2006 NY Leadership Awards

NY Leadership Awards 2006

New York Leadership Awards a big success

Christine Quinn and Mayor Dinkins

More than 320 turned out for the New York Leadership Awards honoring New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Cunningham. The April 20 event, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in midtown Manhattan, was the Task Force's first full fundraising dinner in New York in 16 years and raised just over $200,000.

Quinn is the new speaker of the New York City Council, making her one of the most powerful openly lesbian or gay elected officials in the nation. She has a long history of public service in this city, including leading the Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project. Her award was presented by former New York City Mayor David Dinkins, who has always stood with our community, naming us an integral part of what he called this city's "gorgeous mosaic."

David Mixner gave a moving tribute to Michael Cunningham when presenting his Leadership Award to the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hours, A Home at the End of the World and other works. Cunningham spoke poetically about the possibility of a world where people recognize our common humanity and the gifts we each bring to one another, a world where we move beyond the artificial barriers that are created to divide us.

Kate Clinton emceed the evening and was her usual funny, irreverent self, proving once again that she who laughs, lasts. Broadway star Billy Porter opened the evening with his own composition, Time, noting that the song calls this a "time for change," a theme that resonated with those in the room.

Michael Cunningham

The live auction of a trip to Vancouver, BC, for the upcoming Bruce Weber photo shoot for the Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue was won by Robert Kroupa with a bid of $6,500. The raffle for our 4-day trip to London, complete with airfare and a stay at the Millennium Mayfair courtesy of American Express Vacations, was won by Leadership Council member Jorge Cao. The London raffle raised more than $6,000 for the Task Force. Jorge and his partner Don Thomas were also Bronze sponsors of the event.

This year's silent auction, featuring everything from theater tickets to a T-shirt designed by Geena Davis, raised more than $5,000.

The Task Force thanks everyone involved with this year's Leadership Awards in New York. Special thanks to the entire Steering Committee, led by event co-chairs Clay Williams and board members Mark M. Sexton and Paula Redd Zeman. Vice chairs were Jeff Adler, Adam Becker, Bill Melamed, David Ross, Leif Meneke, silent auction chair Jeff Solis and board co-chair Jeff Soref.

We want to especially recognize our Platinum sponsors and Leadership Council members Jim Stepp & Peter Zimmer; the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Don Capoccia; Fred Selvaggi & Bill Shea, Ted Snowdon; and Jeff Soref & Paul Lombardi.

Thanks also to our Gold sponsors, also Leadership Council members, Michael A. Becker & Tee Scatuorchio; the Graham Family Charitable Foundation, who also purchased 10 raffle tickets at the event; Steven L. Holley; Kenneth Kuchin; Louis Martarano; board member Ken Ranftle and his partner Craig Leiby; board member Mark Sexton and his partner Kirk Wallace; corporate sponsor Showtime Networks; and John Silberman & Elliot Carlen.

Thanks also to our Gold media sponsors Gay City News, Go NYC, HX, and NEXT magazine for their donation of advertising for the event. Silver sponsors include Michael Katovitz & J. G. Bland; Bill Melamed; Andrew Tobias & Charles Nolan; event co-chair Clay Williams and his partner David Groff and event co-chair Paula Redd Zeman and her partner the Rev. Deborah G. Tammearu.

Finally, our thanks to our Bronze sponsors, including Arcus Foundation CFO Jeff Arnstein and his partner Michael Field; board member Maureen Burnley and her partner Tatiana Carayannis; Jorge Cao & Donald C. Thomas; Larry Chanen & Jack Burkhalter; Christopher T. Coad, MD & Kevin Kowalski; Kevin Foley & Stephen Littell; Dr. Sam Grubman & Paul Morris; Marjorie Hill, Ph.D & Stacey Bridgeman; The Rev. Clement W.K. Lee & Martin A. Witt; Robert Smolin and Will Trinkle & Juan Granados, all members of the Task Force's Leadership Council.