Center Dinner Raises Over $1 Million for New York City’s LGBTQ+ Community

Guests braved the rain for the cause at Cipriani Wall Street.

by Aaron Royce
Center Dinner, LGBTQIA, Nymphia Wind, Jan Sport, Sapphira Cristal, Plane Jane

Even a surprise rainstorm couldn’t stop guests from filling Cipriani Wall Street to support the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center. On Thursday night, the organization raised $1.3 million during its namesake Center Dinner, which celebrates the organization’s community and health programs.

Center Dinner, LGBTQIA, Nymphia Wind, Q, Sapphira Cristal, Plane Jane, RuPaul's Drag Race

Nymphia Wind, Q, Sapphira Cristal, Plane Jane (Breanna Johnson/

This year, the event was hosted by RuPaul’s Drag Race castmates Nymphia Wind, Q, Sapphira Cristal, and Plane Jane, honoring those sparking change in the LGBTQIA+ community, including Jean Paul Gaultier. Richie Shazam presented Gaultier’s fragrance business with the Corporate Impact Award, owed to its commitment to inclusivity—a shared value of the Center, as well.

“The Center is a crucial part of our queer community here in New York,” Shazam said. “It represents the core community and urgency of coming together. It’s a space where people of all ages can come and congregate. It’s a vital resource, and needs to continue to be amplified, especially during all of the perilous, chaotic, stupid stuff that we’re living through right now—it’s important for us to come together and honor each other.”

Center Dinner, LGBTQIA, Richie Shazam, Chelsea Coley

Richie Shazam, Chelsea Coley (Matteo Prandoni/

The awards also honored nightclub The Eagle NYC, whose owners Robert Berk and Derek Danton have raised over $2 million against AIDS through Team Eagle’s Cycle for the Cause over the years. While onstage, the pair toasted the venue’s commitment to queer nightlife spaces—which was similarly appreciated by attendees.

“The Eagle! The iconic Eagle,” said Nymphia Wind. “Everyone knows the Eagle, and if you’ve ever been to the Eagle, you’ll always have a great time—especially in the dark rooms.”

Center Dinner, LGBTQIA, Richert Schnorr, George Alford, The Eagle

Richert Schnorr, George Alford (Deonté Lee/

Overall, the evening commemorated the Center’s longtime role as a resource and safe haven for New York City’s LGBTQIA+ residents. The event also honored its future, marking the debut of its new CEO, Dr. Carla Smith.

“I’ve been to many programs and benefitted from the Center, [and] I can say that it’s a place that brings our community together,” said Jason Wu. “It really gives you perspective that you’re not alone.”

Center Dinner, LGBTQIA, Jason Wu

Jason Wu (Breanna Johnson/

The evening included a musical performance by Brittney Mack, a silent auction, and a World of Red Ball ballroom show. Guests including Honey Balenciaga, Hunter Abrams, Taylore Scabarelli, Willie Norris, Andrew Lee Taylor, Brien Kent, Chelsea Coley, Briana Andalore, Marti Cummings, Connie Fleming, Patrick Rose, Eric Viner, Jordan Wise, Ben Djaha, Ian Paget, Susanne Bartsch, Don Lemon, Michael Hsu Rosen, Joshua Allen, Anna Baryshnikov, Ryan Jamaal Swain, Tyler Lain, and more celebrated through the night, concluding with Emil Wilbekin’s afterparty—which also celebrated Dr. Smith’s birthday—at The Virgin Hotel.

Images: Deonté Lee/

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