Modern Family star Jesse Tyler Ferguson thinks limited-edition bow ties and scarves make excellent gifts forthe holidays—especially when a big chunk of the proceeds go to the Los Angeles LGBT Center along with other LGBTQ organizations.
Tie The Knot, a nonprofit company founded by Ferguson and husband Justin Mikita, has raised more than $1 million in the past six years. A recent $10,000 donation to the Center made it possible for LGBT youth to attend the Center’s 49th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards.
“The Center is amazing,” Ferguson says. “I was able to tour the space with Justin a few years ago. It’s one thing to be aware of the Center and go to the galas and get dressed up. But to actually go and see all the great work that is done and the amazing infrastructure of the space is really inspiring. It just brings another level of commitment on my part to want to do everything I can for the Center because it really is vital.”
This holiday season, Tie The Knot will be contributing to the Center and others with proceeds from the sales of its usual array of ties, cufflinks, lapel pins, and socks. But the company has also introduced its first collection of scarves which consists of six limited edition designs. All of the items are available exclusively at The Tie Bar.
“I love giving Tie The Knot gifts for the holidays,” Ferguson says. “It’s fun to get dressed up for the holidays. Who doesn’t want a cute bow tie for a Christmas party? You can get a few for your friends and a few for yourself as well.”
The couple launched the company in 2012 to raise money in the fight for marriage equality across the U.S. Once same-sex marriage became legal in all 50 states in 2015, the charity expanded its focus to overall anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
“We worked really hard for marriage equality,” the Emmy-nominated actor says. “But there’s still so many places in this country where you can be married on a Friday and fired from your job on a Monday just for marrying the person that you love. So we kept the initial mission statement and expanded on it to continue raising funds, to continue making the product that we love making, and also to do it under this umbrella of light-heartedness.”
The couple was honored at the Center’s 47th Anniversary Gala Vanguard Awards for their activism in 2016, three years after they were married.
Mikita, an attorney and longtime LGBTQ activist, is co-founder of a bedding company (Thread Experiment) that donates high-quality linens for the homeless youth who sleep on the Center’s more than 60 beds. He has also been one of the top 50 fundraisers for AIDS/LifeCycle, which benefits the Center and San Francisco AIDS Foundation.
“I’m definitely influenced by Justin’s passion for activism,” Ferguson says. “He’s introduced me to a lot of people who have inspired me who I probably wouldn’t have met otherwise. I look to him for which direction we should be moving. He’s definitely the brains of the operation.”
When it comes to advocacy, Tie The Knot has been a perfect fit for Ferguson, who is currently in his 10th season portraying openly gay lawyer Mitchell Pritchett on ABC’s Modern Family.
“I’ve never been one to grab a bullhorn and get onto the steps of city hall,” he says. “I’ve always done things with sort of a lighter touch. That’s just what feels organic to me.”