Point Foundation–the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students, held their annual Point Honors Los Angeles 2017 Gala at The Beverly Hilton on Saturday, October 7.
The event was power gay central. It attracted over 450 guests, which included a slew of celebrities. Previous honorees like Neal Baer, Greg Louganis, Pete Nowalk, and Adam Shankman were in attendance. Other celebrity names included Tyler Alvarez, Hayden Byerly, Jay Duplass, Judith Light, Trace Lysette, Benjamin Patterson, Brandon Stansell, Jacob Tobia, JJ Totah, and Rain Valdez.
Comedian Michelle Collins was host of the evening. She had the room laughing with her commentary on current events and other hot topics, which included Harvey Weinstein jokes (too soon?). She also poked light fun at the Wells Fargo executives who were seated at a table near the stage. She made jokes about the bank’s recent fake-accounts scandal, which they took in stride.
Wells Fargo has been a Point Foundation corporate partner for more than a decade. Despite the jabs throughout the night, the bank presented Point with a $1.8 million check that night. The funding continues the company’s support of Point’s new Community College Scholarship program, scholarships for Point Scholars in four-year and advanced degree programs, and Point’s leadership development programs and conferences.
Actress Judith Light received a standing ovation when she took the stage. Light has been a longterm supporter of Point. She is a former Point board member and is currently an honorary board member. She gave a moving tribute to her friend, founding Point board member, Herb Hamsher, who recently passed away from melanoma.
Highlights of the evening included stories from Point scholars as well as the Point Honors awards. Actor Anthony Anderson presented comedian Wanda Sykes with the Point Legend Award for having achieved greatness in her career and unapologetically supporting the LGBTQ community. Writer, director, and producer Jill Soloway received the Impact Award, presented by Kathryn Hahn, for the impact Soloway has made on improving the lives of the LGBTQ community. And actor Wilson Cruz, accepted a Point Courage Award for his advocacy work on behalf of the LGBTQ community via a video message from New York.
The evening ended with a special performance by Adam Lambert who san three songs accompanied by a live band.
The night included a live auction, which featured a “Will and Grace” experience package that gave the winner a chance to watch the taping of the show and get a photo op with the cast. Nearly $500,000 was raised that night and more that $100,000 were donated to establish a scholarship in Herb Hamsher’s name.
“Thank you to tonight’s honorees for inspiring our scholars and to all the celebrities who joined us to champion equality in education for LGBTQ students,” said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and CEO of Point Foundation.
Point Foundation empowers promising lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society.
To learn more or to make a donation, visit: pointfoundation.org