Press Release

The Gordon Parks Foundation Announces 14th Annual Awards Dinner & Auction on May 28

New York City, NY
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2020 Event Honors Virgil Abloh, Mark Bradford, Laurene Powell Jobs, and Darren Walker, Continuing the Legacy of Artist and Humanitarian Gordon Parks

The Gordon Parks Foundation today announced its 2020 Annual Awards Dinner and Auction, celebrating Gordon Parks’ legacy and honoring those who continue his vision for social change through their work in the arts and humanitarianism. Taking place on Thursday, May 28 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York, the event will honor fashion designer Virgil Abloh, artist Mark Bradford, Emerson Collective Founder and President Laurene Powell Jobs, and Ford Foundation President Darren Walker. The evening is co-chaired by Kathryn and Kenneth Chenault, Alicia Keys and Kasseem Dean, Agnes Gund, Judy and Leonard Lauder, Carol Sutton Lewis and William M. Lewis, Jr., Ronald O. Perelman, and Alexander Soros. The gala will include a live auction of a selection of Gordon Parks photographs, and all proceeds from the evening will support the Foundation’s year-round artistic and educational programs.

“The Foundation is delighted to honor these change-makers who support and carry on Gordon Parks’ vision and legacy as a force for social justice and the arts,” said Peter W. Kunhardt, Jr., Executive Director of The Gordon Parks Foundation. “We look forward to bringing together artists, creatives, business leaders, and philanthropists to honor their contributions and to support the Foundation’s ongoing educational and artistic programs.”

The Gordon Parks Foundation Annual Awards Dinner and Auction raises funds for The Gordon Parks Arts and Social Justice Fund, which supports the important and ongoing work of the Foundation in providing scholarships and fellowships to students and artists whose creative work reflects the mission and vision of Gordon Parks, in addition to the Foundation’s other year-round educational programming.

Tickets are available starting at $1,250. To purchase tickets, visit the Gordon Parks Foundation website, or contact Buckley Hall Events at or 914-579-1000.


Virgil Abloh is an artist, architect, engineer, creative director, and fashion designer. After earning a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he completed a master’s degree in architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago. At IIT, while studying a design curriculum devised by Mies van der Rohe, Abloh began to craft the principles of his art practice. The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presented a major traveling survey of Abloh’s work in summer 2019—one of the highest attended exhibitions in the museum’s history. Currently, Abloh is the Chief Creative Director and founder of Off-White™ and Men’s Artistic Director at Louis Vuitton.

Mark Bradford is an American artist living and working in his native Los Angeles, best known for his large-scale abstract paintings, sculptures, and installations. From a young age, Bradford found outlets for his creativity while working in his mother’s beauty salon and in the nightclubs he would visit as a teenager. His rigorous studio practice has created some of the most iconic artworks of his generation, and his work has been included in exhibitions in prestigious museums and major contemporary art surveys worldwide, including his representation of the United States at the Venice Biennale in 2017. Throughout his career, Bradford has also maintained a consistent social engagement practice alongside his art practice that is redefining what it means to be an artist in the 21st century.

Laurene Powell Jobs is founder and president of Emerson Collective, which uses philanthropy, impact investing, and promoting policy solutions towards initiatives such as advancing immigration policies, preserving the environment, re-envisioning the future of high school, and ending gun violence in Chicago. Powell Jobs serves as board chair of The XQ Institute and College Track, a college completion program she founded in 1997 to combat the alarming achievement gap among students of color. She also serves on the Stanford University Board of Trustees and the boards of Chicago CRED, Conservation International, and The Council on Foreign Relations. She is co-owner of The Atlantic, Anonymous Content, and Concordia Studio, and an investor in Monumental Sports & Entertainment. Powell Jobs earned her bachelor's degree in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.

Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $13 billion social justice philanthropy with offices in the U.S. and ten global regions. For two decades, he has been a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. Darren led the philanthropy committee that helped bring a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy, and chairs the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. He serves on the boards of Carnegie Hall, the High Line, VOW to End Child Marriage, Committee to Protect Journalists, National Gallery of Art, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and received his bachelor’s and law degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. He has been on Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People in the World.


The Gordon Parks Foundation supports and produces artistic and educational initiatives that advance the legacy and vision of Gordon Parks—recognized as the most significant African American photographer of the 20th century, as well as a writer, musician, and filmmaker, who used the arts to further “the common search for a better life and a better world.”

Through exhibitions, publications, and public programs organized in collaboration with national and international institutions at its exhibition space in Pleasantville, New York, the Foundation provides access to, and supports understanding of, the work and contributions of Gordon Parks for artists, scholars, students, and the public. Through its year-round educational programming and annual grant-making initiatives, the Foundation champions current and future generations of artists and humanitarians whose work carries on Parks’ legacy.


Gordon Parks, one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century, was a humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice. He left behind an exceptional body of work that documents American life and culture from the early 1940s into the 2000s, with a focus on race relations, poverty, civil rights, and urban life. Parks was also a distinguished composer, author, and the first African American filmmaker to helm a studio film. His celebrated artistic work includes photographs taken for the Farm Security Administration (FSA), the Office of War Information (OWI), Life, Glamour, and Ebony, as well as his literary work, including the novel The Learning Tree, which he adapted, directed, and scored as a film, and his direction of the feature film Shaft (1971). Parks’ work is held in the permanent collections of major museums across the United States.

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