SAGE: Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders
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For Immediate Release

October 19, 2016

LGBT Champions and Partnerships at 21st Annual SAGE Awards & Gala

A star-studded evening drew on the classic opulence of the Cipriani Wall Street Building in New York City

[New York, NY] On Monday, October 17, 2016, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) held its 21st Annual Awards & Gala, which celebrated SAGE’s national achievements and honored four leaders committed to improving the lives of diverse LGBT older people.

See more photos from the 2016 SAGE Awards & Gala.

Outgrowing its former venue, SAGE moved to the grand Cipriani Wall Street, drawing more than 800 influential leaders and allies of the LGBT community, including New York State Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick, New York State Assembly Member Danny O’Donnell, New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, New York City Councilmember Ritchie Torres and famed Supreme Court DOMA plaintiff and LGBT advocate, Edie Windsor. Windsor was accompanied by her new wife, longtime community activist Judith Kasen-Windsor. Entertainment included the first-ever public performance of the Broadway revival of the musical Falsettos.

Among the night’s honorees were Don Capoccia and his company, BFC Partners, which received the LGBT Pioneer Award for their leadership in SAGE’s efforts to bring LGBT age-friendly housing to New York City. Former Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart received the Ken Dawson Advocacy Award, honoring his trailblazing leadership within the LGBT community. Dr. Yanira Cruz, President of the National Hispanic Council on Aging, (NHCOA) received the Paula Ettelbrick Community Service Award in recognition of NHCOA’s deep commitment to LGBT issues. SAGE also acknowledged Jen Hatch/Christopher Street Financial with the Jack Watters Corporate Advocate Award for their unwavering commitment to SAGE and their continuous support of many LGBT community programs.

Special recognition was given to SAGE CEO Michael Adams on his 10th year leading the organization. "I am thrilled to have celebrated my 10-year tenure at SAGE with the largest SAGE Awards & Gala yet," said Adams. "This year’s record-breaking event is a testament to the growing momentum for a future in which all LGBT elders are valued and have boundless opportunities. Its success a true testament to the generous support of our many partners."

With a record number of attendees, the special event raised over $900,000, which will allow SAGE to continue its work across the country. At the event, SAGE announced two new programs designed to help LGBT elders combat social isolation as well as strengthen ties across generations.

On November 1, in partnership with the GLBT National Help Center, SAGE will launch the first-ever hotline for LGBT elders. This initiative responds to the fact that location-related barriers, coupled with stigma and discrimination, can make it difficult for LGBT older people in many parts of the country to find the LGBT-friendly community supports they need. Staffed by trained LGBT volunteers, the National LGBT Elder Hotline will provide support, as well as information and referrals, to LGBT older people no matter where they live.  Also announced was SAGE Table, produced in partnership with AARP, a new national initiative that will bring together LGBT communities through an inter-generational dining experience.  The program will launch in Los Angeles and New York State in 2017.

SAGE participant George Stewart poignantly spoke about the purpose of the organization.  The 84-year-old – and former White House "Champion of Change" – served in the armed forces and worked as a hospital aide at the height of the AIDS crisis. "SAGE feels more like a family than an organization," Stewart said. "This organization should be an example for the rest of the country. It’s no exaggeration to say that SAGE has added at least 10 years to my life."

Watch "Nothing About Us Without Us," a video produced for this year's event.

Photos by Dan Klein Photography: (Top) L-R: Tommie Pueges, Honoree Don Capoccia, Sandra Lee and SAGE CEO Michael Adams (Bottom) SAGE constituent George Stewart speaks at the SAGE Awards

SAGE is the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people. SAGE also offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE coordinates a growing network of affiliates across the country. Learn more at

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