Late Feb­ru­ary is the time of year when many North­ern Hemi­sphere dwellers like to say that spring is right around the cor­ner. For those of us liv­ing west of the Cas­cades here in the Pacif­ic North­west, it feels like spring has already arrived, with the unusu­al­ly warm tem­per­a­tures we’ve been expe­ri­enc­ing. The oth­er day, my ther­mome­ter reg­is­tered six­ty-eight degrees Fahrenheit!

Real spring is not far behind: The ver­nal equinox, which is con­sid­ered to be the first offi­cial day of spring, is only a month away. Our 2015 Spring Fundrais­ing Gala is also fast approach­ing; it’ll take place just sev­en weeks from today.

Putting the gala togeth­er requires a lot of prepa­ra­tion, and the team at NPI has been hard at work get­ting every­thing ready for a great evening, includ­ing the Dessert Dash. That’s per­haps the most fun part of the event.

Dur­ing the Dessert Dash, tables com­pete for the oppor­tu­ni­ty to vis­it our desserts table first, which is filled with deli­cious sweets.

Last year, the desserts table includ­ed a rhubarb pie baked by First Lady Tru­di Inslee (whose pies are quite renowned!), sev­er­al delight­ful con­fec­tioner­ies made by Mont­lake Mousse, and an array of home-baked treats.

There was some­thing for every­one to enjoy — and there will be again this year, too.

We will also be adding indi­vid­ual serv­ings of gluten free desserts, so that table run­ners can bring back a tasty treat for any­one at their table with a gluten or wheat sen­si­tiv­i­ty. (The din­ner buf­fet will also have veg­e­tar­i­an options.)

As we were work­ing on prepa­ra­tions for the Dessert Dash, we got to think­ing, would­n’t it be nice if the tables had names this year?

After all, num­ber sys­tems can get boring.

So we’ve decid­ed to give our tables names this year. Every one of our tables will hon­or a great Amer­i­can pro­gres­sive who has worked to make this coun­try a bet­ter place. Our ini­tial list of pro­gres­sive activist lead­ers con­sists of six men and six women, includ­ing men and women of color.

Dur­ing their lives, these pro­gres­sives worked on a diverse range of noble caus­es, from envi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion to civ­il rights to eco­nom­ic justice.

We are proud to hon­or them. Here they are!

  • Mar­tin Luther King, Jr.: A man who needs no intro­duc­tion to any of us. MLK is one of the great­est civ­il rights lead­ers in human history.
  • César Chávez: Cofounder of the Nation­al Farm Work­ers Asso­ci­a­tion (lat­er the Unit­ed Farm Work­ers). Per­haps the coun­try’s best known Lati­no civ­il rights activist, he helped improve work­ing con­di­tions for immi­grant laborers.
  • Har­vey Milk: A pio­neer for LGBT rights, Har­vey Milk was the first open­ly gay Amer­i­can elect­ed to pub­lic office in the Unit­ed States (the San Fran­cis­co Board of Super­vi­sors). He is known for his Hope Speech.
  • John Muir: Founder of the Sier­ra Club and an ardent con­ser­va­tion­ist. His writ­ings and activism con­tin­ue to inspire us to pro­tect our wild and majes­tic places more than a hun­dred years fol­low­ing his death.
  • Scott White: A for­mer co-chair of the King Coun­ty Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leg­isla­tive Action Com­mit­tee, state rep­re­sen­ta­tive, and state sen­a­tor who died far too young. A staunch advo­cate for tran­sit, Scott rep­re­sent­ed the best of us and was one of the first leg­is­la­tors to spon­sor NPI’s Spring Fundrais­ing Gala.
  • War­ren Mag­nu­son: Mag­gie, as he was nick­named, served three decades in the U.S. Sen­ate, rep­re­sent­ing Wash­ing­ton State. His lega­cy includes the Mag­nu­son Amend­ment, which pro­tects Puget Sound from oil super­tankers, and the Marine Mam­mal Pro­tec­tion Act.
  • Rachel Car­son: Author of the clas­sic book Silent Spring and con­sid­ered by many to be the moth­er of the mod­ern envi­ron­men­tal move­ment. Her work showed Amer­i­cans that pol­lu­tion kills.
  • Rosa Parks: Wide­ly acknowl­edged as the First Lady of Civ­il Rights, Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of the bus in 1955 was a defin­ing moment in the effort to deseg­re­gate America.
  • Ruth Fish­er: A leg­endary Demo­c­ra­t­ic state leg­is­la­tor who believed in mul­ti­modal trans­porta­tion and authored the leg­is­la­tion that cre­at­ed the Cen­tral Puget Sound Region­al Tran­sit Author­i­ty (Sound Tran­sit). With­out Ruth Fish­er, there would be no Sound Tran­sit and no Link light rail system.
  • Lynn Allen: One of NPI’s found­ing board mem­bers, who we trag­i­cal­ly lost to ovar­i­an can­cer four years ago. A tire­less cham­pi­on for improv­ing the well-being of our region’s rur­al communities.
  • Mar­garet Sanger: The cre­ator of the orga­ni­za­tion that even­tu­al­ly became Planned Par­ent­hood, and a coura­geous advo­cate of access to con­tra­cep­tives for preg­nan­cy prevention.
  • Ida B. Wells: A gift­ed inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist and ear­ly wom­en’s rights leader who doc­u­ment­ed lynch­ings dur­ing the Gild­ed Age and Pro­gres­sive Era.

We will be announc­ing our first gala speak­er next week. Until then, you can buy a tick­et at our spe­cial ear­ly-bird rates. There are three tick­et rates:

  • Indi­vid­ual ($70, tem­porar­i­ly dis­count­ed to $55; admits one person.)
  • House­hold ($100, tem­porar­i­ly dis­count­ed to $85; admits an entire family.)
  • Liv­ing Light­ly ($25, tem­porar­i­ly dis­count­ed to $20; this rate is for stu­dents and activists on lim­it­ed incomes.)

Buy a ticket to the gala

$85 (ear­ly-bird discount)

$55 (ear­ly-bird discount)

$20 (ear­ly-bird discount)






Click above to buy a tick­et using a cred­it card.

Your pay­ment will be secure­ly processed by Authorize.Net, which is a divi­sion of Visa, and fol­lows Visa’s rec­om­mend­ed best prac­tices for safe­guard­ing cred­it card infor­ma­tion. Your cred­it card details will be pro­tect­ed by best avail­able encryption.

If you’d rather not use a cred­it card, sim­ply mail a check for $20, $55, or $85 to:

North­west Pro­gres­sive Institute
PO Box 264
Red­mond, WA 98073–0264

Put “Gala” on the memo line. We’ll send you a confirmation.

We do offer com­pli­men­ta­ry tick­ets for NPI mem­bers who are will­ing to donate labor to the event. If you wish to vol­un­teer, con­tact us and let us know.

We hope to see you on April 10th!

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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