Good Works Update: amFar’s Cinema Against AIDS Gala’s Results Are In!

AmFar’s Cinema Against AIDS gala had a record-breaking night on May 22nd, raising over $10 Million to benefit amfAR’s HIV/AIDS Research and Prevention Programs.

Sharon Stone, AmFar’s Fundaraising Chair, kicked off the program with a special appeal in honor of her 50th birthday in which she pledged a $100,000 and encouraged others in the room to meet her pledge. Within 10 minutes, $2 million was raised. Happy Birthday, Sharon!

As always the legendary auction, conducted by Stone and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, did not dissappoint with it’s big ticket items. Below are a few highlights of the lots sold.

Sharon Stone ‘s meticulously restored vintage Porsche 911 Targa, went for $810,000.

A private two-song set courtesy of Madonna, sold for $560,000. The Material Girl also personally auctioned a diamond-encrusted alligator skin Chanel purse designed by Karl Lagerfeld that included her personal lip gloss, compact mirror, and blotting papers for a whopping $486,000.

Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and Donatella Versace auctioned off Madonna’s personalized, custom-made white Gibson acoustic guitar created especially for her “Confessions” tour for $486,000. And “24 Hours with Diddy,” an impromtu item contributed by Combs, went for $324,000 .

Auction honorable mentions include private sittings with filmmaker/artist Julian Schanbel ($486,000) and photographer Patrick Demarchelier ($324,000), as well as a lot featuring a movie set visit to Nine and an original manuscript by author Paul Coelho ($243,000).

AmfAR’s annual Cinema Against AIDS galas have generated more than $43 million for AIDS research since 1993. amfAR’s mission is to fund HIV/AIDS researchers worldwide and translate that research into effective treatment, prevention, and education programs worldwide.


Good Works: Anderson Cooper Hangs with Elmo, James Gandolfini Gives His Shirt of Off His Back to Charity and More….

Anderson Cooper joined Sesame Street characters Chamki and Elmo on Wednesday at the annual Sesame Workshop Benefit at Cipriani. All of the proceeds from the benefit help fund the Workshop’s mission-driven educational projects for children around the world.

Beyond Sesame Street here in the United States, the Workshop produces localized programming for children in over 120 countries around the world, including: helping to tackle the stigma of AIDS in South Africa; encouraging girls’ participation in Egypt; and promoting cross-cultural respect and understanding among children in the Middle East. The Workshop recently launched Kilimani Sesame in Tanzania where they expect to reach 5 million children with health messaging on malaria, nutrition, basic hygiene and HIV/AIDS awareness.

James Gandolfini will be auctioning off twenty-four Sopranos costumes through Christie’s on June 25th. Proceeds from the sale (which are expected to bring in up to $36,500) will go to Wounded Warrior Project, a Jacksonville, Florida based veterans nonprofit group that assists severely wounded soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. The actor’s contract allowed him to keep the clothes after the show ended its six-season run last year. Many outfits have the original production tags and are estimated to start at $500.

Bono, Sadao Watanabe, Youssou N’Dour, Ryuichi Sakamoto and Tadao Ando were in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan on Wednesday to support British artist Antony Gormley’s event for “One for All 2008”. The purpose of the event was to raise awareness on world poverty and encourage the Japanese government to get involved. Japan has promised to double trade with African countries in reaction to African leaders call for investment rather than charity.
Gabrielle Union, Lalah Hathaway, and Synthia Saint James were named ambassadors to Susan G. Komen for the Cure (R)’s Circle of Promise program. As ambassadors, the women are to work nationally and within their communities to urge others within the African-American community to reclaim their health and register at The organization’s goal is to spread the message that a growing number of African-American women are likely to die from breast cancer than any other race despite being the least likely to be diagnosed with the disease.

Good Works: Jeffrey Katezenberg Invests in Future Animators and Quincy Jones Speaks Out for China and Myanmar.

DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg opened the DreamWorks Animation Academy at the Inner-City Arts center today. Inner-City Arts is an arts education center located in one of Downtown Los Angeles’ most impoverished areas. Katzenberg’s DreamWorks Animation Charitable Foundation donated $500,000 to the organization to expand its animation education program. Actors Lisa Kudrow and Kate del Castillo were on hand to co-host the event.


Music icon Quincy Jones and the Red Cross released a series of public service announcements today to mobilize emergency assistance to the victims of the disastrous China earthquake and the deadly Myanmar cyclone. The American Red Cross has contributed more than $12 million in financial assistance for these two disasters and will provide additional relief through financial support, emergency supplies and relief workers.
Jones, 75, is a long time social activist with an endless commitment to various human rights, health, poverty, and arts initiatives worldwide. He will receive BET’s Humanitarian Award at the “BET Awards” on June 24.
Quincy Jones & Red Cross PSA
For more information or to donate go to

Invisible Children Charity Included in Pete Wentz & Ashlee Simpon’s Wedding

Life & Style Magazine revealed that wedding guests at the recent nuptials of Pete Wentz & Ashlee Simpson were asked to make a contribution to Invisible Children, in lieu of gifts. The new Mr. and Mrs. Wentz have been longtime supporters of the organization. In 2007, Pete traveled along with his group, Fall Out Boy, to Uganda in 2007 to film a music video for “Me and You” in partnership with the organization to raise awareness on the issue.
Invisible Children documents the untold stories of war-affected children and provides financial resources to war-affected children.Invisible Children was created after the release of the 2004 film “Invisible Children: Rough Cut,” a revealing documentary about the life of child soldiers in northern Uganda. For more information or to donate, go to

Good Works: Usher Salutes the Armed Services…Maggie Gyllenhaal along with Ben & Jerry Stage a "Peace Bed In"and More!

Usher visited the USS Kearsarge this morning to support the armed services. The singer posed for pictures and signed copies of his new album, Here I Stand, out today. Throughout his career, Usher has become more socially active, having launched his personal foundation, Usher’s New Look, along with efforts on behalf of post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans.

Can Ice Cream in Bed Spark World Peace?

“Make peace – a dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” – Yoko Ono

John Lennon harnessed the power of art and music to promote the idea of peace. In that same spirit, ice cream giants Ben & Jerry’s are hoping to make peace through well, your taste buds!

Maggie Gyllenhaal and  Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield launched a new peace campaign and ice cream flavor called Imagine Whirled Peace in Times Square today. The flavor is inspired by the ubiquitous John Lennon tune Imagine and is a collaborative effort between Ben & Jerry’s, the Lennon estate, and the non-profit organization Peace One Day to raise awareness of the United Nations Day of Global Ceasefire and Non-Violence on September 21st annually.

The launch started with a presentation of a $10,000 donation to two peace pioneers – Aaron Voldman of the Student Peace Alliance and Robert Kent of the Peace Camp Initiative – for their dedicated missions of peace and justice. The festivities culminated with the recreation of the “Peace Bed-In”, originally staged by John Lennon and Yoko Ono in 1969.
The John Lennon  tribute flavor is part of Ben & Jerry’s ongoing social mission campaign. The company encourages the public to log on to and to make their own commitment to the UN endorsed Peace Day (September 21). Those interested in sharing their personal messages can visit

Eva Longoria Parker was out in Corpus Christi, Texas today to kick off Wendy’s Father’s Day Frosty Weekend. On June 14th and 15th, Wendy’s will donate 50 cents from the sale of every Frosty product to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption . Longoria will continue her charity work on Saturday, May 31 when she participates in the PADRES Contra El Cancer’s Inaugural Stand for HOPE! 5k Charity Run/Walk. The event will raise money in support of children with cancer and their families.

And finally, ABC, CBS and NBC have announced a historical partnership called “Stand Up To Cancer”  a live telethon to air on September 5, 2008 (8 pm EDT and PDT). The special will feature live performances by legendary recording artists and appearances from film and television celebrities. Network evening news anchors Charles Gibson, Katie Couric and Brian Williams are set to announce the initiative together during live appearances tomorrow on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” CBS’s “The Early Show,” and NBC’s “TODAY show.” For more information click here.

Good Works: Ben Affleck and Luol Deng for Sudan

Ben Affleck appeared on CNN Thursday night. Fresh off of a trip to war-torn Sudan the unshaven and bleary Affleck spoke about the war torn nation and and it’s subsequent refugee crisis. “I wanted to really feel like I understood the place and learn as much as I could about it, before I got into trying to be an advocate and kind of running my mouth about it,” he said “I got into doing some learning, talking to experts, traveling there.” Of his recent experience in the field, Affleck stated, ” I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Affleck joins a horde of celebrities who have made Sudan their pet cause (notably George Clooney, Don Cheadle, and Brad Pitt). On celebrity social activism and public skeptism, Affleck stated, “I think it’s probably a healthy thing to keep that level of cynicism about celebrities who get involved with things,” he says. “[But] it’s largely irrelevant what one thinks of me,” he said. “I could be vain and self-aggrandizing, but it’s totally irrelevant to what I’ve pointed the camera at, showing you something that is completely honest, which is that this situation and this potential civil war here demands attention regardless of what you think about me.”
Chicago Bulls basketball player and former Sudanese refugee, Luol Deng, announced that he will donate fifty dollars for every basket he scores in the 2008-2009 season. Deng, is the latest celebrity supporter of UNHCR’s campaign, which raises funds to provide education and sports activities for the nine million of refugees children across the globe.

The 23-year-old is a native of South Sudan and a member of the Dinka tribe. As a child, he fled his homeland and sought refuge in England with his family. He later attended Duke University for a year and then joined the Chicago Bulls in 2004 as a forward.  Loul’s PSA for can be found below:

For more information on the ongoing crisis in Sudan click here.

THE RNC: How Are Serving A Cause Greater Than Yourself? You have 100 Days To Answer on YouTube!

Today marks 100 days until the 2008 Republican National Convention takes over the Minneapolis’ Xcel Energy Center. In response to Sen. John McCain call “to serve a cause greater than one’s own self-interest”, the RNC has announced a national YouTube video contest with the winners attending the convention held Sept.1-4.

The organization encourages Republicans, Democrats, Independents and the like to join in answering Sen. McCain’s call. In addition to the producer and person profiled being invited, RNC organizers promise that the winning video will be given a prominent platform during the convention.

Video shorts can be submitted from NOW until June 26, 2008, via the RNC’s YouTube channel. All shorts will be voted on by You Tube users through the convention’s YouTube page. Five finalists will then be announced on June 27. Final voting runs through July 3, with the winner announced on July 4.

The YouTube national contest builds on the convention’s Minneapolis based American Neighbor Volunteer Program whose mission is “I can help my neighbor. I can make a difference in my community.”

Good Works: Nicky Hilton Steps Out for Breast Cancer in Korea and EmmyLou Harris Talks Animal Rights

Nicky Hilton, who was in Korea this week to launch her clothing lines, Nicholai and Chick by Nicky Hilton, attended a charity benefit in Seoul, Korea for the Korea Breast Cancer Foundation at Club Answer. The designer and socialite, whose grandmother passed away from the disease some time ago, is reportedly an avid supporter of breast cancer charities.

Country Music Star Emmylou Harris is set to talk animal rights this weekend on the AM/FM and XM Satellite Radio broadcasts of Animal Radio(R). The animal rights activist is the founder of “Bona-parte’s Retreat” a Nashville based animal rescue/fostering organization. Log on to Animal Radio to check for local listings.
Speaking of animals, a famous thoroughbred is making a difference…
The owners of Triple Crown contender, Big Brown, have announced that they will donate a portion of proceeds of the throughbred’s potential Belmont Stakes earnings to help a Long Island police officer’s son. The officer, Kenneth Baribault, was critically injured in an collision with a drunk driver on the Long Island Expressway last week. Big Brown’s owners, Michale Iavaron and Richard Schiavo, would not disclose the amount that would be donated to the family but did state in a press conference that they are going to “do a lot more than Belmont”. First place prize for the Belmont is $620,000. Good luck, Big Brown!