The 2018 Bear to Make a Difference Gala is an opportunity for community members, civic leaders and corporate partners to come together to support the work of the Matthew Shepard Foundation and those who share our commitment to a future free from hate.

Saturday, October 20, 2018 at 6:00pm

Hilton Denver City Center
1701 California Street
Denver, CO, 80202

Online ticket sales are now closed. If you would still like to purchase tickets, please contact Denay Patterson at denay@matthewshepard.org. (No guarantee of tickets available)

Special Guests: Judy and Dennis Shepard

Gala tickets

We are sold out! If you want to get in touch about as last minute ticket, please email Denay Patterson.

Become a sponsor

You can help make this evening a huge success by becoming an event sponsor. Find out more information about our multiple sponsorship options.

Become a sponsor >

Become a volunteer

A key component to our gala success is the help we receive from passionate supporters like you. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities to be a part of this great event.

Learn more >

Donate an auction item

If you are interested in contributing an item to the Matthew Shepard Honors Gala Auction, please download our auction donation form.

Donation form >

Hotel reservation

There is a Matthew Shepard Foundation reservation block at the Hilton Denver City Center
1701 California Street
Denver, CO, 80202

Make a reservation >

What do I wear

This year’s attire is black-tie optional. Roaring 20’s themed accessories are highly encouraged!

See photos from 2017 >

2018 Award Recipients

Making a Difference Award Honoree

Adam Rippon

Artist. Athlete. Activist.

Adam Rippon is a combination of all three.

One of the most dramatic figure skaters on the planet, Adam won the hearts of America and the world at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

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Making a Difference Award Honoree

Lesléa Newman

Lesléa Newman has created 70 books for readers of all ages including the poetry collections, Still Life with Buddy; Nobody’s Mother; Lovely; Signs of Love; and I Carry My Mother which received the 2016 Golden Crown Literary Society Poetry Award and was named a “Must Read” title by the Massachusetts Center for the Book.

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Dennis Dougherty Award for Community Leadership Honoree

Chance Mitchell

Chance Mitchell is the Co-Founder & CEO of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community and the largest LGBT economic advocacy and business development organization in the world.

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Dennis Dougherty Award for Community Leadership Honoree

Justin Nelson

Justin Nelson is the Co-Founder & President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community and the largest LGBT economic advocacy and business development organization in the world.

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Spirt of Matthew Honorees

Drew Adams

Drew Adams is a transgender high school senior from Ponte Vedra, FL, who is committed to LGBTQ advocacy at the local and national levels.

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Ose Arheghan

Ose Arheghan is a nationally recognized LGBTQ youth advocate. They work to ensure the rights of queer people of color and individuals with other marginalized identities.

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Bear to Make a Difference Gala 2017

View some of the moments from the last gala.

Drag Eye for the Straight Guy

Please join us on Friday, October 19th for a pre-gala drag show featuring prominent straight men from the Denver community in drag for the very first time! Watch them compete for the “Miss Bear to Make a Difference” Crown!

Thanks to our sponsors

Presenting

Wine and Spirit Sponsor

Marketing Mainstay

National Media Sponsor

Local Media Sponsor

Production Sponsor

Official Hotel Sponsor

Platinum Partners

Golden Graces

Silver Supporters

Bronze Backers

Reading Endodontics PC

Proud Patron

Matthew Shepard FoundationBear to Make a Difference Gala