RISE Brunch

Rochester Initiative for Scholarship and Education

2016 RISE Brunch

Sunday, September 25th


Rochester Yacht Club

5555 St Paul Boulevard 14617

The RISE Brunch honors local Rochester LGBTQ Community Leaders while serving as the primary fund-raiser supporting the Rochester LGBTQ Scholarship Fund and the Gay Alliance Youth and Leadership Development Programs.

As the needs of young LGBTQ people change in a more safe and accepting world, one constant will be the need for leadership development and academic opportunity. As the Gay Alliance examines how best to serve our youth in the future, the idea of providing scholarships that are bolstered by leadership conferences, mentoring programs, internships and opportunities for community service has emerged as the most effective model for building the next generation of LGBTQ leaders.

RISE (the Rochester Initiative for Scholarship and Education) is a group of local Rochester visionaries and volunteers who are invested in the creation of a local leadership and scholarship program to foster the emergence of tomorrow’s LGBTQ leaders. Under the Gay Alliance umbrella, this program will serve as a vital element in the services that the Alliance can provide.

RISE will host an annual brunch fundraiser, open to the public, the proceeds of which will be split between direct “flow-through” scholarships, monies going into the endowment for the Rochester LGBTQ Scholarship Fund which is housed at the Rochester Area Community Foundation and funds to be used for the Gay Alliance leadership programs.

If you have an interest in being part of this ambitious project please contact rise@gayalliance.org or call (585) 244-8640. Everyone is welcome.

The RISE Brunch is an annual event dedicated to recognizing and celebrating the community leaders of today and tomorrow who have enriched, empowered and inspired the LGBTQ presence in Rochester.

Additionally the Brunch is the primary fundraising source for Gay Alliance initiatives in support of future local LGBTQ leaders, offering scholarships for post-secondary students receiving an education locally. Funds may also used to provide opportunities for internships, leadership training and community service experience. Investment in tomorrow’s LGBTQ leaders demands that we “give local to thrive local”.

2016 RISE Brunch

Sunday, September 25th


Rochester Yacht Club

5555 St. Paul Blvd 14617

Tickets: $50, all tickets will be held at the door

Enjoy brunch and a complimentary mimosa or bloody mary while savoring the nautical charm of the Rochester Yacht Club. Anticipate a light-hearted program with an inspirational message as we highlight some of Rochester’s emerging young LGBTQ leaders. Help our LGBTQ youth to flourish!

About the Rochester Yacht Club:

The Rochester Yacht Club was founded in 1877. The club has a distinguished history of yacht racing and boating and is one of the oldest yacht clubs in the United States. Well known for their outstanding service and incredible food, the waterside atmosphere of the RYC venue makes this Brunch a truly special event.

**Please be aware that many Map and GPS systems have trouble with this address- you should stay on St Paul BLVD and wrap along the lake shore the Yacht Club is at the very end.

RISE Community Leadership Award.

In 2015 the “RISE Youth Leadership Award” was presented to Lauren Laroche, a graduating senior from Rush Henrietta High School, in recognition of her deep commitment to advancing the visibility and acceptance of LGBTQ students. Some young people show early in life that they are destined to change the world around themselves for the better. Clearly Lauren embodies the qualities that mark an outstanding youth leader. While a senior at Rush Henrietta, Lauren was senior student officer for her GSA and a youth representative on the Rochester LGBTQ Youth Community Council facilitated by Trillium Health. Her commitment and “can do” attitude inspired the solid growth of the GSA and for the first time they marched in the Pride Parade. She created a safe and welcoming place for others, always ready to support and advocate.

New in 2016, we will present the RISE Community Leadership Award. This RISE award is a way to honor the work of others whose welcoming support for LGBTQ youth has changed many lives.

[Stay tuned for more information and announcements.]

The 2016 RISE Brunch fundraiser will be held Sunday, September 25 at the beautiful Rochester Yacht Club on Lake Ontario. We invite you to partner with us in this worthwhile investment in our future leaders. Your commitment delivers a powerful message to the LGBTQ community – that you share the collective optimism about our future and want to partner in purpose to open doors for the next generation. Your leadership as a sponsor will be highlighted in our Brunch Ad Journal, on our website, in social media and in the Empty Closet Newspaper.

Become a Sponsor and/or a Table Captain

Place an Advertisement in the Brunch Ad Journal

Donate an Item to the Auction

As a highlight of the Brunch we will also honor members of the local community whose advocacy, service and/or advancement of LGBTQ culture has enriched the world we share. In 2016 we will award the first RISE Community Leadership Awards.

RISE Planning Committee –

There is an expanding need for additional contributors to support this on-going initiative. If you have an interest in joining us contact rise@gayalliance.org.

Scotty Ginett – Chair

Anne Tischer
Jeff Myers
Emily Jones
Evelyn Bailey
Jonathan Hoose
Michael Tomidy
BJ Scanlon

Rochester LGBTQ Scholarship & Susan A. Cowell Scholarship

Purpose of Scholarship: To assist students who are LGBTQ identified or in pursuit of post secondary education in fields aligned with public health policy, non-profit administration or social justice activism, including social activism through the arts.

Number and Size of Awards: One or more awards; minimum award of $1000.

Allowed Use of Award: Awards may be used for tuition, fees, books and other expenses associated with higher education.

Submission Deadline: Friday, September 9, 2016



The Rochester LGBTQ Scholarship Funds were created in 2015 by the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley as a way for individuals and organizations to support LGBTQ community members pursuing post secondary education. The goal is to provide scholarships each year to LGBTQ identified people. In addition to the Rochester LGBTQ Scholarship, individuals or Organizations may establish named scholarship funds within the Rochester LGBTQ Scholarship Funds. For more information on establishing a named fund contact the Rochester Area Community Foundation.

The Susan A. Cowell Scholarship was the first named scholarship established as a part of the Rochester LGBTQ Scholarship Funds. Created in 2015 by members of the Rochester LGBTQ community in recognition and gratitude for Susan A. Cowell’s 38 years of political, economic, and social activism in support of the Rochester LGBTQ community. Susan’s unparalleled contributions and achievements during the AIDS crisis, in politics, in business, in the arts, as a social activist and as a medical provider have made a lasting difference in the lives of so many. Past and present, Susan stands as a passionate, caring woman who embraces change and continues to create a more just, equitable and welcoming community for all – locally, statewide and nationally. It is hoped that this scholarship will foster leadership skills in those who will build “on the shoulders of a giant”, Susan Cowell.


2016 RISE Champion
James R. Moran
Peter Mohr, Rob Ulliman, Debi & Bill Jone, Anson Edwards (Bachelor Forum)

2015 Major Event Sponsor
James R. Moran

Platinum Sponsor
Excellus Corporation
Peter Mohr

Gold Sponsor
Bill DeStevens
Nannette P. Nocon
Trillium Health

Silver Sponsors
John Altieri
Evelyn Bailey
Jason and William Barnecut-Kearns
Mark Brewer and Richard McGowan
Ralph Carter and Van Van Zanten
Center for Health and Behavioral Training, University of Rochester
Judy Cranston
Dr. W. Bruce Gorman
GALAXE / Xerox LGBT Employee Resource Group
Emily Jones and Deborah Hughes
Shira May and Mickey Behan
Norris E. Minard
Pride at Work AFL-CIO Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter
Coleen M. Raimond, Esq. and Dr. Lisa J. Cunningham
Marvin E. Ritzenthaler and Steven A. Jarose
Jamie and Sally Whitbeck
BJ Scanlon
David Zona

Bronze Sponsors
Paul D. Birkby
NYS Assemblyman Harry Bronson
Jeff Lambert
Wilfred Le Blanc
Wanda E. Martinez-Johncox and Dawn L. Johncox-Martinez
Jennifer Mathews
Daniel Meyers
Jeff Myers
William J. O’Connor Jr.
Andreas M. Rau
Paula L. Silvestrone
SUNY Geneseo
Bess Watts and Anne Tischer

Contact Information:
RISE Brunch
c/o Gay Alliance
100 College Avenue #100
Rochester, NY 14607