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December 01, 2023

Point Foundation - The National LGBTQ Scholarship Fund

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2023 in Review

December 01, 2023
Point Foundation - The National LGBTQ Scholarship Fund

Point Foundation, our scholars and our alumni accomplished a lot in 2023 . Our community remains resilient: pushing the margins for acceptance; winning lawsuits, awards, and recognition; and providing support for LGBTQ college students. We are incredibly #PointProud of our work and the work of our community members this year and are excited to share a few of the highlights here! 

In January, Point Alum Andreas Copes was featured in the New York Times for their article, “Defining Nonbinary Work Wear.” “Feeling liberated in the way that you present is just so important because it will also reflect how your mood is, whether you’re dragging yourself to work or you’re showing up as 100% yourself and you love it,” Andreas said. 

In February, as part of our ongoing research partnership with the Williams Institute at UCLA, Point published “Educational Experiences of LGBTQ People of Color.” This research shows LGBTQ people of color are twice as likely as their peers to face educational barriers and three times as likely to receive unfair treatment at school. During the 2023-2024 academic year, 88% of Point Scholars are people of color.  

Point Alum Brennan Peters wrote and produced The Power which premiered on March 31. Reflecting on her work in the film industry, Brennan shared that she is still fighting to share the stories of women and femmes in the LGBTQ community on screen. 

“The question isn't just on-screen representation, because there has been progress made there… I still have a lot of questions and a lot of concern around who is being allowed to tell those stories… there's a lot of progress that needs to happen there,” Brennan said. 

In May, Point celebrated the 100+ Point Scholars who graduated and joined our alumni network—now over 800 Point Alumni strong. While celebrating our recent grads, Point also announced our largest class ever —575 Point Scholars will be supported throughout the 2023-2024 academic year! 

June saw three Supreme Court decisions that directly impact Point Scholars—the end of affirmative action, President Biden’s college debt forgiveness plan was ruled unconstitutional, and anti-LGBTQ discrimination was made legal in US businesses. Read our statement on the Supreme Court decisions here.  We followed this up with a summary of all “2023 Anti-LGBTQ Laws in the Classroom” in July. Point Scholars across the country share their perspectives on these laws in our recent Out in Higher Education Week panel.  

During the summer, many Point Scholars and Alumni announced they were selected for multiple prestigious fellowships! Point Flagship Scholar Jenna Smith was named an inaugural VV Visionaries Fellow for her work with the LGBT History Project. A junior at Duke University, Jenna has done extensive research into the marginalized voices within LGBTQ history, which she hopes to spotlight through this crowdsourced history platform.  

Point Community College Alum Pau Brunet-Fuertes became the second Point Scholar to be named a Voyager Scholar as a junior at the University of Southern California. The Voyager Scholarship, also known as the Obama-Chesky Scholarship for Public Service, provides funding for rising juniors to do a study abroad rooted in learning more about serving in and building community. Last year, Point Flagship Scholar Chase Breaux was named an inaugural Voyager Scholar as a rising junior at Wabash College. Chase spent the 2022-2023 academic year studying abroad in the Netherlands, studying alternatives to mass incarceration.  

Point Alum Alexia Leclercq also continued a legacy when she was named to the 2023 cohort of the Grist 50, a list of 50 climate leaders focused on finding solutions to environmental issues. Alexia was named to the list for her work with Start: Empowerment, which focuses on providing environmental justice curriculum to elementary and secondary classrooms. Last year, Point Alum Shayle Matsuda was named to the 2022 cohort of the Grist 50 for his work on helping coral reefs survive climate change as a postdoc at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.    

In September, Point leadership took to national publications to share their insight into what LGBTQ college students need from their communities right now. Chief Program Officer Dr. Margaux Cowden published an op-ed in Inside Higher Ed entitled “Anti-LGBTQ Policies Make Higher Ed Less Safe.” She not only shared her research and opinions on the issues, but also shared practical steps colleges can take to embrace and protect LGBTQ students. In The Advocate, Executive Director and CEO Jorge Valencia shared “My Journey as a Gay Latino Mormon from South Texas,” and used his own journey as a call to protect Latine LGBTQ individuals and communities.  

Point Flagship Scholar Jahn Jaramillo won the National Institutes for Health’s competitive Diversity Fellowship Grant for his work as a PhD student in public health at the University of Miami. Jahn announced the award in October and said that he will use the grant to adapt proven intervention methods for HIV in GBTQ communities to the Latine communities of South Florida. Jahn said many of these communities lack resources because they are new immigrants to the United States and understand limited English.  

In November, Point Alum Julian Breece premiered his new film Rustin, a biopic of the Black, gay civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King. This film is the result of a ten-year journey for Julian, some of which he spent convincing co-writer Dustin Lance Black to take a chance on Julian and Rustin’s story. Dustin Lance Black won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay in 2009 for Milk. You can watch Rustin on Netflix.  

This year in review includes only a few of the many defining moments for the Point community this year. We are so grateful to each one of our individual supporters and corporate partners who made so much of this success possible and who continue to root for Point Scholars long after graduation. Here’s hope 2024 is filled with even more success and achievement! 

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