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Clinton Global Initiative Concludes Final Annual Meeting and Celebrates Legacy of Impact

Sep 23, 2016 01:30 pm

Bill Clinton: Profile

President Bill Clinton and Chelsea Clinton concluded the 12th and final Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting this week and recognized the impact of the CGI community in creating more than 3,600 Commitments to Action, which have improved the lives of over 435 million people worldwide.


At the Closing Plenary Session, President Clinton delivered a personal reflection on what the last 15 years of the Clinton Foundation have meant to him and discussed how CGI helped redefine philanthropy.

“It has been one of the great honors of my life. You are living proof that good people committed to create cooperation have almost unlimited positive impact to help people today and give our kids better tomorrows. I have spent the last 15 years of my life working to advance that idea, said President Clinton.”


Chelsea Clinton also reflected on the work and legacy of the Clinton Global Initiative. “I am so fiercely grateful to have been part of this remarkable community over the last 11 years,” said Chelsea Clinton. “Thank you to all of the commitment makers, thank you to everyone who has believed in this model, and a tremendous thank you to the remarkable people who have worked for and with CGI over the years.”

Over the past three days, CGI members discussed and announced 96 new Commitments to Action to continue driving progress on pressing global issues, including preventing the spread of Zika, addressing the refugee crisis in Syria, reducing violence against women in the developing world, peacebuilding in post-conflict areas, and strengthening business supply chains so that companies can do well by doing good.

What started with 600 commitments in 100 countries in CGI’s first two years has since grown to more than 3,600 commitments spanning more than 180 countries, which have improved the lives of over 435 million people. The impact of CGI will continue through the work of CGI members who are implementing their Commitments to Action. When fully funded and implemented, commitments announced by CGImembers over the past 11 years will ensure that:

• More than 52 million children have access to a better education.
• More than 33 million people have increased access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
• More than 13 million girls and women have been supported through empowerment initiatives.
• More than $1.6 billion has been invested or loaned to small- and medium-sized enterprises.
• Nearly 35 million people have access to information technologies.
• More than 50 million farmers or small-scale producers have gained access to inputs, supports, and markets
• More than 8 million people have gained skills to cope with the risks of environmental stress and natural disasters.
• More than 401 million acres of forest have been protected or restored.
• Nearly 4 million clean jobs have been created.
• More than 114 million people have increased access to maternal and child health and survival programs.
• More than $318 million in research and development funds has been spent on new vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics.



Johnny Depp To Be Presented With Rhonda’s Kiss Healing And Hope Award

Sep 23, 2016 12:30 pm

Johnny Depp: Profile

Rhonda’s Kiss, an organization that helps cancer patients in need, has announced that Academy Award-nominee Johnny Depp will be presented with the first “Healing & Hope Award” at their annual concert event on Thursday, November 3 at The El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles.

The “Healing & Hope Award” honors an individual or group of local heroes who have a positive impact on cancer patients, survivors and those in need.


As previously announced, the rock group Weezer are the headlining act for this year’s benefit concert, with musician/TV host Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray emcee-ing the evening.

Proceeds from the concert event with Weezer will benefit the Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and further the mission of Rhonda’s Kiss, supporting programs to assist cancer patients in need, and helping those who receive a cancer diagnosis make ends meet during treatment. Rhonda’s Kiss is a 501c3. To date, the charity has donated more than $750,000 to hospitals to support cancer programs and patients.

“Cancer affects many lives and this year it was my family’s turn,” explains Johnny Depp. “The team at Cedars-Sinai works tirelessly to help people in their darkest moments. Their work is invaluable to all of us, and I will support any opportunity to help shine a light on the cause through Rhonda’s Kiss.”

“The Cedars-Sinai Department of Radiation Oncology is proud to collaborate with Rhonda’s Kiss to raise awareness about the fight against cancer,” explains Amin Mirhadi M.D., Cedars-Sinai. “As a long-standing member of the faculty, I’ve been fortunate to witness the development of a world-class infrastructure for laboratory research, patient clinical trials, and cutting edge technology. With the help of organizations like Rhonda’s Kiss, we are able to develop research projects and ideas that we know will make a difference.”

“Aside from regular visits with cancer patients all over the country, Johnny has been instrumental in supporting research on lung cancer in our department at Cedars-Sinai,” continues Dr. Mirhadi. “The contributions Johnny has continually made in honor of his mother have been instrumental in helping us to develop the kind of research we need to move the needle forward in the fight against lung cancer.”

“Johnny lends his name, uses his time, and makes donations to causes that positively impact those in the most need, especially in the field of cancer,” adds Kyle Stefanski, executive director of Rhonda’s Kiss. “Because we want to acknowledge and support local heroes who are making a difference in the cancer community, our 2016 Rhonda’s Kiss Los Angeles ‘Healing and Hope Award’ will be presented to Johnny Depp at our annual event on November 3. Raising money for cancer is a reminder that every day, people are struggling with the disease and need the support to maintain their dignity and fight. Donating to Cedars-Sinai and their team will help give these patients the support they need.”

Rhonda’s Kiss is a recognized 501c3. In 2014, Rhonda Stefanski was diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer. While she lost her battle, one of the greatest gifts she left was to create Rhonda’s Kiss, an event to raise money to help those in the inner city who receive a cancer diagnosis, but may be unable to make ends meet for treatment and support. Through the Rhonda’s Kiss Los Angeles event and with proceeds benefitting Cedars-Sinai, Rhonda’s Kiss events provide financial support to decrease late-stage cancer diagnosis in urban communities, and primarily for patients in financial need, by using a three-pronged approach, that integrates outreach (education, awareness and screening), navigation (medical and home) and patient services (treatment and financial assistance, and emotional support). Funds are distributed by local hospitals in areas where money is raised. For more information or to donate directly, contact:


Molly Sims To Co-Host Star-Studded Fashion Gala For Autism Speaks

Sep 23, 2016 11:00 am

Molly Sims: Profile

Autism Speaks Southern California presents La Vie En BLUEFashion Gala, a night of fashion and philanthropy produced by Metropolitan Fashion Week, hosted by Kevin Frazier and Molly Sims.

This Parisian-themed evening will feature Zumanity by Cirque Du Soleil costumes designed by French fashion designer Thierry Mugler. Other featured designers include GUESS Kids, David Tupaz Couture, Dalia Macphee, Ron Tomson, Carl Andrada, Erick Bendana, Julie Danforth, Jovani Fashions, Usama Ishtay and Sivalia Couture.

Stars such as Vivica A. Fox, Eve, Alicia Machado, Hilary Rhoda, Madison Beer,Shenae Grimes, Keltie Knight and Kristian Alfonso will strut the runway in gorgeous blue evening gowns to be auctioned off, while children on the autism spectrum will model the latest fashions from GUESS Kids.

Also highlighting the evening will be an exclusive performance from ZUMANITY by Cirque du Soleil with costumes designed by Thierry Mugler.

The gala will also honor two fathers and champions of Autism Speaks’ mission – City National Bank’s SVP Harry Topping Jr. and Untitled Entertainment talent manager Steven Grossman (who will receive the award from The Real’s Jeannie Mai).

Stars that have lent their support to La Vie En BLUE’s honorary host committee includeChristie Brinkley, Naomi Campbell, Molly Sims, Paris Hilton, Kelly Osbourne, Melissa Rivers, NeNe Leakes, Kelly Rowland, Loni Love and Jeannie Mai.

La Vie En BLUE is generously sponsored by the Guess Foundation, City National Bank, CBRE, Paul Attanasio, Common Wealth Partners, Steelcase, Tangram, FX Networks, MK Rice, Gensler, Howard Building Co, Samsung Group, Coca-Cola Company, Two Faced Cosmetics, Urban Decay Cosmetics, Kendra Scott Jewelry, Big Sugar Bakeshop, Porto’s Bakery, Hidden Gardens Florist and The Los Angeles Kings. Entertainment Tonight and The Hollywood Reporter are media sponsors.

For more info, click here.


Michelle Yeoh Announces Names Of Panda Ambassadors

Sep 23, 2016 10:00 am

Michelle Yeoh: Profile

What do two panda cubs and two Fijian girls have to do with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals?

If you answered “everything,” then you are on the right track, according to conclusions made by top United Nations officials.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), or Global Goals, form part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which was agreed and adopted by world leaders last year, and serve as a global plan for people, peace, prosperity and the planet. Of the 17 SDGs, Goal 13 is centred on taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts, whereas Goal 15 focusses on protecting, restoring and promoting sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combating desertification, and halting biodiversity loss.

In January this year, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) designated two pandas to officially become the first-ever Animal Ambassadors for the SDGs, flagging that the bears symbolize the plight of the world’s diminishing wildlife in the face of climate change and the loss of natural habitats. The pair, both males, had been born last year at the Chengdu Panda Base in China, just as world leaders gathered in New York to adopt the SDGs.

After a global competition which saw thousands of submissions with proposed namesfrom 116 countries, UNDP’s goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh announced on Monday that the search for names had come to an end.

“I’m pleased and proud to announce the names of our panda ambassadors are Qiqi – in English ‘beginning,’ and Diandian, which means ‘moment,’” she said at an event at the 7th Social Good Summit in New York. “Together, the names give the sense of the start of a journey – in this case, our journey together towards 2030 as we work towards achieving the Global Goals.”

“Addressing biodiversity loss is one of the Sustainable Development Goals,” Ms. Yeoh added. “At UNDP, we hope that our twin panda Ambassadors will help inspire people to engage with the goals, and raise awareness of our efforts to promote sustainable development around the world.”

Some days before this, two other little individuals – in this case, two little girls, aged 5 and 7 – stole the show at the opening of the 71st session of the General Assembly. The session’s President Peter Thomson, a Fijian diplomat, had invited his granddaughters Grace and Mirabel to the podium – and promised that he would work to create a better future for them, representing all future generations.

“What kind of world will we have bequeathed them and all their brothers and sisters around the world, your own grandchildren and children, born and yet to be born?” Mr. Thomson asked.

“Will it be a world,” he added, “where the projected loss of biodiversity on land and sea severely limits the possibilities of life, where atmospheric levels of CO2 have gone well beyond the 1.5 to 2 degree thresholds, thereby imperilling humanity’s place on this planet?”

In his remarks at the opening, the Assembly President also said that “for integrity’s sake the 71st [GA session] must be the year we witness the wheels turning on the implementation of all 17 SDGs.”

Climate change to the fore

The issue of climate change will come to the fore this week, during the 71st General Assembly’s General Debate, taking place at UN Headquarters in New York from 20 to 26 September. The event is the annual meeting of Heads of State and Government at the beginning of the General Assembly session.

Leaders from all countries have been encouraged to deposit – at a special event on 21 September – their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession to the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which was adopted by 195 countries during the conference in Paris last December. The agreement sets out an integrated vision for the future and sets in motion the pathways to an economic and social transformation to achieve it.

The more countries that deposit their instruments at Wednesday’s event in the General Assembly, the stronger the chances of the Paris Agreement coming into force early. The event is also seen as providing an opportunity for nations to publicly commit to joining or ratifying the agreement before the end of 2016.

“The Paris Agreement marks a historic turning point in our common journey towards a secure and sustainable world,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said on the pact, adding that with 28 additional countries, representing 16 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, the agreement would cross the necessary threshold to enter into force.


Common To Host EncouragHERS

Sep 23, 2016 08:45 am

Common: Profile

Marriott International has announced its partnership with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), and its role as the grand opening hospitality sponsor.

To kick off the weekend, Friday, September 23, 2016, Marriott International is hosting EncouragHERS, a luncheon recognizing women of character, courage and commitment, hosted by Common, with a performance by Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Jazmine Sullivan. The celebratory event will shine a light on the contributions of women to the African American community and their role in making the new museum a reality.

“The National Museum of African American History and Culture has been a long time in the making, and all of us at Marriott International are truly honored to be kicking off the weekend with the EncouragHERS luncheon,” said Erika Alexander, chief lodging services officer, the Americas at Marriott International. “EncouragHERS are the women who recognize when their communities need her support, when their protégés need encouragement, when their families need her strength or when friends just need an ear, act as an inspiration to us all, and that’s why Marriott is here to say thank you.”

The EncouragHERS luncheon will recognize the influence and brilliance of women who use their energy to uplift and empower women leaders from across all industries of business, entertainment, sports, politics and more. Each attendee has demonstrated support for the African American community or made impactful contributions toNMAAHC, which reflects Marriott International’s 80+ year commitment to diversity and inclusion.

“I am looking forward to being a part of this incredible event with Marriott International and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, celebrating the contributions of strong African American women and kicking off such an important and historic weekend in Washington, D.C.,” said Oscar and Grammy winning artist Common. “As the son of a single mother, I am proud to honor the women who came before us, and to do my part to nurture future generations of strong African American women.”

The opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture provides the opportunity for Marriott International to welcome guests traveling from here and around the world to witness the historic opening of the Smithsonian’s newest cultural institution. Marriott International looks forward to hosting Washington, D.C. visitors for years to come, as the museum continues to be a sought-after destination. and follow the Marriott International Twitter and Instagram handles (@MarriottIntl) for additional information about EncouragHERS and Marriott International’s support for the National Museum of African American History and Culture.


Sean “Diddy” Combs Pledges One Million Dollars To His Alma Mater Howard University

Sep 23, 2016 07:30 am
Sean “Diddy” Combs, the Chairman, CEO and Founder of Combs Enterprises, made a one-million-dollar ($1,000,000) pledge to the School of Business at Howard University.

Sean Combs presents his Alma Matter Howard University's President Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., MBA with one million dollar check
Sean Combs presents his Alma Matter Howard University’s President Wayne A.I. Frederick, M.D., MBA with one million dollar check
Credit/Copyright: Larry French/2016 Getty Images

The gift, which was announced by Howard University President, Dr. Wayne A. I. Frederick, will support the establishment and operation of The Sean Combs Scholarship Fund which will help to shape a new generation of entrepreneurially spirited Bison. The pledge was made from the Verizon Center stage during Combs’ Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour, a historic tour celebrating 20 years of Bad Boy Entertainment history.

This transformational contribution comes at a monumental time in the University’s history, with its upcoming 150th anniversary in March 2017, and reinforces the Capstone’s status as an academic citadel that continuously produces outstanding leaders. The investment in this historic institution by one of its most influential alumni is indicative of its excellence and his confidence in its bright future. Mr. Combs has helped to build the next generation of leaders by promoting a culture of philanthropy at his alma mater and encouraging all students to pursue their dreams and shape the future.

“I was blessed to receive a great education from Howard University – one of the best schools in the world – and it helped to fuel my success in business and life. This scholarship will make it possible for the next generation of leaders to pursue their dreams and achieve greatness,” said Sean “Diddy” Combs. “When I delivered the commencement address at Howard, I asked the students ‘Do you know how powerful you are?’ I know that Howard students are intelligent, talented, passionate, and their hard work will shape the future.”

According to President Frederick, “The scholarship fund that Mr. Combs has established at Howard will help provide life-altering opportunities for our students, particularly at a time when many come to Howard struggling to meet ever-increasing financial needs. The University is grateful for Mr. Combs’ ongoing efforts to open doors for talented, hard-working individuals and improve their chances of navigating the way to personal and professional fulfillment.”

Mr. Combs is a beloved son of Howard who has distinguished himself as an entertainer, songwriter, actor, record producer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. His professional accomplishments garnered him the highest University honors in the form of the Alumni Award for Distinguished Post Graduate Achievement in the fields of Entertainment and Business in 1999 and the Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, in 2014. His remarkable success is a source of great pride for the campus community as is his commitment to graciously give back to his alma mater to ensure that current and future students have access to the stellar education that it offers.

Mr. Combs has been a longtime proponent of education and worked to expand educational opportunities for young people. In 2003, Combs ran the New York City Marathon and raised $2 million dollars to support children in the New York City Schools. He has offered support and mentoring to young entrepreneurs through his work with the Boys & Girls Club, Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), and other organizations. And in August, after five years of planning, Combs officially launched Capital Prepatory Harlem School, a free, public charter school in Harlem, NY. Speaking at the launch he said, “Great schools and great education make a big difference. Unfortunately, too many people don’t get the opportunity to succeed, no matter how hard they try. This is leveling the playing field.”

Mr. Combs credits Howard University with providing him with the education and resources needed to build and cultivate Combs Enterprises, which includes the brands Bad Boy Entertainment, Sean John, Combs Wine & Spirits (Cîroc and DeLeón), AQUAhydrate, The Blue Flame Agency, Bad Boy Touring, Janice Combs Publishing,REVOLT Films and REVOLT MEDIA & TV, as well as ENYCE, Zac Posen, and the Combs Foundation. Combs Enterprises is known worldwide for its award-winning, market-defining successes in music, fashion, fragrance, beverage, spirits, marketing, film, television, media and more.

Howard will begin awarding scholarships in fall 2017 to undergraduate Business majors who meet the criteria of a 3.0 GPA and demonstrate financial need with the creation of The Sean Combs Scholarship Fund. In addition to the financial aid component, the recipients will be provided with a summer internship at Bad Boy Entertainment or Revolt Media & TV as well as assigned a Combs Enterprises representative as a mentor. This purposeful arrangement serves to develop the immense talent existing at the University, all while providing inspiration and support for those who wish to walk a similar path as Mr. Combs.

Currently in the midst of a 20-date run, the Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour presented by Cîroc Vodka and Live Nation sponsored by AQUAhydrate, Deleon Tequila, Sean John, Macy’s, Beats By Dre, Luc Belaire and Revolt Media, has garnered rave reviews, with Rolling Stone dubbing the tour the most “hit-packed of 2016” and a “walloping success, a mix of Motown revue, Broadway production and contemporary history.” Bad Boy Family Reunion Tour celebrates 20 years of Bad Boy Entertainment hits. The tour resumes tomorrow night in Philadelphia, PA at Wells Fargo Center.


Spotlight: Quincy Jones’s Charity Work

Sep 23, 2016 07:00 am

Quincy Jones

Spotlight: World Food Programme’s Celebrity Supporters

Sep 23, 2016 06:00 am
Leading the fight against hunger

United Nations program which reached 113 million people in 80 countries in 2004

Celebrity supporters

World Food Programme has 18 known supporters, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Oprah

Areas of work

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.