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Lena Dunham and Dr. Neal Baer receive awards from Point Foundation

Celebrity-Studded Night Benefits Higher Education

NEW YORK, April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More than 400 guests joined two dozen celebrities and dignitaries at the annual Point Honors gala on April 7, which celebrated the accomplishments of Point Foundation (Point) scholarship recipients. Dr. Neal Baer, the Executive Producer and Showrunner for acclaimed television programs such as "ER" and "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" and "Under The Dome," received the Point Leadership Award, and Lena Dunham, the Golden Globe Winner and Emmy Nominated Actress and Producer of HBO's "Girls," accepted the Point Horizon Award.

The event, held at the landmark New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue, raised $620,000 for Point, the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit. Celebrity appearances at Point Honors included Andrew Rannells, Mariska Hargitay, Michael Urie, Tyne Daly, Judith Light, Anthony Edwards, Rachelle Lefevre, Billy Porter, Mike Doyle, BD Wong and Thomas Roberts. Guests also enjoyed performances by Telly Leung and Uzo Aduba. Elected officials also attended to show support for LGBTQ students, including California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newson, New York State Comptroller Thomas Di Napoli and New York City Councilmember Corey Johnson.

Mariska Hargitay presented Neal Baer with the Point Leadership award and in an emotional speech Dr. Baer said, "I am deeply grateful to everyone at the Point Foundation for this wonderful honor. Everyone should have the right to live with dignity, respect and safety…Being gay for me means being honest and, I know the word is almost cliche today, being authentic…I can say to all of you tonight that I'm glad I'm gay, that I love being gay. I love being who I am."

Speaking to the audience after being presented with the Point Horizon award by her "Girls" co-star, Andrew Rannells, Lena Dunham said, "Our goal on Girls is to show you non-stereotypical examples of the range of people who inhabit this amazing city, and we are learning more about what that means every day. This award is such a beautiful indication that we are finding our way…I salute you, Point scholars and graduates. I thank you, Point Foundation"

"It is wonderful that we had the privilege to honor two people of tremendous talents for being champions of the LGBTQ community," said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. "Dr. Baer's notable professional career, in which he often has included realistic and engaging LGBTQ characters in his shows, speaks perfectly to the vision and perseverance that the Point Leadership award stands for. We chose to give the Point Horizon award to Lena Dunham because she is a trailblazer and inspires so many young people that they can realize their great potential."

A number of Point's 78 current scholars and some of the Foundation's 165 alumni joined celebrities on stage and shared with the audience their inspiring stories about the challenges overcome in pursuit of a higher education degree. Point Foundation will announce the recipients of its 2014–2015 scholarships in June 2014. 

Presenting Sponsors for Point Honors New York: HBO, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and Wells Fargo. Premier Sponsors: Audi, Hilton Worldwide, and Time Warner. Principal Sponsors: Philippe Brugere-Trelat and Mitchell Draizin, David Henry Jacobs, Bumble and bumble and The Estee Lauder Companies, PWC, and Goldman Sachs. Friends of Point: Grey Goose, Senses Salon. National Media Sponsor: The Advocate. Local Media Sponsor: Gay City News.

About Point Foundation: Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society.  Since 2001, Point has invested more than $15 million in the education and support of Point Scholars. The Foundation promotes change through scholarship funding, mentorship, leadership development and community service training. www.pointfoundation.org

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