Photo via TOFA Facebook page
By Yeun Grace Shin, AsAmNews Staff Writer
The Outstanding Filipinos in America (TOFA) Awards will mark its 10th anniversary by commemorating 100 most influential Filipinos in America that made groundbreaking contributions over the past decade.
TOFA, founded by Elton Lugay, is an awards event that has been held annually in New York since 2011. Lugay told AsAmNews in an interview that he started organizing the event to showcase the achievements of remarkable Filipino Americans.
“In late 2010, a group of community friends gathered together upon my invitation to help organize an awards event at Carnegie Hall,” Lugay explained.
“I wanted to give outstanding Filipino Americans a platform to showcase their achievements and celebrate their success stories in America. Not only would it help raise the profile of Filipinos in America, the youth could also have good reference points for success in any field.”
Lugay said the awards ceremony is “held every last Saturday of October to culminate the celebration of Filipino American History Month.” Anyone who “raises the profile and presence” of Filipinos in American can qualify for a TOFA award.
The awards honor Filipino Americans that have championed a better future in America’s culture, politics, entertainment, education and media. This year the legendary Senator Manny Pacquiao, Lea Salonga, Martin Nievera, Josie Natori, Patrick Starr and many more will receive awards.
Brendan G Flores also made it to TOFA’s list. He is known as the first millennial and youngest-ever leader of the National Federation of Filipino American Associations (NaFFAA). Goodnewspilipinas described NaFFAA as the “largest national affiliation of Filipino American institutions, organizations and individuals”.
When asked how he felt after being nominated for a TOFA Award, Flores told AsAmNews he was “more embarrassed than anything.”
“The thought had never crossed my mind that I could be an awardee,” Flores said. “The successes of my life have always been the result of team efforts with team accolades. I am truly blessed to be recognized alongside so many notable members of our community.”
While the TOFA Awards have always been held in Carnegie Hall, this year the celebration will be held online due to COVID-19.
The awards ceremony will be held on October 31st via Facebook and YouTube premiere. Dr. Boy Abunda, also known as Asia’s King of Talk, will serve as the master of ceremonies. Lugay told AsAmNews that Kamala Harris has also been invited to be the keynote speaker at the event.
Lugay and Flores hopes the awards encourage Filipino youth.
“Go after what you’re passionate about, and live a purposeful life,” Flores said. “Make history and write your stories.”
Lugay encouraged young people should work hard and be active in their computer.
“Always strive for excellence. Work hard and never be complacent. Be active in your community so as to ensure a better tomorrow.”
For more information about the awards visit: https://www.facebook.com/TOFAINY/.
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