PFLAG NYC to Honor JetBlue Airways, Brian Burke, and David Steward at Annual Gala Dinner on October 11 -- Miss New York Claire Buffie to host VIP reception --

-- Tickets on sale now at www.pflagnyc.org --

NEW YORK, Sept. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- PFLAG NYC, America's largest chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), is proud to announce honorees for its annual gala dinner, set for October 11 at Tribeca Rooftop in Manhattan.

PFLAG NYC will present the following "Stay Close" Leadership Awards at this year's event:

  • Corporate Leadership Award to JetBlue Airways, New York's Hometown Airline
  • Individual Leadership Award to David Steward, media executive and Chairman of the Board of the Point Foundation
  • Sports Leadership Award to Brian Burke, President and General Manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs of the National Hockey League (NHL) and general manager of the U.S. men's ice hockey team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver

PFLAG NYC will bestow its first-ever Sports Leadership Award to Brian Burke, president and general manager of the Toronto Maple Leafs. Burke, a longtime NHL executive who led the Anaheim Ducks to their 2007 Stanley Cup win, also served as general manager of Team USA, the United States men's ice hockey team at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. The public coming out of Burke's son, Brendan – himself a budding ice hockey executive – made international headlines last year and prompted fresh and honest dialogue about the role of homophobia in sports. Following Brendan Burke's tragic death in a car crash earlier this year, his father Brian has set out to honor his memory through fierce advocacy for LGBT equality in sports.

This year's Corporate Leadership Award will go to JetBlue Airways, New York's Hometown Airline. The carrier will be honored for its commitment to LGBT equality, both within the company and in the community. JetBlue has supported the work of PFLAG NYC since 2005 and is dedicated to improving the environment for LGBT youth in New York City and elsewhere through its involvement not just with PFLAG NYC but with organizations such as the Point Foundation, which funds academic scholarships for marginalized LGBT youth, and New York's Ali Forney Center, the nation's largest shelter for homeless LGBT youth. Earlier this year, JetBlue became the first-ever U.S. airline to host an LGBT-themed flight, in celebration of Pride festivities in California.

Media executive and chairman of the board of The Point Foundation, David H. Steward, will be honored with this year's Individual Leadership Award. Steward has been a longtime leader in the fight for LGBT equality through work with PFLAG NYC, GLAAD and the Point Foundation. Steward was responsible for securing major media placements for PFLAG NYC's award winning "Stay Close" public awareness campaign that features straight celebrities showing their love for LGBT family members. His work with the Point Foundation, which provides financial support, mentoring, and leadership training to meritorious university students who have been marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, is complementary to PFLAG NYC's Safe Schools Program, which helps ensure that LGBT youth have an environment for success in middle and high school.

Miss New York 2010, Claire Buffie, an outspoken supporter of full LGBT equality, will be among the evening's emcees and will host a pre-awards VIP cocktail reception for this year's guests. Buffie is the first-ever Miss America contestant to make LGBT rights the centerpiece of her platform. She is also a board member of PFLAG NYC and a frequent speaker in the organization's Safe Schools Program.

Tickets for the October 11 gala dinner and silent auction can be purchased today at www.pflagnyc.org. The event will take place at Tribeca Rooftop at 2 Desbrosses Street in New York City and begin at 6 p.m. with the VIP reception and silent auction hosted by Miss New York, followed by dinner, entertainment and awards at 7 p.m.

"JetBlue is honored to be recognized by PFLAG NYC with this year's Corporate Leadership Award and proud to be a long-standing supporter of the LGBT community and in particular the vital work of this great organization," said Icema Gibbs, JetBlue's director of corporate social responsibility.

About PFLAG NYC

PFLAG NYC is the founding chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), the nation's foremost family-based organization that unites straight allies with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people to make a better future for LGBT youth and achieve full equality for LGBT people.

PFLAG NYC's services include the Safe Schools Program, which works with teachers, principals, counselors and students to fight bullying and harassment and ensure that LGBT youth are safe and successful in school, and the Support Program, which provides information and community-based assistance to preserve relationships within families when someone comes out as LGBT. PFLAG NYC also runs the award-winning, public awareness and education campaign, Stay Close (www.stayclose.org), which features straight celebrities showing love and support for their LGBT family members. To learn more, please visit www.pflagnyc.org.

SOURCE PFLAG NYC



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