SYDNEY’s annual Aurora Ball raised more than $70,000 for LGBTI community groups last weekend.

Held at Sydney Town Hall, the fairy tale-themed “Once Upon a Time” gala event attracted politicians, corporate leaders, entertainment identities and of course LGBTI community members.

Entering its 16th year, the Aurora Group was founded to bring together members of the community in the hope of raising awareness and funds for LGBTI community organisations.

“Community organisations can find it hard to get government funding even though they are changing – and saving – lives,” Aurora co-chair Adam Niewand in 2014.

Funds raised from this year’s event are expected to go towards major grant recipient Twenty10 (incorporating Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service NSW), as well as Aurora’s Small Grants program.

Organisations supporting the LGBTI community are able to apply for grants of up to $5000 when applications open later this year.

In 2014, the Aurora Group donated $30,000 to successful Small Grants applicants.

This year, the keynote speech was presented by Maya Newell, the director of documentary feature Gayby Baby and a daughter of two lesbian mothers.

In her speech, she said she wanted to give a voice to the “rich, complicated and loving experience of growing up in a rainbow family in Australia today”.

The speech came at a time when the national dialogue around same-sex marriage has become focused around the role of a mother and father in raising children.

Entertainment on the night included stage musical stars Bobby Falzon and Michael Fox, singer Katie Noonan and co-hosts Andrew Mercado and Nath Valvo.

Aurora’s co-chairs Adam Niewand and Alison King said the night was a success. “The 2015 Aurora Ball was a really special night, and we couldn’t be happier.”

View Star Observer’s photo galleries of the 2015 Aurora Ball: Part I and Part II

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