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Local News

Raise money for LGBTQ scholarships at 'Down & Derby' event this weekend in Peoria

Down n Derby 1 .jpg
Karli Johnson
The Acorn Equality Fund's Down & Derby event raises money for scholarships.

Wanna celebrate "Derby Day" while supporting a good cause?

This weekend, Peoria’s Acorn Equality Fund is hosting a “Down & Derby” fundraiser. Proceeds will benefit the nonprofit's scholarship fund.

Established in Peoria in 1999, the Acorn Equality Fund provides financial support and access to higher education for members of the LGBTQ community. Scholarships typically range from $1,000 to $4,000, with $36,000 being awarded in total.

What makes Acorn scholarships special is that they're all-ages, board member Karli Johnson said.

"You could be a senior, junior in high school ... but also, if you're an adult learner, and you also need funds, apply," she said. "We work with students of all ages in all capacities of higher education."

Tickets to this weekend’s Down & Derby event are $35 per person; you can also buy 4 tickets for $120.

Tickets include heavy hors d'oeuvres, access to a silent auction and raffle items, a Derby-themed hat and bow tie contest, and live entertainment by local drag performers.

You’ll also be able to watch a live broadcast of the Derby Day horse races … and place bets on horses. Finally, attendees can attend an after-party at Diesel, 7-10:30 p.m.

Attendees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or have a negative COVID test dated no earlier than May 4.

To be eligible for an Acorn scholarship, applicants must retain permanent residence in the Acorn Equality Fund service area of downstate Illinois (all Illinois counties except Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will) and attend any accredited, post-secondary educational institution.

For more information, visit the Acorn Equality Fund's website. Buy tickets to Down & Derby here.

WCBU’s local newsroom is expanding, and we’re doing more to tell the stories of Greater Peoria. When you support, we report. Contribute during the Spring Fund Drive.