisation, it’s very difficult for a registered charity to donate money to them because they’re a political organisation.

So we then set up the Aurora Trust as well as the company so that the Trust, being a charity, can give to other charitable institutions, while the company -“ which puts on the dinner -“ can give money to whoever it likes.

Pollack hopes that in the future, organisations like the Lobby will be beneficiaries of money raised from Aurora Group events. It’s not until we get the Trust up and going and the money is really falling in, that I want to talk about giving money to other organisations.

At this stage, however, the next dinner is first on the agenda.

Already, we’ve had people phoning asking about it, he enthused. It’s got a really positive feel to it with the number of people who went last year. That’s making me really, really happy. At the moment we’re trying to confirm entertainment for the gig. As with everything, we can’t spend too much on the entertainment because it is a money raising event.

Pollack hopes that the dinner is not simply for the older-money crowd. [Last year] was primarily an over-30s crowd, but -¦ it’s a celebration of the community and will hopefully pull the whole community together, he says. We’re going out of our way this year to get a table from this and that community group and get them to get tickets to the dinner. I want such a diversity of the community there!

So for a fun night out, albeit at a cost which is a tad hefty ($150), the Aurora Dinner is the ticket. There’ll be fine wine, gourmet food, stylish entertainment and -“ dare we say it -“ glamorous company for those who attend. You’re also helping Twenty-10 and the Counselling Service. Twenty-10 helps hundreds of young people but is still forced to turn away 500 kids a year and the Counselling Service provides phone support seven days a week on very little funds.

 

The Aurora Dinner will take place at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday 29 June 2002. Tickets are $150, and for more information, contact 9331 5276 or go to www.auroragroup.com.au.

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