BY Advocate Contributors

September 28 2009 6:25 PM ET

LILY TOMLIN CHERRY JONES POINT FOUNDATION X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

The red-carpet gala -- also attended by actors Swoosie Kurtz, Michael Emerson (Lost), Carrie Preston (True Blood), and Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) -- gave Jones a chance to meet Point Scholars, who shared their stories
with some 350 attendees about how Point changed their lives.

“Each
of their stories is so compelling and so charismatic,” says Jones.
“They must have such will and such a responsibility to have made it
this far as students and as scholars. I can’t wait to meet them … I’m
dying to meet a scholar.”

Actress Lily Tomlin presented Jones
with her award, and as it turns out, the two have a long history.





“When
I was 19 years old [Tomlin] did a concert near my college in Pittsburgh -- this was in about 1977,” says Jones. “She was hosting a fund-raiser
for the defense fund for a known lesbian on the faculty of the
University of Pittsburgh who was being denied tenure because of her
sexuality.”

Jones says she and some friends buddied up with
Tomlin’s tour manager to meet Tomlin after the show.

“We took her to a
park, and we played in the snow till about 1:30 in the morning,” says
Jones. “It was 15 degrees outside; there was about a foot of snow … We
had the best time in the world. And I never saw her again until she
came into my dressing room after a play I was doing in New York.”

Through
auctions and donations, the Point Honors Benefit raised close to
$300,000 for the foundation. Also during the ceremony, Motorola
received the Point Inspiration Award for their corporate inclusion of LGBT people.



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