The 2023 Matthew Shepard Foundation Gala on Saturday, October 14 not only commemorated 25 years of Matthew’s legacy, but it also brought together 640 MSF supporters, raising over $568K to support our critical programs and resources.
The event celebrated 2023 Making a Difference Award honoree, Billy Porter, 2023 Dennis Dougherty Award for Community Leadership honoree, Chasten Buttigieg, and 2023 Spirit of Matthew Award honoree, Be A Friend Project.
In its first year at the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel, the evening highlighted the many accomplishments of Judy and Dennis Shepard over the Foundation’s 25-year history, while offering opportunities for reflection and remembrance. The iconography portrait of Matt by artist Kelly Latimore and illustrations from Lesléa Newman’s recently released book, Always Matt: A Tribute to Matthew Shepard, complemented the silent auction space, while a re-creation of Angel Action by Denver Public School students greeted guests as they entered the ballroom to music from the oratorio Considering Matthew Shepard. In addition, the emotional honoree acceptance speeches and keynote from Judy Shepard were made even more powerful by a stunning backdrop of the split-rail fence from Laramie by photographer Jeff Sheng.
As always, guests enjoyed a premier silent and live auction, which featured a custom Billy Porter inspired teddy bear, custom Chasten and Pete Buttigieg inspired bears, and a pair of original cast-autographed “Kinky Boots,” that went for an astonishing $16K!
The Foundation thanks our amazing presenting partners Marriott International, Molson Coors Beverage Company, and the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce. We also wish to acknowledge all of our corporate partners for their continued support of the Foundation’s mission. Special thanks to the many vendors, program participants, auction item donors, and volunteers who were instrumental in making the gala a success.
Last but certainly not least, thanks to all who were in attendance. We hope your experience strengthened your commitment to erase hate in all its forms and we look forward to seeing you again next year!
View photos from the 2023 Gala HERE.