Jesse Tyler Ferguson to Be Honored at Los Angeles LGBT Center's Vanguard Awards (Exclusive)

Jesse Tyler Ferguson Getty H 2016
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Jesse Tyler Ferguson Getty H 2016

The 'Modern Family' star will be joined by husband Justin Mikita and Olympian Amini Fonua as this year's honorees.

The Los Angeles LGBT Center, which provides programs and services to the LGBT community, will honor Modern Family's Jesse Tyler Ferguson, along with husband Justin Mikita, at its 47th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards on Sept. 24 at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood.

Five-time Emmy nominee Ferguson and Mikita are longtime proponents of LGBT rights, founding Tie the Knot, an organization that sells limited-edition bow ties, in 2012 to help benefit organizations that support equality throughout the world and which has raised more than $500,000 since its inception. 

Mikita also is co-founder of bedding company Thread Experiment, which donates high-quality linens for the homeless youth who sleep on the Center’s 50 beds, and is one of the top 50 fundraisers on this year’s AIDS/LifeCycle benefit for the Center and SF AIDS Foundation.

Founded in 1969, the Los Angeles LGBT Center has championed LGBT individuals by providing services such as housing, education and more. The Gala is an opportunity for musicians, athletes, actors and supporters to raise awareness for the center.

Tongan Olympian Amini Fonua, who is the first swimmer from Tonga to ever win a gold medal in international competition, also will be presented an award by Olympic gold medalist and LGBT rights champion Greg Louganis. Fonua, hailing from a country where it is technically illegal to be gay, was one of just 11 openly gay athletes at this year's Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and has helped raise thousands of dollars for the LGBT Center. 

Past honorees include Miley Cyrus — who auctioned off a piano she licked for $50,000 last year — Elton John, Neil Patrick Harris and husband David Burtka, George Takei, Wanda Sykes and Lily Tomlin.  

The event will be hosted by HBO, which provided the venue at the Pacific Design Center that the network uses for its annual Emmy party, and will feature appetizers, dinner and dessert provided by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck. Mo Gaffney and Kathy Najimy will perform.

A silent auction also will be held at the event, which is expected to host more than 1,200 attendees. One hundred percent of the auction's sales will be donated to support the center's programs.

In addition to the Gala on Saturday, Sept. 24, the LGBT Center also will hold a launch party on the prior Friday night at Hamilton-Selway Fine Art as well as a Sunday brunch at The Abbey in West Hollywood.