Point Foundation Gala Commences, Despite News in Boston

| 16 Feb 2015 | 10:48

Nigel Barker and The Estée Lauder Companies honored at event for prestigious national scholarship 

By Helaina Hovitz  The annual Point Foundation Honors Gala went on as planned at Chelsea Piers last night, with over 450 guests in attendance despite the disturbing news that broke just hours earlier. According to event staff, an NYPD patrol boat carefully cruised alongside the edges of Pier Sixty in the late afternoon shortly before the event started. Hosted by actor, TV correspondent and chef David Burtka, the event raised over $660,000 for the Point Foundation, a nonprofit that provides financial support and mentorship for young lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students so that they can attend higher educational institutions nationwide. Burtka's fiancée, Neil Patrick Harris, was also in attendance, along with basketball wife Alani (La La) Anthony, actresses Ally Sheedy and Cara Buono, WPIX news anchor Tamsen Fadal, and model Noella Coursaris Musunka. Andy Kelso and Timothy Ware of Broadway's Kinky Boots performed several musical numbers. From the stage, Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, acknowledged the concern everyone at the event shared about the people of Boston, noting "how it was good to be together in a room with caring and supportive friends." [caption id="attachment_62723" align="alignright" width="300"](http://nypress.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/MG_0366.jpg) Neil Patrick Harris attended with fiancée David Burtka. Photo by A.Sussman/Invision[/caption] The Estée Lauder Companies received the Point Inspiration Award for their work with the organization, which includes providing mentorship to youth within the LGBTQ community and hosting professional development sessions at Point leadership conferences. Tony Award winner Judith Light presented the award to Peter Lichtenthal, President of the company's Bumble and Bumble and Smashbox brands, who announced upon acceptance that The Estée Lauder Companies would fund a $100,000 [Named Point Scholarship](http://www.pointfoundation.org/NamedScholarships). Political strategist and civil rights activist David Mixner presented photographer Nigel Barker with the Point Courage Award. Barker, who is straight, has been a longtime public supporter of the LGBTQ community, and is currently working on a documentary about the Port-au-Prince slums of Bel-Air in post-earthquake Haiti. "So many young people around the country are wondering if they can get a higher education degree," said Valencia. "They are worried about money, but, especially for the LGBTQ young people, it's also a crisis of confidence."