Dig Baton Rouge

Donate For a Date

By Nick BeJeaux

The last time you paid for a date, it was probably illegal; but luckily enough Capital City Alliance is holding its third annual (and completely legal) Donate for a Date fundraiser.

Donate for a Date is an auction where 13 generous donors are offering to take the highest bidders out on dates, ranging from the classic dinner and a movie to a ride in the lead float of the St. Patrick Day Parade. The auction will last from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Splash Nightclub on Friday, March 6. Besides the auction, CCA will also be hosting drag shows in between auction blocks.

All of the proceeds from the auction go straight to CCA, a non-profit organization that engages with and advocates for the LGBT community in Baton Rouge. As one of their biggest events of the year, it will hopefully cover most of it’s operational costs for 2015.

“We’re hoping to raise as much as possible; this is our signature event and we hope it gets big enough to cover our expenses for this year,” said David Samuels, Treasurer for CCA. “This is really about covering our office space, printing costs for the year, things like that. If this fundraiser is a success, we can easily use other fundraisers to pay for our other projects without worrying about our bills.”

CCA President Kayla Mulford helped launch the original fundraiser three years ago and is happy to say that it has grown since then.

“I think it has gotten bigger and bigger every year,” she said. “Three years ago we wanted to create a fundraiser that would appeal to a younger generation. Someone saw something identical on Saved by the Bell and we thought ‘why not?’ This year we’re hoping to raise between $4000 and $6000 dollars over 10 or 15 auctions.”

But Samuels said that if the level of participation in previous years is any indication of how the fundraiser will do this year, he isn’t worried.

“I remember last year someone bid $1000 for a date with two people,” he said. “Most of our donors offer traditional dates, but we encourage them to be creative and they get better every year. We’ve even seen long-term relationships come out of these dates.”

David Dowdle is one of the 13 donors that will be gifting the winners with dates. As the manager of the Snap Fitness Gym on Bluebonnet and a bartender at Splash, Dowdle said he wanted to incorporate a health and body aspect to his date.

“I’m thinking it will either be a three-session workout at Snap or a 60 minute couple’s massage at Bumble Lane,” he said.

This year is Dowdle’s second time to participate in the fundraiser and since then has been a member of the CCA.

“Last year I brought in about $1600; I didn’t know what to expect, but once the crowd got into it I started having a lot of fun,” he said. “About three months after that Kayla [Mulford] invited me to join the Board at CCA and that has been great for me, though I haven’t been able to dedicate as much time as I would like. I actually transitioned from offshore nuclear engineering to taking over this gym and that has taken up a lot of time.”

Marlena Swilley, a legal assistant at the Baton Rouge office of Attorney Gordon Mckernan, is offering a romantic getaway for two at Chipotle for her first time participating in Donate for a Date. In an interview with DIG, Swilley confessed she was hesitant to get involved at first, but decided to do so to help CCA.

“I talked with Kayla [Mulford] about this over lunch and she joked that she was going to throw me on stage and sell me to the highest bidder, so naturally I was a little hesitant,” she said. “But she explained to me that this was for charity and that’s why I changed my mind. I haven’t done any charity work outside of the advocacy at my work, but I used to do a lot of charity work when I was at LSU. This is my way of getting back to that.”

For a full list of the donors and more details on the event, check out Donate for a Date’s event page on Facebook.

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