LOS ANGELES – The two largest California LGBTQI+ non-profits raised nearly $3 million dollars in two separate celebrity driven fundraising events this past weekend. The events were a first for both as, The Los Angeles LGBT Center and Equality California, were unable to host in-person events due the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus pandemic and instead were held online in a virtual setting.
The LGBT Center is approaching the $1.3 million mark in support from its first-ever live telethon Love in Action which aired on KTLA 5 and livestreamed on Saturday, September 12.The incredible two-hour fundraising show, presented by The Ariadne Getty Foundation, earmarked the Center’s inaugural effort to raise money for its vital programs and services during the COVID-19 pandemic through a live television event.
Co-hosted by Emmy-Award winning actress and former member of the Center’s Board of Directors Jane Lynch and KTLA 5 news anchor Cher Calvin and with drag superstar Manila Luzon emceeing the in-studio tote board as the telethon’s “Cash Queen.” The event showcased appearances and performances by a roster of A-list entertainers.
On Sunday, September 13, Equality California hosted its first-ever statewide “Golden State Equality Awards” virtual celebration. Led by “Pose” star Angelica Ross, the evening was filled with powerful tributes and inspiring moments highlighting the essential work carried out by Equality California in the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights and social justice, raising over $1.75 million for the cause.
International superstars Gloria Estefan and Rita Moreno honored their longtime friend and collaborator Norman Lear with the Ally Leadership Award for his lifelong commitment to civil rights and increasing onscreen representation of Black, Latinx and LGBTQ+ people. Pete & Chasten Buttigieg received the Equality Trailblazer Award, following Pete’s groundbreaking run for president. Executive Producer Laverne Cox, Director/Producer Sam Feder and Producer Amy Scholder accepted the Equality Visibility Award on behalf of the impactful Netflix Original Documentary Disclosure.
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi honored the late U.S. Representative John Lewis, a civil rights legend and longtime ally to the LGBTQ+ community, with a moving tribute to his life and career, accompanied by a poignant performance from Rufus Wainwright.
“The money we generated in support of our telethon began being used the very next day to help some of the most vulnerable people in Los Angeles, which means the Center can continue to serve as a first-responder for the LGBTQ community during the pandemic,” Center CEO Lorri L. Jean.
“A heartfelt thank you to our friends in the entertainment industry who lent their time and talent for this urgent cause. And extra special gratitude to the always compassionate and determined Ariadne Getty for her foundation’s generous support. On that magical evening, we collectively showed the true power of love in action that will reverberate throughout the LGBTQ community for months to come!”