Event History

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Inspired by Truman Capote's world famous 1966  "party of the century" the Black & White Ball is Northern Nevada's premier charity gala fundraiser for HIV/AIDS service organizations in Northern Nevada since 2005!

With relative intimacy amongst the glitz and glamor of Downtown Reno this Black-Tie dinner and dance is held each year in October, and sponsored by supporting Hotels and Casinos.

In 2006 The Black & White Ball Committee welcomed guest speaker Jeanne White-Ginder, the mother of the late Ryan White, the teen whose 1984 AIDS diagnosis and fight to attend school brought the issue of AIDS to the nation’s attention. White-Ginder went on to establish the Ryan White Foundation and the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resource (CARE) Act, a federal program that funds AIDS education, research and services for more than 500,000 people with HIV/AIDS each year.


Also headlining in 2006 was Miss Coco Peru, an actor/comedian who has appeared in such feature films as the 2003 Sundance entry Girls Will Be Girls; she has starred as the voice of Mamma Hippo for the movie- The Wild. She has been nominated for and received numerous awards, including the 2004 Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award.


Noted speakers have also included Sparks Mayor Geno Martini, whose city has graciously declared the first Saturday of each October as "Black & White Ball of Northern Nevada Day.  World renowned HIV specialist Dr.Trudy Larson has also spoken as has  Nevada State AIDS Task Force Chairman- Lary Masterpiero.


Prior to 2005, the Black & White Ball was under the direction of Robert Washburn.  Robert creted the Black & White Ball as an effort to raise much needed funding for HIV/AIDS service organizations throughout Northern Nevada.  In 2004 Robert encouraged employees at Northern Nevada HOPES and members of his community to continue the planning committee he had founded and to grow and expand the event for generations to enjoy in the future.  It is at this point that the Black & White Ball became a formal black-tie charity event, paving the way for similar events in Northern Nevada.


In 2009 The Black and White Ball welcomed Jack Mackenroth to speak about his life while living with AIDS.

Jack Mackenroth, born in 1972 in Seattle, Washington, is an American model, swimmer, HIV/AIDS advocate and fashion designer, best known for his work in "Project Runway" Season 4.

Mackenroth grew up in Seattle and later moved to California where he graduated from the University of California at Berkeley with a double degree in Fine Arts and Sociology.  He moved to New York in 1991 to attend the prestigious Parsons School of design where he studied Fashion Design. Fresh out of Parsons, Mackenroth opened a menswear store in the uberchic West Village called 'Jack'.

Mackenroth has also achieved national recognition as a competitive swimmer.  He has 3 All-American titles to his name and set a national record in the summer of 2006 in the breaststroke leg of the 4 x 50 meter medley relay.  The same summer he finished 12th in the 50 meter breaststroke at the Masters World Championships in Stanford California. He still competes at the most elite level in swimming.  Jack is also an 8 time Gold Medal winner at the Gay Games.

Mackenroth is currently developing his own line of men's dress shirts and dress pants and hopes to expand into all aspects of men's sportswear. He is also working on a memoir about his life experiences.


As the Black and White Ball achieved its first 5 year mark, the main focus was a tribute to those who have passed from HIV/AIDS related illnesses.  A milestone to this year's event was highlighting the motivation for each of the committee members.  Most memorable was the story of Jason Brock, a young man who passed away just months past his 16th birthday.  This event marked the 20th anniversary of his passing.  He was the nephew of Jack Owens, the President of the Black and White Ball Committee. 


This year the Black and White Ball was proud to present Mr. Leslie Jordan as the headliner for the event.  Mr. Jordan is best known for his recurring television roles on Ally McBeal, Will and Grace, and Law and Order.  He was also know for his roles in "Sordid Lives" and most recently "The Help".  Mr. Jordan entertained the audience with stories from his childhood, his career, and his support of friends infected/affected with HIV/AIDS. 


This year the Black and White Ball Committee proudly presented Lacy J. Dalton, Country music celebrity, and Northern Nevada resident.  The event will be held at the Silver Legacy Grand Ballroom in downtown Reno.

Updated: August 11, 2013