The Point Foundation, the nation's largest scholarship program for LGBT students, is forming an Atlanta Point Cornerstone Society membership program with an inaugural event set for Feb. 20.
Host committee members are Louis Gary, Ivan Pulinkala, James Richardson, Ken Thaxton and Jamie Woodard.
Point scholars and alumni will be at the Feb. 20 event to share their stories about how the scholarship fund helped them to achieve their goals. Emceeing the event will be John Lemley, radio host and producer of 90.1 WABE's City Café with John Lemley. Lemley lives in Decatur with his partner, Mike Selk.
The event is free to prospective Point Cornerstone Society Members ― those who will donate $500 or more a year. There will be appetizers and cocktails at the event.
The Point Foundation has invested more than $15 million in the education and support of Point Scholars since it was founded in 2001.
“We do a lot of fundraising in the city around issues relative to the community and sometimes we invest too much in certain ones,” said Louis Gary, an Atlanta financial planner.
“In my formative years at Mississippi State I always had this great idea to have a gay scholarship fund, especially for those in Southern states. There is an ongoing concern that when parents and family find out their child is gay, they shut down funding and the child then loses scholastic funding,” Gary said.
“I was afraid to come out in college because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to finish college. And for some, when their funding is cut off, they can become become trapped in mediocrity in a state that hates them.”
Gary and his partner, Rocky Nixon, have helped LGBT young people who have been cut off from family and needing help to go to school and get jobs by giving them places to stay, even buying them suits for their job interviews.
“But I still pined to create a scholarship fund,” Gary said. When a friend told him about the Point Foundation, Gary knew there was no reason to reinvent the wheel. “And what's most impressive is you can name a scholarship fund toward a specific scholastic avenue or a specific university. One day I'd like create a fund to go to Southeastern universities,” he said.
The Feb. 20 event is meant to educate young scholars about the program as well as let those who have the funds to donate and help sustain the education program to empower future LGBT leaders, Gary added.
Event supporting Point Foundation’s LGBTQ Scholars
Additional support for LGBTQ youth: Accredited Schools Online