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Seattle scholarship celebrates LGBTQ+ community

Jun 20, 2024, 2:07 PM | Updated: 2:11 pm

GSBA is Washington’s LGBTQ+ allied chamber of commerce and according to GSBA’s website, it is the largest of its kind in North America. The GSBA represents a coalition of small business, corporate, and nonprofit members who are dedicated to advancing workplace equality and diversity.

As a pivotal connector across the region, GSBA unites the community through business engagement while championing civil rights and supporting small businesses. Additionally, GSBA actively promotes LGBTQ+ tourism and commits to cultivating future leaders through initiatives such as the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund.

Founded in 1991, the GSBA Scholarship & Education Fund has invested almost $6 million in 552 scholars, as stated by GSBA’s website.

Throughout the year, GSBA scholars have access to several leadership development workshops and scholar community-building events, termed Leadership Academy. The cornerstone of the Leadership Academy is the annual Immersion Weekend.

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Scholars learn valuable leadership skills

In the first weekend of August, scholars engage in workshops facilitated by GSBA business members, former GSBA scholars, elected officials and other community leaders centered around developing and growing their personal, professional, and community leadership.

By participating in the GSBA Leadership Academy, scholars will define what leadership means to them, articulate their own strengths and seek out opportunities for personal and professional growth. They will also get the chance to describe how they can use their personal experiences to shape their leadership and values as an LGBTQ+ leader.

Scholars are also given the opportunity to leverage available resources to meet their unique needs and build community with fellow GSBA scholars, GSBA staff and the broader GSBA membership as a network of support.

Carter Subaru is an essential partner of GSBA, giving invaluable support to the scholarship program.

“We’re part of the GSBA and we want to be a partner in all ways,” Executive Director of Carter Subaru Jennifer Moran, said. “We never want to just slap our logo on an event, wipe our hands clean and wait until next year.”

Carter Subaru makes it their mission to get involved with their philanthropic partners on the ground floor. Whether it’s volunteering at local shelters or getting their hands dirty planting trees, the organization is constantly looking for ways to make a difference in the community.

When Moran connected with GSBA, she immediately recognized the powerful work they do, specifically in the education space, and found a way to get connected with GSBA in a meaningful way.

GSBA scholarship helps WSU student make a difference

Past scholarship recipient Esther Grosz is a junior at Washington State University and is pursuing a degree in agricultural economics. She told MyNorthwest, via email, that through financial funding, the scholarship has helped her make an impact in her community.

“As a student who is financially responsible for her schooling, scholarships have played an extremely important role in continuing my education,” Grosz stated.

Through this generous funding I have been able to make an impact in my community at Washington State University by encouraging a more diverse and inclusive environment,” she added.

Grosz said through GSBA, with the help of Carter Subaru, she has been able to connect with lobbyists and those involved in state policy, to encourage diversity, equity and inclusion at WSU and at her internship with the Washington State Department of Agriculture.

She added that the GSBA “has been nothing but supportive and encouraging as I navigate new waters in college.”

“I am extremely grateful for Carter Subaru for being a part of and supporting such an amazing community at the GSBA, and I am so grateful to be included in that. There is such a warm and welcoming community presence in the GSBA that brings out the best in its students and I have recommended applying to all of my friends,” she continued.

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“Being involved with GSBA and other organizations like Treehouse, I heard story after story of LGBTQIA+ individuals who had to overcome terrible hardships to get an education,” Jennifer Moran, executive director of Carter Subaru stated. “At some point, you sit there and go ‘We have to do something different.'”

“Carter Subaru is trying to make an impact, not just by selling cars, but by giving back to the community that has supported us so much,” Moran added. “We want to give the scholarship to a student that is looking to do the same.”

Grosz’s advice to those applying?

“I would give the advice to just be genuine, when I went in for my interview I was nervous and unsure what to expect. I met a panel of people who just wanted to support students and they listened to my story attentively and without judgment, and I cannot imagine any other panel being different,” she said. “Do not be afraid to tell stories with your questions, they show who you are and why you make such an amazing candidate. Good luck!”

To learn more about the scholarship and how to apply, visit GSBA’s website.

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Seattle scholarship celebrates LGBTQ+ community