More than 400 guests and celebrities filled the Beverly Hilton Hotel to support lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) students at Point Honors Los Angeles.
Point Foundation (Point), the evening’s beneficiary, is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit; currently assisting 97 scholarship recipients.
At the gala, actor Eric McCormack – beloved by audiences for many roles, especially ‘Will’ in the Emmy Award recognized hit “Will & Grace” – received the Point Impact Award. Actor and singer-songwriter Cheyenne Jackson presented the award to McCormack for his efforts to impact and significantly improve the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) plus allied community. Steven Canals, writer, Co-Creator, and Co-Executive Producer of the acclaimed FX Series “POSE,” received the Point Horizon Award. Best-selling author and advocate Janet Mock presented the award to Canals, which is given to a trailblazer who has taken a leadership role as an advocate of the LGBTQ community.
Both McCormack and Canals used their acceptance speeches to send inspiring messages of support and encouragement to Point Foundation’s LGBTQ scholarship recipients and alumni, a number of whom were in the audience.
“I’ve been on this stage many times over the last twenty years, but I don’t think I’ve ever stood in front of a braver, stronger, more inspirational group of people,” McCormack said. “No one’s going out there with the determination, the empathy, the humor, the talent and the love that you, collectively, can harness. You are the future. Go show us how it’s done. And we will follow.”
“Whether you are a woman, a person of color, or LGBTQ, you will not, you cannot, be held back by your perceived limitations,” Canals said. “College is where I discovered that my voice would be my weapon of choice. And in this heavily contested and highly political time, I implore each and every one of you to speak out. It is your right, and your duty!”
Comedian and writer Solomon Georgio hosted the inspiring evening, which included a special performance by Leona Lewis. Also performing were musical talents Jennifer Foster, Mike Cordone, and jackbenny, as well as dancer, Point Scholar Michael Arellano. Celebrity participants included Kalen Allen, Thomas Dekker, August Getty, Blair Imani, Trace Lysette, Conrad Ricamora, Hailie Sahar, Nico Santos, Johnny Sibilly, Tracie Thoms, Jacob Tobias and many others. Previous honorees, Jason Collins, Greg Louganis, and Adam Shankman also attended the gala.
In an encouraging demonstration of support for LGBTQ students, not only did Point exceed its $400,000 fundraising goal but the evening also featured an announcement that Creative Artists Agency (CAA) would begin underwriting a new Point Foundation Scholarship in 2019. For Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and CEO of Point Foundation, the support of CAA, along with the many corporations and generous individuals who made Point Honors possible, is a message of encouragement that will bring much hope to LGBTQ students.
“October is LGBTQ history month, and while we recognize the achievement of LGBTQ leaders who paved the way for us, we can best honor their achievements by investing in the future – our young people,” Valencia said. “Tonight’s honorees, our special guests, and everyone joining us for Point Honors share our commitment to expand access to education for all young people eager to improve themselves and the world around them.”
Presenting Sponsors: Cadillac, Hilton, and Wells Fargo
Principal Sponsor: HBO, Bruce Lindstrom
Friends of Point: BBVA Compass, J. Crew, and Shelter PR
National Media Sponsor: OUT
Partner Media Sponsor: INTO
Local Media Sponsor: Los Angeles Blade