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 circleofpromise.org. 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: 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 PeaceOneDay.org and to make their own commitment to the UN endorsed Peace Day (September 21). Those interested in sharing their personal messages can visit benjerry.com/imagine.

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.