Photo Credit: (All photos by Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Housing Works)Housing Works honored the actor, producer and activist Zachary Quinto, interior designer Jamie Drake and activist Mary Fisher at their annual Groundbreaker Awards Dinner, held this year at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The gala, emceed by HGTV host Genevieve Gorder, benefited Housing Works’ services for New Yorkers living with and affected by HIV/AIDS and homelessness. The event raised over $1.2 million
Barbara Bush kicked off the award presentations by honoring Mary Fisher for her work supporting those living with HIV/AIDS. While fighting back tears, Bush praised Fisher for using her voice to speak out about HIV and how she lived her life with the disease. Fisher has written several books on the subject and has used her artwork and design collaborations to raise money for fighting AIDS.
“I think of Housing Works as a living testimony of truth,” Fisher said in her acceptance speech. “They are helping people living with HIV/AIDS who are not the needy and the despised. They are the courageous who have not given up or give in. They are role models for survival.”
Elle Decor editor-in-chief Michael Boodro presented the Elle Decor Heart of Design Award to Jamie Drake. In his acceptance speech, Drake reflected on why he became involved with Housing Works. “I know that my initial commitment to helping those with HIV came with the loss of some of my dearest friends in the 1980s and 1990s – Kevin, Keith, Len, Larry, Robert – I could go on and on. I so very often think of you all in silently saying your names in the conversations we have together in my mind. Tonight I say them out loud. And in accepting this Award, I honor them and thank them in helping me to help others,“ Drake said.
After being introduced by Genevieve Gorder Zachary Quinto spoke of his decision to come out as an openly gay man in 2011 in direct response to the large number of nationwide suicides in the LGBT community, particularly that of 14-year-old Jamie Rodemeyer. “I didn’t consult any of my representatives or advisors or friends or family. I didn’t worry or care if the move would diminish career opportunities or negatively impact how I was perceived in the entertainment industry,” Quinto said. “I simply stood up. I was a witness in my truth. And while I couldn’t help Jamie, or any of his fallen comrades, I was set free in a way that could potentially benefit thousands of other LBGT youths still struggling to find a purpose and place in an often cruelly and unsupportive circumstances.”
All three honorees accepted their Awards to standing ovations from the room of more than 350 guests. Support for the Groundbreaker Awards was provided by Elle Decor, Chateau D’Esclans, Double Cross Vodka, Whispering Angel, Playmates Toys and DRAKE/ANDERSON
The Design on a Dime Opening Night Reception followed on April 21st, where nearly 1,300 guests shopped room vignettes created by more than 68 top interior designers. The reception was followed by 2 days of public sales.
Design on a Dime was founded in 2004 by Designer James Huniford, who was the event’s Founding Chair. Since inception the event has raised more than $10 million for the organization’s mission. This year’s co-Chairs were Alessandra Branca, Michael Boodro, Nicole Gibbons, George Oliphant, Marisa Tomei and Social Chair Douglas Friedman. Support for Design on a Dime was provided by Elle Decor, Lowe’s, Benjamin Moore, Chateau D’esclans, Whispering Angel, Hendrick’s Gin, Milagro Tequila, AirSea Packing, Gilead Sciences, Inc., Viacom and the New York Design Center (200 Lex).