Secret Dallas dinner party to fundraise for human rights

CORRECTION: The date for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was incorrectly reported as Sept. 18. The correct date for the event is Saturday, Sept. 16. We apologize for the error.

CAROLINE SAVOIE  |  Contributing Writer

The prospect of attending a dinner party at a secret location with nearly 200 strangers can sound either thrilling or terrifying. But for DFW’s Human Rights Campaign and North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce, it’s a thrilling opportunity to bring LGBTQ supporters together to strengthen the community.

Scott Collen, the HRC chapter’s event chair, said nine hosts will lead the event, titled Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, on Sept. 16, providing nine different dinners undisclosed locations in Dallas.

“The dinner locations are secret, and you never know where you might end up,” a press release said. “No telling what the theme of your dinner will be or who you might be sitting next to.”

Ticket-holders will receive an email leading up to the event detailing the dinner and dessert locations. Once they arrive, they’ll be joined by other guests — some dinners are as small as six people while others will serve 32 guests.

After dinner, hosts will direct their party-goers to another secret spot for dessert, where they’ll be united with the rest of the group.

Although this is Collen’s second year hosting the dinner, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner has been a beloved fundraiser for more than 15 years. While it started as an event exclusive to the HRC Federal Club, Collen said the event opened to the public just a few years ago.

“We want to help people learn more about HRC’s role in the community and meet people who are like-minded that they might not have met outside of the event,” Collen said.

He said the HRC is focusing its efforts on preparing for the 2024 elections and fighting legislation that targets LGBTQ Texans.

Between ticket and auction sales, last year’s sold-out dinner raised $10,000, after expenses, for the nonprofit Chamber and HRC. This year, Collen said ,auction items include a travel package to Gay Wine Weekend in Sonoma, Calif., a painting by local artist Daniel Padilla (whose gallery is sponsoring the event), and another item Collen is keeping close to his chest.

The dessert location is also home to the event’s silent and live auctions, which are open to non-ticket holders as well. Collen said that to participate in the auction remotely, those interested can sign up at

The evening’s profits support DFW Human Rights Campaign Federal Club’s work and fund scholarships for deserving LGBTQ and ally students provided by the LGBT Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Tickets for the first 80 guests cost $85, a $10 discount from the full price of $95. Ticket sales end on Sept. 8, affording guests entrance into the social hour, dinner, reception, valet lot, and the silent and live auctions, as well as a drink coupon. More drinks can be purchased separately.