In The Life Media, producers of the groundbreaking LGBT public affairs program In The Life, has presented its 2010 Pioneer Award to philanthropist Henry van Ameringen at the Season Premiere Gala at Manhattan's The Morgan Museum on October 4th, 2010.
As the president of two major foundations, van Ameringen, 80, is among the most prolific philanthropists in the country. According to public records, his foundations issued grants to over 200 institutions in 2009, funding many of New York City's LGBT organizations, HIV/AIDS service providers, social justice organizations, community health centers and more.
In The Life Media Executive Director Michelle Kristel explained, "As discreet as he is generous, van Ameringen is truly a pioneering, if elusive, leader behind the scenes of the LGBT civil rights movement. Though his philanthropic legacy spans over half a century, he remains notoriously modest and the great contributions he has made toward social justice have gone largely unpublicized.
ITLM is thrilled to host this rare event publicly honoring van Ameringen, whose life-long dedication to social justice reflects ITLM's mission to advance equality within and beyond the LGBT communities."
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said, “Let me just say there are very few AIDS service organizations and LGBT groups in the City of New York that have not benefited from Henry's philanthropy.
Added Quinn, "And one of the things about Henry's philanthropy is he actually doesn't want you to know about it. Thank you, In The Life Media, for finally getting Henry to relent and letting us honor him."
Debuting in 1992, In the Life is a 30-minute program nationally broadcast on public television. It has received three Emmy Award nominations, a Lambda Legal Liberty Award, the Courage Award from the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, the Seigenthaler Award from the National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism.The October edition of In The Life, was screened at the gala. Titled "Surviving the Past," the episode deals with Florida's past and present struggles to overcome anti-gay discrimination, focusing on the state's adoption laws and on the campaign of openly gay mayor Craig Lowe. On a lighter note, the episode also features a conversation with legendary actor/singer (and gay icon) Liza Minnelli and actor/playwright Charles Busch.
Busch was on hand to honor van Ameringen, along with comedian Kate Clinton and hip hop artist Shorty Roc.