The Matthew Shepard Foundation will hold its annual Bear to Make a Difference gala October 26. Those not attending can still contribute to the non-profit’s mission to “erase hate” by bidding in the online auction.
Among the available lots are a bevy of stuffed bears signed by LGBTQ+ celebrities and allies, including Tony Award winners Audra McDonald, Judith Light, Ben Platt, and Whoopi Goldberg. Additional figures to offer their signature to the cause are Meryl Streep, Carly Rae Jepsen, Gus Kenworthy, the Jonas Brothers, Kamala Harris, and Shawn Mendes.
To see and bid on the full list of auction offerings, click here. Bidding is open through October 26 at 10:45 EST.
The Foundation is named in memory of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who, in 1998, was murdered in Laramie, Wyoming. Formed by his parents Dennis and Judy, the organization aims to empower individuals and urge communities to address hate and violence in schools and neighborhoods. The 2019 gala also commemorates the 10th anniversary of the signing of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.