Funding for $2 million to support higher education scholarships for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students was announced and raised at the April 16, 2012 Point Honors New York gala. More than 500 people attended the event benefiting Point Foundation (Point), the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBT students of merit. Playwright Edward Albee and global film company Focus Features received awards for being champions of the LGBT community and advocates for the community’s next generation of leaders. Wells Fargo & Company announced the company’s commitment of $1.5 million to fund 10 Wells Fargo Point Scholarships and related programming.
Academy and Tony Award winner Mercedes Ruehl presented Edward Albee with the Point Legend Award: accorded to an individual who has achieved greatness in their professional career and unapologetically supported the LGBT community. Focus Features received the Point Inspiration Award: given to a company or organization that champions respect and inclusion of the LGBT community. Denis O’Hare, a star of HBO’s True Blood and the film Milk, presented the award to Focus Features’ CEO James Schamus, and company President Andrew Karpen. Schamus and Karpen then announced that Focus Features’ parent company NBCUniversal, would provide $100,000 toward a four-year, NBCUniversal Point Scholarship.
Emmy Award winner and Point Board Member Judith Light, introduced Wells Fargo executives Shelley Freeman and Tim Hanlon who received extended applause for their announcement that Wells Fargo would increase the company’s already generous support of Point by providing $1.5 million for new scholarships and Point events and programs for four years.
The evening was hosted by Ted Allen of the groundbreaking Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Food Network’s Chopped. Also welcoming the audience from the stage were Thomas Robert from MSNBC Live and Michelle Clunie of the upcoming film Magic Mike. Trista Moldovan and Kyle Barisich from Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera provided stirring musical entertainment. Joining the celebrities on the red carpet were Renee Graziano and Angela ‘Big Ang’ Raiola of VH1’s hit Mob Wives.
“The generosity of people tonight is just astounding – we’ve never had an honoree take the stage and make a commitment to fund a scholarship as Focus Features and NBCUniversal did,” said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. “Wells Fargo’s gift of $1.5 million announced this evening is the largest single donation ever made to Point by a corporation.”
Photos: Linda Lenzi, Broadway World - click link for more pictures
Watch video from Point Honors New York