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$2.9 million raised for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s services for homeless LGBT youth at benefit

With so many parents of LGBT youth turning their backs on their own kids, I cannot think of a better cause than this one.

Last Saturday, $2.9 million was raised for the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center’s services for homeless LGBT youth at a benefit dinner hosted by director Roland Emmerich (2012, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow), one of the Center’s largest annual donors, at his Hollywood estate.

The Center offers the nation’s most comprehensive range of services to care for homeless LGBT and questioning youth.

“The number of youth that has been coming to us for help has been skyrocketing,” the center’s CEO, Lorri L. Jean, said in her remarks at the event. “It’s as if the progress that we’re making in this society — especially with the visibility with film and television — is translating into kids coming out earlier, and younger, but in families that are not ready to support them, tolerate them or accept them.”

Jean said that in a single day recently, 134 young people had come to the center’s facilities for help – dramatic jump from the approximately 35 or so that had been the average.

“We had 30 beds, and now, thanks to Roland, we have 50,” Jean said. “But it’s not enough. … We turn away kids at the end of the night. We have got to do something to take care of more of our kids.”

Part of the proceeds of the evening will go to the construction of a new facility for the homeless youth that will triple the number of beds to 150.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the $28 million project is expected to break ground in 2015 and open in 2017.

The guests at the event Saturday included director/screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, entertainment lawyer Alan Hergott, CAA’s Bryan Lourd, Glee’s Jane Lynch, Real Housewife Lisa Vanderpump, producer Michael Gordon, mogul Russell Simmons, Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman Amy Pascal, director/showrunner Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story), HBO’s Michael Lombardo, Camille Belle (10,000 B.C.), Scandal’s Dan Bucatinsky and David Furnish (chairman of EJAF & husband to Elton John).

The event also marked the premier of a powerful new short film and PSA, Any Given Tuesday which I posted last Friday. See it HERE.  It highlights the plight of homeless LGBT youth in Los Angeles and features Elton John, Jamie Foxx, James Woods and Lisa Ling.  It was written and directed by Trent Kendrick and produced by Michael Fossat for the Center.  In less than 4 days it has already had more than 41,000 views as of tonight.

Photos: 1. Dustin Lance Black addresses the crowd. 2. Dan Bucatinksy and Jane Lynch flank LA Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean 3. Ryan Murphy and Roland Emmerich

FILE UNDER: Benefits


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