Historic Stonewall Inn awards philanthropists who saved the bar during pandemic

The NYC’s LGBT Community Center (“The Center”) honored philanthropists Tim Gill and Scott Miller with its inaugural Edie Windsor Trailblazer Award in recognition of their contributions toward LGBTQ equality at the Stonewall Inn, a place many call home to the birthplace of some of the first gay and trans rights movements, 

Since its launch in 1994, the Gill Foundation with leaders Gill and Miller, have raised more than $500 million for LGTBQ causes and fight for equality. 

Gill and Miller accepted the award outside the Stonewall Inn on April 14, and were recognized for their integral financial support during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic to keep the historic landmark afloat. 

Among those in attendance were Judith Windsor, widow of marriage equality icon Edie Windsor; The Center Executive Director Glennda Testone; Stonewall Inn co-owners Stacy Lentz and Kurt Kelly; Gill Foundation Board member Mary Bonauto; Gill Foundation Board member Eliza Byard; GLSEN Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers; local LGBTQ community members; and more.

“We are grateful to The Center and the Stonewall Inn for this extraordinary recognition,” said Gill and Miller. “More importantly, we are proud to stand beside them in the work to achieve LGBTQ equality.”

In June 2020, the Gill Foundation announced it would match contributions up to $250,000 to protect the Stonewall Inn, which was on the brink of closure due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the $250,000 pledge to protect the legacy of Stonewall, the Gill Foundation also committed an additional $50,000 to support Stonewall Day, a fundraiser that benefited Trans Lifeline, the [email protected] Coalition, Brave Space Alliance, and The Ally Coalition.

“When we needed them most, Tim and Scott were there,” said Stacy Lentz, Stonewall Inn co-owner and CEO of the Stonewall Gives Back Initiative. “Because of their generosity, and the generosity of others who followed their lead, the Stonewall Inn’s doors remain open today – a place where LGBTQ people and allies from all over the world come to gather and support equality. We are so grateful for their generosity and ongoing support.”

Edie Windsor – whom the award was named after – was an American LGBTQ activist as well as the lead plaintiff in the 2013 Supreme Court of the United States case United States v. Windsor, which overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and was considered a landmark legal victory for the same-sex marriage movement in the United States.

Windsor’s widow, Judith Windsor was in attendance as well and presented the award to Gill and Miller saying how special this moment was for her, and for her late wife.

“I am very honored to be to give this award to Tim and Scott on behalf of the Center, on behalf of the Stonewall and on the behalf of Judith,” said Windsor. “Thank you so much for all you have done.”

The recipients expressed their deep gratitude for their recognition and ability to help keep Stonewall afloat during the height of the pandemic.

“I always get a little bit emotional when I am at Stonewall because I tend to think of all the shoulders of giants that we stand on, some we know the names [of] and many we don’t,” said Miller after receiving the award. “It is always good to come home to Stonewall.”