CHARLOTTE — The Charlotte Business Guild will present its 2008 Don Kind Awards on Tuesday, Aug. 19, at its monthly meeting at the VanLandingham Estate.

The Don King Awards were named in honor of its first recipient in 1993, long-time Charlotte Observer employee and community advocate Don King. This year’s winners include Frank Kalian, one of the early leaders of several Charlotte Lesbian & Gay organizations and currently a board member of the Lesbian & Gay Community Center of Charlotte; Kelley Doherty, Chairman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Equity Committee; Rev. Debbie Warren, Founder and President/CEO of the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN), Dr. Stephen Shoemaker, Senior Minister at Myers Park Baptist Church; and Rabbi Judy Schindler, of Temple Beth-El.

The awards annually a man, a woman and business for service to the Charlotte LGBT community. Beginning in 2008, the Charlotte Business Guild also recognizes a straight ally with a Bridge Builder Award, with Dr. Shoemaker and Rabbi Schindler earning the inaugural award.

“We are very proud to honor these outstanding individuals who have done so much to improve the quality life, not just for the Charlotte LGBT community but for the entire community,” 2008 Charlotte Business Guild President Bert Woodard said in a release. “Our 2008 honorees have worked hard to further fairness and tolerance for everyone.”

Kalian, Doherty, Warren, Shoemaker, Schindler and representatives from Tyvola Design will officially receive their awards on Tues., Aug. 19 at a special reception ($25 admission) at VanLandingham Estate in Plaza-Midwood.

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About the honorees
Frank Kalian was an early gay leader in Charlotte, helping start and run in the early 1990s an organization called First Tuesday that advocated basic civil rights for LGBT citizens. In addition, Kalian was a board member for Metropolitan Community Church from 1991-2001 and again from 2003-2005, and for Carolina Celebration, an annual event that raised money for HIV/AIDS prevention and patient care. He is currently a board member for the Lesbian & Gay Community Center and Primetimers of Charlotte, the latter which is a social organization for gay men over the age of 50.

Kelley Doherty, who is currently chairman of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Equity Committee, helped lead efforts last year that successfully advocated that the Mecklenburg County Board of Education pass a comprehensive anti-bullying policy that includes LGBT students as a group protected from bullying. Doherty was also part of the virtual leadership team that established the Lesbian and Gay Community Center and was a board member of One Voice Chorus in 1997. She also served on the board of the Charlotte Business Guild, including one year as vice president and three as president.

Rev. Debbie Warren founded RAIN in 1992 to unite the resources of the faith community in addressing the growing needs of people infected with HIV/AIDS and their loved ones. She has worked to educate people, particularly the faith community, and introduce them to people infected with HIV/AIDS in an effort to break down the stigma of those affected by this disease. Today the organization has served more than 700 families; logged more than 150,000 hours of direct service provided by the current RAIN staff; trained more than 3,000 volunteers from 20 denominations who have “adopted” one or more HIV positive individuals; and provided more than 1,600 programs reaching more than 50,000 people.

Tyvola Design, a full-service graphic design firm owned by Tom Feldman, has assisted numerous LGBT and straight ally community projects in Charlotte area since coming to live in Charlotte in 1997. He and his business have given selflessly of both time and services to support local initiatives as well as national projects to support individuals and various non-profit organizations, including RAIN, the Charlotte Lesbian & Gay Fund of the Foundation for the Carolinas, Gay BINGO, Equality North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Gay and Lesbian Political Action Committee (MeckPAC), Human Rights Campaign, HRC Carolinas Gala Dinner 2005, 2006, and 2007, Time Out Youth, Charlotte Business Guild, Campus Pride, and the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.