CHARLOTTE — On Aug. 21, the 2007 Charlotte Business Guild/Don King Community Service Awards were presented at a special reception of the Guild at the VanLandigham Estate, which was sponsored by Food Lion and included an annual wine tasting event.
Charlotte Business Guild/Don King Community Service Award recipients (from left) Curtis Tutt, Candice Whiteside and Charlotte Eagle owner Frank Schuster share a congratulatory moment with Don King.
Recipients this year were Curtis Tutt, one of the leaders of Southern Country Charlotte (SCC), a popular LGBT country dancing organization; Candice Whiteside, who helped lead efforts to establish The Lesbian & Gay Community Center; and The Charlotte Eagle, one of Charlotte’s most successful nightclubs.
The award, named for long-time Charlotte Observer marketing employee and gay community leader Don King, annually recognizes a man and a woman and business for service to the Charlotte LGBT community. The Charlotte Business Guild (CBG), a networking organization for gay and lesbian professionals, assumed sponsorship and management of the award in 2004.
“The Charlotte Business Guild is so gratified to be able to continue this very important award for our community and once again we had the opportunity to recognize some outstanding individuals and a business that have consistently given back to the community,” said Guild President Bert Woodard. “Curtis Tutt and Candice Whiteside have provided outstanding leadership to a variety of organizations and projects, and in many cases, they’ve done this quietly and behind the scenes. The Charlotte Eagle is more than just a night club. The Eagle has consistently supported the community by donating their venue and donating money.”
Tutt served on the Center board from January 2001 until June 2003, serving initially as the treasurer. He also helped draft the Articles of Incorporation for the Center and helped establish the first financial structure of the board. In addition, he served the Center as member of the Finance Committee and Executive Director Search Committee. Tutt has also provided key leadership to Southern Country Charlotte, including as treasurer for six years and president for one. Under Tutt’s leadership, SCC has raised more than $87,000 for local charities, including $71,000 during his presidency. He currently serves on the board of the Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund, part of the Foundation for the Carolinas, and is on the board of directors for the Farewell to Summer Foundation, a private fund-raiser for Charlotte LGBT causes and HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.
Whiteside was a leader at OutCharlotte, the former LGBT arts-focused festival, from 1998-2001, serving as volunteer, Festival Steering Committee member, Festival Committee Chair, Board member, Board Chair, Secretary and Search Committee member. She was instrumental in the building, launch, and maintenance of OutCharlotte, recruited numerous volunteers for a broad range of tasks and enforced high standards of accuracy and completeness for the many details of producing the annual event. Whiteside was also instrumental in the establishment of the Center. She served as vice chair and chair of the Board of Trustees, worked tirelessly to build consensus both within the board and throughout the community, worked in the Center throughout each week to ensure all tasks were completed and standards met. She developed numerous processes from scratch to support future boards and the on-going needs of the Center.
The Charlotte Eagle, owned by Frank Schuster and Gary Skaggs, has consistently opened their venue for fund-raisers involving the Charlotte LGBT community, including monthly club nights for Tradesmen, SCC and Charlotte Royals Ruby Team (which The Eagle sponsors). The Eagle has also hosted fund-raising events for SCC, Time Out Youth, the Center, House of Mercy, Agape House, Metrolina AIDS Project, Regional AIDS Interfaith Network, AIDS Walk, Pride Charlotte and Campus Pride. Each Christmas, the Eagle welcomes Charlotte LGBT and straight-allied organizations to decorate a tree as part of a contest fundraiser for that organization’s charity of choice.