The Los Angeles LGBT Center honored Co-CEO of WME | IMG Ariel Emanuel, and former Senior Advisor to President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, at their 48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards, which took place on Saturday, September 23 at the Beverly Hilton.

Jimmy Kimmel at 48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards
Jimmy Kimmel at 48th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards

This year’s star-studded, Hollywood-meets-the-Beltway evening, brought to you by American Airlines, united more than 1,000 leaders from the civic, corporate, entertainment, and philanthropic communities to celebrate the inspirational 2017 honorees for their unwavering support of the LGBT community and their dedication to creating positive change in the world. Guests enjoyed cocktails, dinner, and entertainment, along with a not-to-be-missed silent auction that included high-end items, packages, and experiences.

Host Jimmy Kimmel was greeted by thunderous applause when he stepped onstage to kick off the evening’s program. He introduced MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell, who took a moment to reflect on the current political climate, and to commend Kimmel for his bravery in using his voice to create positive change. LA Galaxy soccer player Robbie Rogers introduced the Center’s CEO Lorri L. Jean, who captivated the audience with her powerful message about the importance of fighting for the change you want to see, noting that “change happens because we make it happen.”

Auctioneer Andrea Fiuczynski led the silent auction that had guests bidding on items such as a VIP Vegas Experience complete with concert tickets and a meet and greet with Cher, which sold for $24,000, and a New York Tennis Package with two tickets to the 2018 U.S. Open and an exclusive meet and greet with Billie Jean King, which went for $30,000. Actor and comedian Jermaine Fowler helped to raffle off a special European River Cruise from Uniworld, along with 400,000 American Airlines Advantage Miles.

Writer and producer Shonda Rhimes presented former Senior Advisor to President Obama Valerie Jarrett with the Rand Schrader Distinguished Achievement Award. Rhimes listed the many advancements that Jarrett fought for throughout her career, and spoke about the incredible impact she has had on creating positive change in her fight for equality. Jarrett joined Rhimes onstage to accept the award with a powerful speech, driving home the important message that “love really does trump hate.”

Artist Mark Bradford took the stage to present Co-CEO of WME | IMG Ariel Emanuel with the Vanguard Award, praising the many ways in which he has demonstrated his support for the cause and been able to make a difference. Emanuel accepted the award from Bradford with a moving speech about his cousin Gary who passed away from an AIDS-related illness. Emanuel said he wanted to use this award and his platform to honor Gary’s memory by telling the stories of those in the LGBT community.

Additional attendees included event co-chairs Tess Ayers, LuAnn Boylan, Kathy Kloves, Michael Lombardo, and Brad Ong, with guests J.J. Abrams, Karen Anzoategui, Peter Berg, Michelle Bonilla, Milan Christopher, Wilson Cruz, Jordan Doww, Erin Foster, Sara Foster, Jermaine Fowler, Naomi Grossman, EJ Johnson, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Maureen McCormick, Veronica Osorio, Patrick Whitesell, Breeda Wool, and more.

2017 Title Sponsor: American Airlines; Presenting Sponsor: The Beverly Hilton; Diamond Sponsor: Audi and Wells Fargo; Platinum Sponsors: Ariel Emanuel, HBO and WME | IMG; Gold Sponsors: 21st Century Fox, 3 Arts Entertainment, Amazon Studios, Anita May Rosenstein Foundation, AT&T, Barry McCabe, Belmont Village Senior Living, CBS, Chaz Dean, Citi Private Bank, Comcast NBCUniversal, Curt Shepard and Alan Hergott, Disney | ABC, FremantleMedia North America, Gilead, Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hulu, June Street Architecture, LabCorp, LBI Entertainment, Media Rights Capital Studio, MGM Studios, Netflix, Pacific Federal, Paramount Pictures, Pauley Perrette, Perkins Coie LLP, Reed Smith LLP, Showtime Networks Inc, Sony Pictures Entertainment, STARZ Entertainment, TNT & TBS, U.S. Bank, Viacom, and Warner Bros. Entertainment; Silver Sponsors: Beckson Design Associates, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, JPMorgan Chase & Co, OUT@WB, and Ralphs; Official Vodka Sponsor: Tito’s Handmade Vodka; and Media Sponsors: Lesbian News,, The Advocate, The Los Angeles Blade and Variety.

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