NWIC fundraiser raises spirits and $120,000

A lively live auction, a dynamic fashion show, cultural sharing and laughter – a lot of laughter. That’s how Greg Masten will remember Northwest Indian College’s 5th Annual TL’aneq’: Gathering for a Celebration benefit dinner and Native cultural arts and experiences auction.

“The 2013 TL’aneq’ event was a great night,” said Masten, director of NWIC’s Development Office, which organizes the event. “We were thrilled with the turnout and people had a lot of fun.”

The event, held April 12 at the Swinomish Casino & Lodge, was attended by tribal and non-tribal NWIC supporters from Washington all the way down to Southern California. Together, those supporters helped raise nearly $120,000 for NWIC student scholarships.

Masten said he was grateful to see and hear so much support for student scholarships at the event. NWIC is the only tribal college in Washington and Idaho, and has a student body that represents more than 120 tribes from across the nation. Many NWIC students come from low-income families and half are the first in their families to attend college.

“Scholarships mean a lot to our students,” he said. “Most of our students are trying to obtain four and two year degrees so they can help their tribal communities, support their families and be positive influences for their children,” Masten said.

In addition to scholarship dollars, the college also received $100,000 at the event from the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians for NWIC’s $44 million Capital Campaign – since 2005, that campaign has led to the opening of seven new building on the college’s Lummi campus alone.

“I want to thank all of those that attended for supporting our students and making it a special night,” Masten said. “Many times I hear the word ‘community’ used, but that night I truly saw how many people came together from various tribes, businesses, and communities in support of our students.”

The evening began with a silent auction, during which attendees bid on Coast Salish art – including paintings, carvings, jewelry and woven pieces – and they got to speak directly with artists who donated their work for the event. After that, a four-course dinner featuring fresh salmon, storytelling, a live fashion show and live auction began.

“Dorothy Grant’s fashion show was a big hit,” Masten said. “Her clothing designs are unique and beautiful, and I really liked that we had so many NWIC students participate as models – they did a great job.”

Dorothy Grant, who is Kaigani Haida from Alaska, designs clothes with a unique style that combines traditional Haida artwork with contemporary clothing for an effect that has gained her worldwide acclaim.

All of the art at the live and silent auctions generated obvious enthusiasm, too. Masten said he witnessed some pretty lively bidding wars, one between family members.

“I want to thank all of the artists for their donations, the volunteers for their efforts and I especially want to thank the staff for their hard work and dedication,” he said. “A special hands up to the Swinomish Tribe for being such gracious hosts. We look forward to seeing you all again next year.”

NWIC would like to thank sponsors for the 5h Annual TL’aneq:
• Premier Sponsor: Lummi Indian Business Council
• Host Sponsor: Swinomish Tribe
• Exclusive Reception Sponsor: Tulalip Tribes
• Lengesot Patron Sponsors: the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, and the Snoqualmie Tribe
• Cedar Sponsors: The Boeing Company, Puget Sound Energy, The CenterPoint Group at Morgan Stanley, the Suquamish Tribe and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe

NWIC would also like to acknowledge and thank Judy Mich for her continued generosity and support.