IKEA Wins Gay Business Award in Miami
It’s that time again - to celebrate the local LGBT heroes in Miami-Dade.
The Miami-Dade Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MDGLCC) will be hosting its 11th Orange Gala on Saturday, June 23. The gala’s purpose is to point a cheering finger at the people who help promote LGBTQA businesses in the county. The event - to take place in the downtown Miami Hilton - will kick off with a champagne reception and silent auction, followed by dinner, award presentation and, finally, dancing.
The Business of the Year Award goes this year to IKEA. MDGLCC gives the award to an organization whose commitment to diversity is unwavering in its inclusion of LGBT and allied community issue, according to a spokesperson.
Among its reasons to award IKEA are a 2007 commercial in which the company featured a gay couple, and an IKEA Sunrise donation of new furniture and a kitchen to the LGBT Visitor Center and Chamber’s offices. The chamber takes this as a sign that IKEA is acknowledging the LGBT community in an award-worthy manner.
The Person of the Year Award this year goes to Steve Haas, owner of the City Hall restaurant. Haas uses his restaurant - and often his culinary mastery - to help promote various LGBT events and initiatives, like chamber meeting, for instance. He said that in less than a year, City Hall has hosted 50 events and helped host 30 additional events on other locations.
"I’ve been supporting the LGBT chamber since it started," Haas said. "I’d like to believe we’re a leader in the community - straight and gay. I’m very excited and very proud. Whatever the LGBT community needs, the answer is always yes."
The Non-Profit Organization of the Year Award goes to Miami Beach Visitor & Convention Authority (VCA). This award is similar to the Business of the Year Award, but focuses on non-profit organizations that promote the LGBT business environment and its people.
MDGLCC is recognizing the VCA’s grant distributions, a third of which went to LGBT events like the Winter Party Festival, the Miami Beach Gay Pride, the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and Aqua Girl. The VCA uses impact reports to help decide where to send grants, the most recent one showed that LGBT tourism brought the most hotel room booking out of the other ten categories.
Finally, the MDGLCC offers up a Special Recognition Award. This year, it goes to Daniel Spring, owner of the South Beach Insurance Agency. The agency tends to ensure, per its namesake, many of the South Florida LGBT events. But Spring has done more than that.
"My parents always encouraged me to be involved in the community - and here I am," Spring said, having been a member of the board since its inception and having been involved in housing developments, business guilds, and other public works. "My hope is that younger generations see this recognition - that the next generation gets involved, as well."
Spring said that his work, and the work done by the other honorees of the Orange Gala and active community members at-large, are helping to keep the county a safe place for LGBT people to work and live. But to keep the work going, Spring explained, it’s important that the community doesn’t forget to keep pushing the message out. His business is one of the oldest LGBT businesses in the county, going back to 1991, and his partner of 17 years makes Spring a pillar of the LGBT community.
For more information or to order tickets, go to www.gaybizmiami.com.
If you’re going
Saturday, June 23, 6 p.m. til it ends.
6 p.m. - Champagne reception and silect auction
7:30 p.m. - Dinner
9 p.m. - Awards presentation
10 p.m. - Dancing
Hilton Miami Downtown’s Symphony Ballroom
1601 Biscayne Blvd.
Miami, FL 33132
General admission - $100
VIP admission (includes champagne reception, special seating, valet and a gift bag) - $175
VIP table for ten - $1,750