More than 450 guests attended the annual Point Honors gala on April 15 to help support Point Foundation Scholarships and programs for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students.
The event, held at Pier Sixty on the Hudson River, raised over $660,000 for Point Foundation (Point), the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit.
The Estée Lauder Companies received the Point Inspiration Award for championing respect and inclusion of the LGBTQ community, and operating with the vision that the success of talented young people is limited only by the resources and opportunities made available to them. Tony Award winner Judith Light presented the award to Peter Lichtenthal, President of the company’s Bumble and bumble and Smashbox brands. Vigorous applause followed Lichtenthal’s surprise announcement that The Estée Lauder Companies would fund a $100,000 Named Point Scholarship.
Photographer Nigel Barker was presented with the Point Courage Award by political strategist and civil rights activist David Mixner. The award is accorded to an individual who lives with the vision that investing in today’s youth will produce a brighter tomorrow. Mixner was the recipient of the Point Legend Award in 2010.
“So many young people around the country are wondering if they can get a higher education degree and pursue their dreams of becoming doctors, artists, or professionals of one kind or another,” said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. “They are worried about money, but – especially for the LGBTQ young people – it’s also a crisis of confidence. They need to see successful people like our honorees stand up and say ‘We believe in you. We want you to succeed and we will help you.’”
From the stage, Valencia acknowledged the concern everyone at the event shared about the people of Boston and how it was good to be together in a room with caring and supportive friends. The moving evening was hosted by actor, TV correspondent and chef David Burtka, and attended by Neil Patrick Harris, La La Anthony, Ally Sheedy, Cara Buono, Margot Bingham, Nick Mathews, Tamsen Fadal and Noella Coursaris Musunka. Musical performances were provided by Andy Kelso and Timothy Ware of Broadway’s Kinky Boots. Current Point Scholar Navidra Hardin and Point Alumna Cris Beam also addressed the audience. Point Foundation will announce the recipients of its 2013–2014 scholarships in June.