An Interview With Claire Of Kirkland Geek Gala


The Kirkland Geek Gala is an organization that focuses on geeks giving back to their community and helping children. From diners to auctions, they raise funds for organizations like Extra Life that benefit local charities. So let’s meet one of the event organizers, Claire!

1) Thanks Claire. So give us a quick idea of what the Geek Gala is – in your own words?

The Kirkland Geek Gala is an event that allows geeks and nerds to give back to their local community. The way we do that is to hold a charity dinner and silent auction every year that raises money for Seattle Children’s Hospital through the Extra Life program.

2) How did the Gala get organized – and how has it changed?

The Kirkland Geek Gala started because my business partner, Gabi, and I have participated in Extra Life for several years now and we wanted a way to do even more and to get even more people involved. As event planners we knew we had a certain skill set that would enable us to do that. Each year we’re hoping to add new elements to the evening and to be able to raise even more money for the sick and injured kids that SCH treats.

3) I know of your auctions, what other events – if any – do you do?

We currently only have the dinner and silent auction, which will take place Saturday November 7th this year. But, we are working on adding a second more casual event in 2016, in the late spring. This second event will be both a fundraising opportunity, a chance to recruit more people to Extra Life, as well as a chance for people to come together for an afternoon of fun!

4) Now that you do these community-driven events, how do you pick who to benefit? Do you pick one charity and stick with them or do you change?

As event planners we will work with our clients and assist with their charitable endeavors but the Kirkland Geek Gala exclusively raises money through Extra Life for the Seattle Children’s Hospital.

5) Organizing benefits and events is a lot of work – how do you manage it – are your members trained to run events or did you teach yourselves?

Organizing a charity benefit with 100 guests is surprisingly similar to organizing a wedding with 250 guests. 😉 Gabi and I collectively have more than 30 years of event planning and convention experience and we work hard to bring in, and train, good quality people that help us out for events.

6) What are your plans for the future?

Our plans for this year are to raise $10,000 for SCH and to continue to educate people about funs ways that they can help. Moving forward we want to increase the funds we raise each year, promote the Extra Life program, add the second event, and to show the community that geeks are pretty awesome people!

7) What kind of geek civic involvement do you want to see from your fellow geeks? What can we do to be more civicly engaged?’

That’s a tough question to answer with a short and succinct comment. Geeks come from all aspects of life and there are so many facets to what makes someone a geek. Geeks are the people who program computers, the kids who have a quest for figuring out how the world works, the men and women who are fans of TV shows, movies, games, and sports… Because there are so many facets to what makes someone a geek that means that there are a variety of interests and talents that they bring to the table. I always encourage people to find something they enjoy and find a way to help others with it. You don’t have to have a lot of money or even a lot of time to make a difference. Take one hour out of your week and go to the hospital and play games with kids, go to an animal shelter and volunteer to walk dogs, or to an elementary school and tutor kids in your favorite subject. If time is harder for you to manage to find then pick your favorite charity and give $5. A friend, and fellow geek, started a push to make Fridays on social media, Philanthropic Fridays and I LOVE the idea so every Friday I pick a charity or cause of the week and I donate a small amount of money to them.

8) Are there other good geek causes and events you can recommend others get involved in?

In addition to Extra Life there’s also Desert Bus, Seattle Browncoats, and Child’s Play. I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones I can think of off the top of my head.

9) Finally, how can we help you out?

There are several ways to help out the Kirkland Geek Gala. You can buy tickets to the dinner, donate an item for our silent auction, become an individual sponsor, or have your company/business become a corporate sponsor.

Thanks Claire! Everyone, get involved!


– Steven Savage