PennGALA is the officially recognized representative of all of Penn's LGBT alumni and works hard to represent the interests and concerns of our members, both as alumni and as a constituency with a continuing role in University life. We are one of the founding organizations of the Penn Alumni Diversity Alliance, which also includes the Black Alumni Society, the Association of Latino Alumni, the Asian Alumni Network, the Association of Native Alumni, and the James Brister Society. We regularly plan events with our sister organizations and work together with members of the Diversity Alliance on issues that affect our communities. Together, we seek to continue building Penn as an ever more diverse and affirming institution.
PennGALA takes a special interest in supporting current Penn students, both undergraduate and graduate. In 2003, we inaugurated a highly successful mentoring program, in conjunction with the Penn Career Network providing career - related advice to tomorrow's LGBT alumni. Our holistic approach to programming also includes regular educational seminars and panel discussions, presented most often at Homecoming in November and Alumni Weekend in May. Recent subjects have included wills and estate planning for LGBT people, same-sex marriage, parenting, the current state of women's sports on U.S. college campuses, and the history of our community at Penn. Our social programming has also been hugely successful. Recent major events have included our gala 20th anniversary dinner in 2005, at which keynote speakers included University President, Dr. Amy Gutmann, and Freedom to Marry Executive Director Evan Wolfson. Along with our sister groups, we also help organize the semi-annual Taste of Penn celebrations.
Our members played a proud role in establishing The Carriage House, a historic building on the West Philadelphia campus, as a permanent home for Penn's LGBT Center. Believed to be the first freestanding center of its kind on any American university campus, this outstanding facility opened its doors on September 2002. The lead gift toward the $2.5 million renovation came from two PennGALA members, and our members continue to support the Center and its endowment. The Carriage House serves as a hub for all LGBT organizations and activities at Penn, and provides an invaluable and unprecedented resource for all members of our community, including alumni.