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PowerOn's Third Annual Awards Ceremony celebrates program participants and LGBTQ+ advocates

On the evening of Thursday, September 30, 2021 PowerOn held its third annual PowerOn Awards Ceremony. To continue to promote safety in a time of uncertainty during the pandemic, the event was held virtually and streamed live to YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. The event recognized accomplishments of program participants utilizing granted technology to achieve their goals, and honored program supporters and advocates for the LGBTQ+ community in the tech space and beyond.

The event shared notable program statistics from the past year including:

  • PowerOn now works with 54 partner LGBTQ+ centers throughout the U.S.

  • PowerOn has distributed more than $47,000 worth of technology so far in 2021

  • Based on center-submitted data, PowerOn served approximately 8,000 individuals in 2020 through in-center tech devices

"PowerOn is proud to play a small role in the success of these individuals, but we want to emphasize that we are just one small piece of the puzzle, a missing link between these high-achieving individuals and their goals," said Ellie Bessette, Director of Programs for LGBT Tech.

More statistics about PowerOn's 2020 reach can be found in the recently released 2020 Impact Report.

PowerOn team members also provided updates on other programmatic and policy work, such as the Emergency Broadband Benefit, encryption, and Section 230.

In addition, PowerOn announced the launch of its new PATHS program, designed to to inspire and motivate LGBTQ+ youth and young adults with passions in the STEAM field, by creating visibility of current LGBTQ+ STEAM professionals through storytelling.

The evening culminated in the presentation of the awards.

The Visionary Award, honoring an individual or individuals whose work has empowered LGBTQ+ individuals to achieve success through technology and the internet, was presented to Scott Sapperstein, Assistant Vice President Public Affairs at AT&T.

The Change Agent Award, honoring an individual in public service or social justice whose significant contributions to connectivity have helped support underserved populations, including the LGBTQ+ community, was presented to Denise Spivak, CEO of CenterLink.

The Superstar Center Award, honoring a PowerOn partner center or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the program and to the community the organization serves, was presented to Waves Ahead of San Juan, PR.

The Role Model Award, honoring a youth or young adult who set the bar for themselves and their peers while participating in the PowerOn Program, was presented to Danny Flores of Harriet Hancock LGBT Center in Columbia, SC, with a runner up award presented to Destiney Lashay of OUTMemphis, Memphis, TN.

The Trailblazer Award, honoring an adult who has taken full advantage of the opportunities provided by access to technology, was presented to Douglas Brown of Waves Ahead, with a runner up award presented to Shanteria Smith of OUTMemphis, Memphis, TN.

The PowerOn team would like to thank our generous event sponsors.

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