Las Vegas Market to Host 8th Annual Gift For Life Fundraiser

July 3, 2018

International Market Centers is gearing up to host its 8thannual “Up On the Roof” gala charity event during the Summer 2018 Las Vegas Market, running July 29-Aug. 2. 

Set for the evening of July 30 in the WorldView Ballroom, the 2018 fundraiser will benefit Gift For Life, the sole charitable organization for the gift, stationery and home décor industries, and will be themed “ERASE HATE: A Celebration of Love,” memorializing the 20thanniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, whose murder shocked the nation and galvanized support for the gay and lesbian community.

Held annually at the Summer Market, the popular Up On the Roof fundraiser typically attracts 300-500 industry executives who join together to eat, drink, dance, network and raise funds for the industry’s chosen charity. In 2017, “Up On the Roof” raised more than $15,000 to benefit Gift For Life. 

“Las Vegas Market is deeply committed to the industry’s chosen charity, Gift For Life, and its critical mission to raise funds for HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, education and advocacy,” said Esther Ossei-Anto, senior marketing manager of International Market Centers and a newly-appointed Gift For Life board member. 

She continued, “This year, our supportive efforts take on a new dimension, with the theme of ‘ERASE HATE: A Celebration of Love,’ memorializing the 20thanniversary of Matthew Shepard’s murder, a turning point in the American conversation about hate and how we as a people address our fears around things we do not know or understand. Las Vegas Market is proud to lend our voices to this dialogue and to demonstrate our continuing dedication to the industry charity.”

Judy Shepard, Matthew’s mother and president of the Matthew Shepard Foundation, an LGBT nonprofit organization founded by Shepard and her husband Dennis in 1998, will be attending the Summer 2018 Las Vegas Market and the Up On the Roof benefit. 

Leading multi-line sales agency Fine Lines will host a special “meet-and-greet” with Shepard in its showroom on July 30 from 12-4 p.m. that will include a special signing of her book, “The Meaning of Matthew, My Son’s Murder in Laramie and A World Transformed.” 

“In today’s environment, more than ever, it is important that we remember Matthew, the impact of his murder and the tremendous work, love and passion that resulted,” said Matt Katzenson, Fine Lines chief executive and vice-chair of Gift for Life.

Fine Lines is the sales and marketing representative for Chavez for Charity, a supplier of signature colorful bracelets, necklaces and earrings that are sold to raise awareness and funds for critical causes worldwide, including a special Matthew Shepard 20thanniversary commemorative bracelet to be introduced at the Summer Market. 

“Supporting The Matthew Shepard Foundation has been a key part of Chavez for Charity’s DNA from day one,” said Julie Chavez, Chavez for Charity founder and CCO. 

She continued, “Years later, the impact of Matthew’s story continues to be an emotional topic and a catalyst for opening dialogues on fear, love and acceptance. We are grateful to The Matthew Shepard Foundation for being a true partner and could not be more proud to stand behind such an important cause. The 20thanniversary of Matthew’s murder has certainly been a meaningful reminder of why we do what we do. In 2018, our primary focus is the ‘Erase Hate’ initiative and sharing Matthew’s story with the world.”

Proceeds from the 2018 charity event will benefit DIFFA: Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS, one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the U.S., as well as The Matthew Shepard Foundation.

“Chavez for Charity has been a longtime supporter of the Matthew Shepard Foundation’s work towards erasing hate and for that we are very thankful,” Shepard said. “I’m excited to be at the Las Vegas Market and to finally be meeting folks in the gift industry family.”

To learn more about Up On the Roof and to purchase tickets, go HERE.


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