Aurora is saying goodbye to long-serving chair Jane Marsden in the biggest shake-up in the charity group’s history.
Also farewelled were David Wilkins and George Braybon. After nine years as a director and three as chair Marsden said it was time, although she and Wilkins as founding Directors will continue in the less consuming role of Trustees.
New chair Alex Sosnov praised the outgoing directors who oversaw the charity’s annual fundraising grow fivefold since 1999.
Although the group’s primary event is the annual glamour theme dinner, the events are priced to break even. Direct donations and auction and raffle proceeds accounted for most of the $90,000 raised last financial year.
Community access to the events is number one priority for us. We envisage this year we’ll be doing another annual dinner with a price range similar to last year, Sosnov said.
We want to offer something new and special. You won’t come to an annual dinner and think, -˜I’ve done this before.’
The dinners are normally held at Sydney Town Hall, but will move to a new location next year.
Marsden said Aurora was intended to be an alternative to a dance party fundraiser, a growing importance when the gay and lesbian community ages with the rest of society.
The inspiration for Aurora began in 1998 at Dawn O’Donnell’s 70th birthday party, and later at Bruce Pollack’s 50th, both of which raised funds for community organisations.
Dawn had a fabulous birthday party, glamorous, all the things you should have, and she raised 35 grand. Her leadership and example was the inspiration for it all, Marsden said.
Last year the group was able to sponsor five additional services to its primary beneficiaries, Twenty10 and the Gay and Lesbian Counselling Service.
An Aurora director since 2005, Sosnov brings experience from a range of community organisations, including two years as co-convenor of the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and as staff representative on the ACON board.
New directors Rob McGrory, Jen Rudland, Todd Packer, Colleen Windsor, David Cuda, and Thomas McAuliffe join events director Anthony Hillis, secretary Christine Bessell-Browne, Julianne Sanders and David Moutou.

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