Julie Bowen, Producer Nina Jacobson Honored at Inspiration Awards

Julie Bowen

"I read the Walt dying episode where Claire keeps smiling every time she tells somebody Walt is dead, and I thought, "That is so freaking funny, but there's no way I can do this."

Designer Trina Turk was also feted at the luncheon, which raised an estimated $400,000 for Step Up Women’s Network after-school programs that mentor teen girls from under-resourced communities.

Modern Family's Julie Bowen, designer Trina Turk and Color Force producer Nina Jacobson were honored at the 10th Annual Inspiration Awards at the Beverly Hilton Friday.

The awards honor women who embody the mission of Step Up, a non-profit organization created to empower teen girls to be “confident, college bound and career-ready.” Step Up is now in its 15th year.

Friday’s event included a red carpet reception, luncheon, luxury handbag and jewelry silent auction and an awards program.

Bowen’s Modern Family daughter Ariel Winter presented her with the Inspiration Award, calling her a hero. Carrie Fisher served as Jacobson’s on-stage presenter and had the packed ballroom erupting with laughter with her remarks that sarcastically “paralleled” their careers.

PHOTOS: 'Modern Family' Stars Pick Their Favorite Episodes

During Turk’s speech, she reminisced about starting her business 18 years ago in her home.

“The world would be better if women ran the show, but I learned that you can't do anything by yourself! Women need to help other women,” she said.

Current and past students of the Step Up organization gathered on stage to share the impact of the organization on each of their lives. The 2013 Step Up Teen Honoree -- Angie -- spoke of living in Compton and having to share one bed with her parents. Her touching speech moved the audience of more than 800.

“Step Up was the support system I needed, just when I needed support,” she told the audience. The high school senior plans to attend California State University, Northridge in the fall. 

For three straight years, 100 percent of Step Up seniors have graduated from high school and have been accepted to college. Many of them will be the first in their families to pursue higher education.

Additional attendees included actresses Marcia Gay Harden, Jurnee Smollett, Anne Heche, writer Tracy McMillan and past honorees Keli Lee, Sonya Rosenfield, Louise Ward and Adrianna Alberghetti. An estimated $400,000 was raised.