Sep 14, 2017 04:00 pm
In a surprise appearance at Oceana’s New York Gala last night, former president Bill Clinton presented actor and Oceana board member Ted Danson with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his three decades of ocean advocacy.
“The real reason you’re giving Ted Danson this award tonight is that for more than 30 years he has been at this cause,” President Clinton said. He also spoke about the need to protect ocean ecosystems from the threat of climate change and discussed how healthy, sustainable fisheries can help feed the world’s population.
Ted Danson thanked President Clinton and the assembled crowd for his award. “I kept showing up,” he said. “Everything else was the people around me.”
“This life is not about you or about us,” Danson said. “It’s about stewardship of what we’ve been given. I think about my children not being able to experience what I have and what we have. That’s one of the reasons why I’m still here.”
The annual New York Gala dinner for Oceana was hosted by Susan and David Rockefeller, Violaine and John Bernbach, and Loic Gouzer.
“I am so grateful to see so many important ocean advocates and supporters here tonight,” Susan Rockefeller said. “This is a critical time for our oceans, and we need all of your help. Without you – all of you who support our work – we cannot win the victories that must be won. Thank you all so much for coming here tonight to support Oceana and our oceans.”
This year’s Gala was held at the legendary Blue Hill at Stone Barns and featured an extraordinary culinary experience that highlighted sustainability on land and sea. Guests enjoyed a beautiful cocktail reception and inventive hors d’oeuvres followed by a gourmet dinner presented by chef Dan Barber of Blue Hill.
Award-winning actor Sam Waterston served as the master of ceremonies. Also honored was Kelly Hallman, founder of the Living Peace Foundation. Notable attendees included Susan and David Rockefeller, Adrian Grenier, Lyor Cohen, Xin Li, Loic Gouzer, model Abbey Lee, Leslie Zemeckis, Kara Ross, Julie Gilhart, Katherine Farley, and Khaled and Olfat Juffali. Musical guest Cobi performed.
Sep 14, 2017 01:30 pm
The Farrah Fawcett Foundation (FFF) held its highly-anticipated fundraising event, Tex-Mex Fiesta, on Saturday, September 9, at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills.
Tex-Mex Fiesta was first held in 2015, and has raised close to $1 million to date, with proceeds benefitting Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). Award-winning restaurant El Cholo catered the fiesta-style event, a theme inspired by the late Farrah Fawcett and her home state of Texas. Proceeds from this year’s Tex-Mex Fiesta once again benefited Stand Up To Cancer.
Farrah Fawcett established the Farrah Fawcett Foundation in 2007 shortly after her own cancer diagnosis, with the goal of finding a cure by supporting cutting-edge research. Since Fawcett’s passing in 2009 from anal cancer, the Foundation’s President and CEO Alana Stewart has fought to carry out Farrah’s wishes. Anal cancer is caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) in up to ninety percent of cases. In 2013, The Farrah Fawcett Foundation joined forces with Stand Up To Cancer to create the SU2C-FFF Translational Research Team for HPV-related cancers, headed by Dr. Ellis Reinherz and Dr. Robert Haddad at Dana Farber in Boston. The Team is now conducting a clinical trial with a therapeutic vaccine for those patients that have no other treatment options. The FFF is also committed to creating patient assistance funds, and supports prevention and awareness programs.
FFF President and CEO Alana Stewart welcomed guests to the 2017 Tex-Mex Fiesta with a special tribute video, asking guests to take a moment to remember the organization’s founder and namesake, Farrah Fawcett. Guests then turned their attention to the screens to watch a moving video tribute to Fawcett. Stewart spoke of Fawcett’s courage and spirit, emphasizing that “cancer could never beat her.” She also took the time to thank many of the foundation’s generous supporters, including co-chair Jaclyn Smith who was unable attend the event, but whose contributions to the cause have been invaluable.
Event co-chair and FFF Chief Medical Advisor, Dr. Lawrence Piro, introduced Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. Gossett Jr., who is a two-time cancer survivor himself, thanked both the FFF and SU2C for all that they’ve done for the cause. He presented the Angel Award for excellence in innovative cancer research to SU2C’s Sherry Lansing, who accepted on behalf of Stand Up To Cancer’s Council of Founders and Advisors. SU2C’s Kathleen Lobb, Sung Poblete, Sue Schwartz, and Pamela O. Williams, and were also on-hand for the special evening. Lansing spoke about Fawcett’s courageous move to publicly announce her disease and the incredible impact it had in terms of erasing the stigma surrounding anal cancer. Dr. Piro returned to the stage to present Merck & Co. with the Medical Visionary Award for their incredible work in the medical field, which led to the development of Gardasil and the Gardasil 9 vaccine. Gardasil 9 revolutionized options for HPV related cancers and disease prevention. Stephen Wozny accepted on behalf of the organization.
Guests also enjoyed a live auction led by George Hamilton that had them bidding on coveted items such as a 10-person dinner at The Palm, and a sculpture made by Fawcett herself, before country musician Stephanie Quayle closed out the evening with a special musical performance. Quayle captivated guests with a set that included “Selfish,” and “I’ve Got Your Six” from her newly released album. Alana Stewart then took the stage one last time to thank everyone for coming, and invited guests to stick around and enjoy music by DJ Ashlee Williss.
Sep 14, 2017 12:15 pm UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra wrapped up a two-day visit to Jordan this week where she met with Syrian children, young people and their families whose lives have been greatly affected by the conflict.
“Reading about the situation and seeing images still never fully prepares you to experience firsthand the situation of the Syrian refugees. These are people whose lives have been in a constant state of uncertainty for seven years now with no immediate solution in sight. And in the middle of this, for no fault of their own, is an entire generation of children who are being shaped by violence and displacement, resulting in an astonishing lack of education and opportunity. This makes this generation vulnerable on so many levels,” said Chopra.
On the first day, Chopra visited a UNICEF supported Makani (which means “My Space” in Arabic) centre in a host community in Amman and met nine year old Wardshan and her eight year old sister Ayat. Both of them had recently started school again after a gap of two years due to the family not having proper documentation. With thousands of Syrian children out of school, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF are mobilizing Makani centres across the country to help girls and boys enroll back in school, in addition to providing learning support, psychosocial care and life skills training.
Chopra later visited the two young girls’ home, and learned of the various struggles many refugee families face daily. Their father is a laborer, working odd jobs when available earning about 200 Jordanian Dinars (approx. USD280) which is equal to their monthly rent. Their oldest brother, Saleh, 10, also supplements the family income doing backbreaking work at a local supermarket for 2 JD a day (less than USD3), and does not go to school as a result.
“Without education a whole generation of children could grow up without the knowledge and skills needed to support themselves, contribute to their communities and ultimately rebuild Syria once this crisis is over,” said Chopra. “The young people I met have all survived fleeing Syria during the conflict. They thrive to be in school and are not giving up on their dreams and aspirations – and we shouldn’t give up on them – they need us more than ever.”
Chopra visited the Za’atari refugee camp on the second day, meeting girls at a UNICEF-supported school and two Makani centres that provide psychosocial support services to both young boys involved in child labour and young girls who are survivors of child marriage. There are currently about 21,000 children enrolled in the 14 school complexes in Zaatari. Although there are seats available for every child in the camp, the enrolment is about 73 percent due to child marriages and child labour.
“I met too many young girls, all under 18 years old and married with children – some with multiple children,” said Chopra. “What was most heartbreaking was that as children, these girls longed to be learning, but now had the responsibilities of raising children of their own. They would like to get an education themselves but face the stigma of society looking at them only as wives and mothers and judging them as adults and not the teenagers with aspirations that they actually are. However, it was very hopeful to hear that they will not let their own children miss out on an education – even those with girls. They know an education will allow them to have a future different than the lives they are living now.”
With a population of around 80,000, Za’atari is one of the largest Syrian refugee camps in the world, and is considered the fourth largest city in Jordan. Families live in caravans in a harsh desert area with freezing temperatures in the winter and extreme heat in the summer. UNICEF and partners are providing life-saving support through vaccinations, medicines, clean water, sanitation, and opportunities for children and youth to get an education and learn skills for their future.
“We very much appreciate global champions like Priyanka Chopra who can advocate for continued support for the education, protection and well-being of vulnerable girls and boys affected by the Syrian crisis,” said the UNICEF Representative, Robert Jenkins. “We are grateful for her commitment in helping us amplify the voices and dreams of millions of Syrian children and youth, who, despite the protracted crisis, remain incredibly resilient and hopeful for a better future,” he added.
The Syrian refugee crisis remains the largest humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II. Countries neighboring Syria are hosting over 5 million registered Syrian refugees, including nearly 2.5 million children. Now in its seventh year, over 8 million children inside Syria and in neighboring countries, including Jordan, need humanitarian assistance. UNICEF is working with partners to provide them with access to clean water, health and nutrition, as well as the education and protection that will help them to grow and thrive.
Jordan is today the second largest refugee-hosting country in the world when compared to the size of its population. The humanitarian crisis has placed additional pressure on Jordan’s scarce resources and is straining national institutions responsible for delivering social services.
UNICEF has been calling for an end to the cycle of violence in Syria along with further steps to keep children impacted by the conflict safe, and to provide them with psychosocial support and continued access to education for them to rebuild their lives for a better future.
Sep 14, 2017 10:15 am
With the UK Parliament back in session, Polish-American model Joanna Krupa took time out of her flying London visit this week to pose bodypainted as a tiger outside Westminster in order to put pressure on the government to introduce a long-overdue bill banning the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.
“I’ve always loved and respected the importance the UK places on protecting animals – which is why I was so surprised to learn that wild-animal circuses are still allowed to tour in England and Wales,” says Krupa. “No animal should be forced to perform tricks for entertainment, and it’s time the British government put an end to this cruelty.”
Former Prime Minister David Cameron promised to put a stop to these archaic animal acts by January 2015 but failed to do so, even though 94 per cent of respondents to a government consultation – including the British Veterinary Association – demanded a complete and permanent ban.
Wild animals in circuses spend their lives confined to cages or trailers when they’re not being bullied into performing tricks. They commonly endure abuse and are denied the opportunity to engage in natural behaviour. They also frequently display abnormal behaviour and suffer from chronic health problems and psychological disorders – and many die prematurely. PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that by implementing the legislation, England and Wales would catch up with Austria, Belgium, Finland, Mexico, the Netherlands, and the many other countries that already protect wild animals from exploitation in a wholly inappropriate circus environment. Krupa joins Michael Sheen, Martin Freeman, and Pamela Anderson in teaming up with PETA to raise awareness of the plight of animals in circuses.
The Social Good Summit, a unique gathering of world leaders, global activists and influencers in the arts, technology and entertainment, will once again kick off the United Nations General Assembly with a symposium of globally-recognized speakers discussing innovations in media and technology to make the world a better place by 2030.
• Kathy Calvin, President & CEO of the United Nations Foundation
• Bob Weir, Founding Member of the Grateful Dead and Dead & Company
• Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Actor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador
• H.M. Queen Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan
• Pete Cashmore, Founder & CEO of Mashable
• Connie Britton, Actor, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Goodwill Ambassador
• Carmen Perez, Executive Director of The Gathering for Justice and Co-Chair of the Women’s March on Washington
• Whoopi Goldberg, Actress, Comedian & Activist
• David Miliband, President & CEO, International Rescue Committee
• Henry Timms, Executive Director of 92Y, Founder of #GivingTuesday
• Laura Dreyfuss, Actor, Dear Evan Hansen
• Muzoon Al-Mellehan, Student and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
• Richard Curtis, Screenwriter, Director, Co-Founder, Comic Relief
• Two Members of The White Helmets (Syria Civil Defense)
Full list of speakers and agenda is here. Livestream is at socialgoodsummit.com/live.
The Social Good Summit is sponsored by Mashable, 92nd Street Y (92Y), United Nations Foundation and United Nations Development Programme.
YouCaring, the world’s trusted leader in free crowdfunding for personal, medical, and charitable causes, today announced that retired NBA player Tim Duncan, formerly of the San Antonio Spurs, launched a fundraiser on YouCaring to support the victims of Hurricane Irma in the US Virgin Islands.
To date, Duncan’s fundraiser, 21 US Virgin Island Relief Fund, is the largest campaign for victims of the category five storm with over $2 million raised from 13,000 donors.
“I know not everyone can give, and that’s O.K.,” said Duncan. “But if you’re able, here’s what I can promise: Every dollar donated will go directly to relief efforts on the ground. Starting as soon as the weather permits, I’ll be chartering an airplane full of supplies from San Antonio to the Virgin Islands. I’m already busy putting together a team of people from the islands (and beyond) to help manage the relief effort.”
The US Virgin Islands, where Duncan was born and raised, were badly hit by hurricane Irma, leaving thousands without power, running water and with food reserves depleted. In a contributed piece on Players’ Tribune, Duncan told his story of experiencing the destruction of hurricane Hugo and its long term consequences as a child, and pledged $250,000 immediately to the storm relief efforts in the islands and a match of up to $1 million.
“We’ve learned a lot of invaluable lessons from our work with JJ Watt on his Harvey Relief Fund for Houston,” said YouCaring’s CEO, Dan Saper. “It’s unfortunate that we get to apply those lessons so early after Harvey, but the residents of the US Virgin Islands need all the support they can get right now and we’re here to help.”
As a certified B-Corporation with a focus on helping people faced with hardship, YouCaring does not take a cut of each donation, but instead relies on voluntary donor tips to fund operations.
Held a gala charity auction at Christie’s in 2003; “Dame Shirley Bassey: 50 Years of Glittering Gowns” raised £250,000 (US$500,000) for the Dame Shirley Bassey Scholarship at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, and the Noah’s Ark Appeal.
Recently sold her London apartment, selling many of its furnishings at auction for charity.
Charities & foundations supported
Shirley Bassey has supported the following charities: