News Stories

Tony Plakas, One Of The First Bohnett Harvard Fellows, to Receive Harvey Milk Foundation Diversity Honors Award

Fort Lauderdale, FL — Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program graduate, Tony Plakas, one of the First Bohnett Harvard Fellows and Compass Community Center CEO, to receive Harvey Milk Foundation Diversity Honors Award in recognition of his 20 years of service to Florida’s LGBT Community.

The Third Annual Diversity Honors, presented by the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, will occur on Saturday, May 6th in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The evening will commence with a lively cocktail reception and silent auction. A seated three-course dinner will be followed by a memorable awards presentation hosted by Craig Steves, WSVN evening news anchor. The charitable evening will culminate with an after-party, also to take place at Hard Rock Live.

This collaborative effort between The Harvey Milk Foundation and the Pride Center at Equality Park, along with generous support from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, has put South Florida on the international stage of LGBTQ rights and activism in honor of Harvey Milk, one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States who was assassinated shortly after winning a seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the election of Harvey Milk to public office.

Compass’s CEO, Tony Plakas, is celebrating his 20th year with Compass Community Center, and will receive the Harvey Milk Foundation Diversity Honors Award on Saturday, May 6th. Tickets are $200 per person for the black-tie optional event. To reserve tickets or for more information, please visit

Compass will celebrate Mr. Plakas’ 20th anniversary with a luncheon and reception to be hosted on May 19th. For more information, please contact

About Tony Plakas

Tony Plakas left Washington, DC in 1997, where he worked as a Reference Specialist for the Center’s for Disease Control’s National AIDS Clearinghouse, to join Compass’ fight against HIV transmission in South Florida. As Compass’ HIV Prevention Director, he represented Palm Beach County and Florida as the Chair of the HIV/AIDS Community Planning Partnership and as a member of the HIV/AIDS Florida Community Planning Group.

In 1999, Tony was named Executive Director of Compass Community Center. Under Tony’s leadership Compass has grown into one of the largest and most respected LGBT Centers of its kind in the nation. Funded by a growing number of federal, state and local government partnerships, contributions from generous individuals, and support from private foundations, Compass provides HIV Services, Youth programming, and community outreach services for nearly 30,000 people annually. Additionally, Tony served four years as a national trainer for the Gill Foundation’s LGBT Community Center and Democracy Project initiatives.

In 2003, at the age of 30, Tony received a full scholarship and became one of the youngest graduates of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government’s Senior Executives in State and Local Government program. His weekly columns, which touched on an array of progressive social justice issues impacting LGBT persons locally and nationwide, were published as part of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s editorial page for more than a decade.

This year Tony celebrates his 20th year with Compass Community Center, along with his 20th anniversary with his spouse Jamie Todd Foreman Plakas, who he met while conducting HIV prevention outreach. Tony and Jamie reside in Lake Worth, FL with their Puggle, Bodhi, and Tony’s extensive assortment of Green Lantern collectables.

About The Harvey Milk Foundation

The Harvey Milk Foundation is a global non-profit NGO that promotes Harvey Milk’s inspiring legacy through human rights education and global outreach. In 1977, Harvey Milk (1930-1978) became the first openly LGBT elected official to a major office in the United States. He was assassinated in San Francisco’s City Hall 11 months later. The all-volunteer run foundation was founded by Harvey’s nephew, Stuart Milk, and Anne Kronenberg, Harvey’s campaign manager and political aide. Today, the Harvey Milk Foundation provides on-the-ground support and award-winning programing to struggling and emerging LGBT communities on 5 continents with over four dozen dedicated volunteer leaders and long term partnerships in 31 nations. For more information, please visit