The National LGBTQ Task Force is proud to present the 2017 National Leadership Award to Grammy award-winning singer, actress, songwriter, author, philanthropist and humanitarian Gloria Estefan.
Born in Cuba, Gloria and her family were forced to flee the island following Fidel Castro’s 1959 coup. In 1975, living in Miami, she joined a local wedding band headed by keyboardist Emilio Estefan, and Miami Sound Machine was born. The group’s unique fusion of pop, disco, and salsa earned them a devoted local following. In 1985, their hit “Conga” took the world by storm, and since then Estefan has sold over 100 million records worldwide.
Gloria’s many accolades include seven Grammy Awards, an Oscar nomination for the song “Music of My Heart,” a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, an American Music Award for Lifetime Achievement, an induction into the Latin Songwriters Hall of Fame, an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and a National Artistic Achievement Award from the US Congress. In 2015 President Obama presented Gloria & Emilio Estefan with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor. Later this year Gloria will be honored by the Kennedy Center.
Most recently Gloria and Emilio directed their talents to creating and producing ON YOUR FEET!, a musical based on their incredible lives. Since opening, the production has received rave critical reviews and nominations for Tony Awards, Outer Critics Circle Awards and Drama League Awards. After a successful two-year run on Broadway, ON YOUR FEET! is now on its national tour.
Throughout her career Gloria has championed a host of issues and demonstrated strong compassion for those who have suffered from discrimination, economic disparity, natural disasters and more. Gloria’s vocal support of marriage equality, her partnership with the It Gets Better campaign, and her recent film, A Change of Heart, has helped raise awareness for the LGBTQ community on a tremendous scale. She established the Gloria Estefan Foundation to support charitable programs for disadvantaged children and empower young people through education and opportunity. The Foundation also supports spinal cord research through the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis.
The National LGBTQ Task Force is honored to present the 2017 Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award to longtime South Florida activists and philanthropists Alberto Arias and Wood Kinnard. “For more than three decades, Alberto and Wood have volunteered countless hours and have made numerous generous donations to nonprofit organizations working to secure full freedom, justice, equality and equity for LGBTQ people,” said Rea Carey, National LGBTQ Task Force Executive Director. “Their love, compassion, and dedication to creating a better world for LGBTQ people is truly inspiring.”
Wood served on the Human Rights Campaign’s Board of Governors for three years, has provided pro bono services to Legal Aid of Palm Beach in the Ryan White HIV division, and chaired the 2013 Outshine Film Festival. At Care Resource, South Florida’s oldest and largest HIV/AIDS service organization formerly known as the Health Crisis Network, Alberto served as an employee, volunteer, and board member.
Alberto and Wood are patrons of the arts and a range of social-service and social-justice organizations including the National LGBTQ Task Force, SAVE, Pridelines Youth Services, Gay8 Festival, and Voices of Pride: The Gay Men’s Chorus of the Palm Beaches, among many others beyond the LGBTQ community. The couple married in California in 2008, are parents to Wood’s two children from a prior marriage and grandfathers to two young children.