• Brooklyn Owen

Seth Owen to Receive "Spirit of Matthew" Award

Matthew Shepard Foundation to Honor Inspiring Youth Ambassador Seth Owen

2019 ‘Spirit of Matthew’ Award Winner


October 8, 2019

Denver, CO – The Matthew Shepard Foundation will present Florida teen, Seth Owen, with the ‘Spirit of Matthew’ Award at the 2019 Bear to Make a Difference Gala on Saturday, October 26th at the Hilton Denver City Center. The annual fundraiser brings together supporters, advocates, community members, civic leaders and corporate partners to honor individuals who have made a significant impact in the Foundation’s efforts to replace hate with understanding, compassion and acceptance.

Thrust into the national limelight after his story about the challenges he faced as a young gay man went viral, Seth has not only courageously shared his experience of trial to triumph but is now paying it forward. After being accepted to Georgetown University, Seth’s dream of college was almost cut short due to his religiously-devout parents forcing him to move out of the family home and resulting in no way for him to pay for college. Until a former teacher stepped in and started a GoFundMe campaign which eventually closed off at over $141,000 (including a $25,000 donation from the Ellen DeGeneres Show).

The funds more than covered Seth’s tuition, so he decided to use the extra money to start Unbroken Horizons, an inclusive scholarship foundation that aims to tackle inequity in education, beginning by offering scholarships to LGBTQ+ youth of color. Today, Seth is an undergraduate student at Georgetown University, in addition to a Youth Ambassador for the Human Rights Campaign and congressional intern for Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy.

“My hope is to inspire others with my story and, through the Unbroken Horizons Scholarship Foundation, continue providing support to other disadvantaged queer youth who are facing seemingly insurmountable obstacles,” added Seth. “I am so grateful to the Matthew Shepard Foundation for all of its work making the world a better, more just place for the LGBTQ+ community, and look forward to working together in the future advocating for full equality and protections.”

This year’s gala, sponsored by MillerCoors, State Farm and Spectrum, will also feature the following honorees in attendance: former United States Attorney General Eric H. Holder, actress and activist Samira Wiley, and local community leaders David Westman & Anthony Aragon.

For tickets and additional event information, visit To confirm media credentials, please contact Dana Juniel at or 720.771.7179.

About the Matthew Shepard Foundation

The Matthew Shepard Foundation’s mission is to amplify the story of Matthew Shepard to inspire individuals, organizations and communities to embrace the dignity and equality of all

people. Through local, regional and national outreach, we empower individuals to find their voice to create change and challenge communities to identify and address hate that lives within their schools, neighborhoods and homes.

Our work is an extension of Matt’s passion to foster a more caring and just world. We share his story and embody his vigor for civil rights to change the hearts and minds of others to accept everyone as they are.

To schedule an interview with an MSF representative, contact Dana Juniel at or call 720.771.7179. For additional information about the Matthew Shepard Foundation, visit or contact us at 303.830.7400.


40 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Back In the Closet

*Trigger Warning* This brave post from one of our scholarship recipients contains language that may be triggering to some. We applaud them for their courage to share. Please use discretion. We encoura