Peacock’s Scholarships and LGBTQ College Dreams

Pictured: Jeffrey DeGroot, onetime scholarship recipient. Photo courtesy Kimberlee Van Patten.

Compiled by PQ Monthly Staff

The 20th offering of Peacock in the Park will occur at the Washington Park Amphitheater on June 28, 2015.  This all ages, free, picnic and variety show is back with all its bells, whistles, sequins and glitter, all to entertain and encourage you to donate money toward the education of one of our own.  Many who come out to family lose college savings accounts and other supports, making advanced education near impossible. In honor of the 2015 recipients and this special benchmark in our history; our 20th Peacock in the Park, we are sending a special call out to all scholarship winners and supporters so we can make this the best attended and largest fundraiser for the scholarship ever.
“Peacock in the Park is like a big family reunion” says event producer Maria Peters Lake.  “The best part of each year’s event is reconnecting with friends and family from throughout the community.  The fact that we are also raising money to send folks to college is icing on the cake!”
The funds awarded have been received by students with tears of joy… though not always the largest some have won, the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship is exponentially more meaningful because it comes from the community.
”I cried when I was awarded the $500 check in 1997,” said Michael Sorensen, MPA.”  “ I was the first [in my family] to go to college and this award meant others had faith in me.”
“The support of the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship was important on so many levels, Miriam Volpin, RN, PhD said.”  “Having the support of my community was a powerful motivator when school was challenging.  Perhaps most importantly, receiving the AME Scholarship reinforced and supported my commitment to LGBTQ health and health access for all vulnerable populations.”
“As a person who was raised by two moms, receiving the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship meant more than gaining the much needed financial support, it was a recognition that people with queer parents are part of the LGBT community” Jeffrey DeGroot .
The Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund is Oregon and SW Washington’s second oldest Scholarship dedicated to LGBTQ students or students with LGBTQ parents.  Established in 1988 to honor the late Audria M. Edwards, the fund pays tribute to mother of six and the first African American PFLAG President in the country.  Of Audria’s six children, she had two straight daughters, a lesbian daughter, bisexual daughter, transgender daughter (Portland entertainer Misty Waters) and a gay son (drag entertainer Lady Elaine Peacock; founder of Peacock in the Park and the AME Scholarship Fund).
Peacock in the Park is the largest annual fundraiser for the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship Fund and is scheduled for June 28, 2015 at the Washington Park Amphitheater.  Each year, thousands make their way to the home of the famed Portland Rose Test Gardens of Washington Park for a summertime spectacular which includes a picnic, live music and a variety show featuring hostess’ Maria Peters Lake and Poison Waters.  Past performers include Jinkx Monsoon, Pink Martini, Alexa Manila, Michael Allen Harrison, Edie, Darcelle XV & Company, Nonsense Dance Company, and many more.
All net proceeds from Peacock in the Park benefit the Audria M. Edwards Scholarship which has awarded 190 grants to 152 individuals totaling $225,000 since 1992 (earlier records are unavailable due the death of founding members).  Scholarships are presented each year at Peacock in the Park.
This year’s sponsors include PQ Monthly, Alpha Media, Scandals, Silverado, US Bank, Benrati Charitable Trust, Robert Goman, and many more.
To sponsor or donate to this cause, go to or contact Kimberlee Van Patten at