A Letter from the President…

A big and heartfelt THANK YOU to all those who attended, or in other ways supported, An Evening with Judy Shepard! 

The evening was magical, and many personal thanks are due to many people for their efforts and support of the Jim Toy Community Center’s first event.  The Board is grateful for all of the positive comments from attendees and we wish to humbly thank all of the volunteers who made the magic happen.  The evening was a huge, HUGE success!  Huge kudos go out to those at Out for Business and Spectrum Center of the U of M for collaborating with JTCC on this event, as well as our Co-Sponsors, auction donors, and Honorary Chairs.

We have made new friends and renewed friendships in the community.  We look forward to these friendships growing!

The focus of the evening was touching to everyone, as we all are someone’s child,  and some of us have children.  Judy Shepard is a phenomenal human being.  Having suffered the greatest loss any mother could bear  -the loss of her son Matthew -she has not shied away from life due to the tragedy.  She has instead chosen to fight back against hate and intolerance.


Judy has dedicated her life to this fight, and eloquently brought her message to Ann Arbor, stating to the audience at the dinner event “This is what happens when you piss off someone’s mother!”  It is for this dedication that Judy was presented with the first Jim Toy Lifetime Achievement Award. 

During the evening University of Michigan’s recent student body president Chris Armstrong was also presented with an award from the Jim Toy Community Center for exhibiting unparalleled leadership, humility, patience and grace under pressure during his tenure as the first openly gay leader of the student group, experiencing homophobic assault while under the intrusive and relentless scrutiny of news organizations and television.


Our biggest thanks go to Judy Shepard and Chris Armstrong for appearing, sharing their stories and inspiring us, and to Miller-Coors for their unfailing support of Judy, the Matthew Shepard Foundation, and the Jim Toy Community Center!

Linda Lombardini, President

Jim Toy Community Center Board of Directors.

For more on the evening, go to:


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