Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), the nation’s oldest AIDS service organization, held its Annual Gala on October 9 and raised more than $600,000. All the proceeds will benefit thousands of New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV, according to a GMHC press release about the event, held at New York City’s Plaza Hotel.
The evening included cocktails, dinner and an awards presentation, plus a luxury auction and a paddle raise by Christie’s auctioneer Caroline Ervin.
According to GMHC, the following were honored during the gala:
- Longtime trustee Joan H. Tisch (in memoriam), who was also a GMHC volunteer in the 1980s. Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas presented the inaugural Joan H. Tisch Award for Community Service and Philanthropy to her son, Jonathan Tisch. What’s more, to further recognize the Tisch family’s support, GMHC’s new headquarters at 307 West 38th Street will be named after Joan Tisch.
- New York City Council Speaker Cory Johnson, who is very open about his living with HIV and having dealt with alcoholism, received the Larry Kramer Activism Award. It was presented to him by Broadway star Javier Muñoz (star of Hamilton and subject of a POZ cover story). Johnson thanked early AIDS activists for making it possible for him to live and succeed in a public career; he also urged the audience to create a new generation of AIDS leaders.
- Black AIDS Institute president and CEO Phill Wilson was presented with the Judith Peabody Humanitarian Awards by POZ editor-in-chief Oriol Gutierrez. (As POZ reported earlier this year, Wilson announced he is retiring from the institute, which he launched in 1999.)
- Publisher Pride Media (The Advocate and Out) and its CEO Nathan Coyle was presented the Corporate Impact Award by Tony Award–winning actor Billy Porter (he’s also one of the stars of TV series Pose, about the house and ball scene; he plays an HIV-positive character).
- The Time’s Up movement, which stands against sexual harassment and was founded this year, was also honored with a special tribute by Oscar-winning actress Julianne Moore.
“We have achieved so much in our fight against HIV and AIDS, and today’s treatments are great advances. They are, however, yesterday’s advances,” said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie in the press release. “But when I worry about how much work still lies ahead, I am full of gratitude that the leaders we honored at our Annual Gala helped make GMHC what it is today, and it gives me hope that so many people in the room were there to continue those leaders’ work and legacy.”