Point Foundation, the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit, returned to the Beverly Hilton this past Saturday, October 13, to host their annual Point Honors gala. More than 400 guests and celebrities attended the event.
Emmy Award-winning actor Eric McCormack, of the Emmy Award-winning hit show “Will & Grace,” received the Point Impact Award. McCormack was recognized for his efforts to impact and significantly improve the LGBTQ+ allied community. The award was presented by actor and singer-songwriter Cheyenne Jackson.
Also honored at the Point Honors Gala, was Steven Canals, the writer, co-creator, and co-executive producer of the acclaimed FX series “POSE,” with the Point Horizon Award. Best-selling author and trans 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.
“Eric McCormack took on a role that several years ago, many never would have thought to take on as a straight actor,” Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and CEO of Point Foundation, told WEHO TIMES. “The way he was able to bring our world into the lives of so many people is kind of awesome.”
“And Steven Canal is someone that our scholars, our board members, and our alumni love so much,” He added. “We all love how he has included trans people in everything that he does.”
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 from the podium. “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 Point Honors Gala, 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, Kit Williamson and John Halbach and many others.
Previous honorees, Jason Collins, Greg Louganis, and Adam Shankman, also attended the gala.
Point Honors Gala exceeded its $400,000 fundraising goal that evening. There was also an announcement that Creative Artists Agency (CAA) would begin underwriting a new Point Foundation Scholarship in 2019.
Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society. Since 2002, Point has awarded more than 400 scholarships. The Foundation promotes change through scholarship funding, mentorship, leadership development and community service training. www.pointfoundation.org.
Photos by Paulo Murillo