Stars Give Back: A Look Into Celeb Relief Efforts
By Melissa Daniels Posted Jan 22nd 2010 12:30PM
Scores of stars are gathering for the 'Hope for Haiti Now' telethon to benefit earthquake victims. But of course it's not the first time that celebs have donated their time and money in the time of tragedy, domestic or international. Televised concerts and even merchandise have been used to raise relief money for decades. Such efforts have seen huge success rates, with millions of dollars being brought in from high profile fundraisers. And with stars like George Clooney, Bono, Bruce Springsteen and Faith Hill taking part, the world sees a human side of Hollywood while helping out their fellow man.
► Ten days after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, more than 35 cable channels aired the 'America: A Tribute to Heroes' benefit concert. Raising $30 million in total for the United Way September 11 Telethon Fund, the concert featured performers like Bruce Springsteen and Billy Joel performing songs like 'My City in Ruins' and 'New York State of Mind.' The funds would primarily help victims and families of New York City firefighters and police officers. With candles illuminating the stage and numerous speakers sending out heartfelt messages of sympathy and hope, the concert provided a pensive and emotional memorial that could be shared by all. Throughout October, other concerts and performances would raise even more millions for relief funds, including 'Come Together: A Night For John Lennon's Words and Music' and 'The Concert for New York City' at Madison Square Garden.
► The Indian Ocean tsunami in December 2004 resulted in thousands of deaths and missing persons, with many countries in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand, affected. A massive outpouring of aid from countries and non-government organizations provided millions of dollars to help with relief efforts and rebuilding. But corporations and celebrities pledged their own donations as well. Steven Spielberg donated $1.5 million to be divided up between many charity organizations, and Willie Nelson headlined a concert in Texas called 'Tsunami Relief - Austin to South Asia.' Clooney participated in a Jan. 15 televised benefit, along with Christina Aguilera and Sheryl Crow. The 'Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope' raised more than $18 million. Also in January, a charity music concert in Cardiff called 'Tsunami Relief Cardiff' was held in the United Kingdom. Eric Clapton, Charlotte Church and Snow Patrol lent their songs to the show, which raised more than $2 million.
► After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, many celebrities dug deep into their own pockets to help out, like author John Grisham donated five million dollars. However, many celebrities like Oprah, Chris Rock, John Travolta and Sean Penn donated their time to helping with the local relief efforts by delivering food and supplies to needy areas. 'A Concert for Hurricane Relief' on Sept. 5 featured Harry Connick Jr. and Faith Hill performing, as well as numerous celebrity speakers, asked viewers to donate to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund via phone or Internet. Later, the 'ReAct Now: Music & Relief' concert raised approximately $30 million for organizations like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Dozens of performers appeared performing in all different cities, from New York to Los Angeles, from Nashville to Toronto, for the four-hour long benefit show. Songs like Coldplay's 'Fix You,' Green Day's 'Wake Me Up When September Ends,' and U2's 'Love And Peace Or Else' were heart-tugging memorials at an emotional time for the country.
► In 2006, celebrities and corporations teamed up for Product Red, a fundraising effort for the Global Fund started by U2's Bono and activist Bobby Shriver. The fund benefits those in need in Africa as well as promoting AIDS awareness, with fifty percent product sales being donated to the fund. Brands like Apple, Motorola, American Express, Gap, Starbucks and Nike created RED products specifically for the benefit of the cause. The RED Web site states that more than four million people in Africa have benefited from the purchasing of RED products. And just last week, Dr.Dre unveiled his new Monster (PRODUCT) RED Special Edition Beats Solo Headphone, with plans announced for Lady Gaga to create a pair as well.
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