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City Harvest Hosts Star-Studded Evening Of Practical Magic

Apr 28, 2017 01:30 pm
City Harvest’s 23rd annual gala, Evening of Practical Magic, held at Cipriani 42nd Street, raised nearly $2.7 million to support City Harvest’s anti-hunger programs – enough to help feed over 9,860 families for a year.

Ja Rule performs onstage with Geoffrey Zakarian and Bethenny Frankel at the City Harvest's 23rd Annual Evening Of Practical Magic
Ja Rule performs onstage with Geoffrey Zakarian and Bethenny Frankel at the City Harvest’s 23rd Annual Evening Of Practical Magic
Credit/Copyright: Nicholas Hunt/Getty Images for City Harvest

City Harvest’s Evening of Practical Magic paid tribute to the efforts of individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond in their commitment to support City Harvest’s work. Lise and Michael Evans received the Harry and Misook Doolittle Heart of the City Award, Geoffrey Zakarian, City Harvest Food Council chairman, was presented with the Mnuchin Family Award for Excellence, and Chelsea Clinton was awarded the City Harvest Award for Commitment. City Harvest also acknowledged Food Bazaar as 2017 Food Donor of the Year.


Hosted by fashion designer Zac Posen, the evening featured appearances by: City Harvest Food Council member and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen; lifestyle expert Martha Stewart; actress Bridget Moynahan; Sirius XM Radio host and actress/comedienne Sandra Bernhard; reality TV personality Bethenny Frankel; actors Jean Reno and JJ Field; as well as renowned culinary experts Eric Ripert, Ted Allen, Marc Murphy, Sunny Anderson, Marcela Valladolid, Masa Takayama, Donatella Arpaia, and Michael Anthony. At the end of the evening, Ja Rule took the stage for a special performance presented by Fyre with “backup dancers” Geoffrey Zakarian and Bethenny Frankel.

The live auction, led by Nicholas Lowry, President of Swann Auction Galleries, gave one lucky bidding attendee and nine of her closest friends the chance to be wined and dined in the luxury of her home by the co-hosts of Food Network’s Emmy Nominated Daytime Talk Show, The Kitchen’s Geoffrey Zakarian, Marcela Valladolid, Katie Lee, and Sunny Anderson. A bidding war arose when the night’s honoree, Geoffrey Zakarian called on his table guest, Grammy-nominated recording artist, singer, songwriter, Ja Rule to guest bartend the event. Once on stage, Ja Rule upped the excitement by adding a private performance to the lot which was sold for $150,000.


Highlights from the live auction included:

Guided by Aldo Sohm, “Best Sommelier in the World in 2008”, Wine Director at Le Bernardin and namesake of New York City’s acclaimed Aldo Sohm Bar, and Sherry-Lehmann Wine & Spirits, four guests will receive VIP treatment at Napa’s most exclusive cellars, including Harlan Estate, Colgin Cellars, Chateau Montelena, Screaming Eagle, Shafer Vineyards and Arnot-Roberts Winery. Guests will also enjoy two vintner-housed lunches, two dinners and a dreamy, four-night stay in a three-bedroom guest house.
Winning bid: $140,000

Ten lucky guests will receive the chance to be wined and dined in the winner’s home by the co-hosts of Food Network’s Emmy Nominated Daytime Talk Show, The Kitchen’s Geoffrey Zakarian, Marcela Valladolid, Katie Lee and Sunny Anderson. The night will also include a hands-on cocktail demo by Geoffrey and special performance by recording artist, singer, songwriter, Ja Rule.
Winning bid: $150,000

The lucky winning bidder and 19 of his closest friends will receive the chance to sip on craft cocktails and tasty bites in the luxury of Isaac Mizrahi three-bedroom home in Greenwich Village and enjoy a menu curated by Danny Meyer and Isaac Mizrahi.
Winning bid: $38,000


The winner of this exciting lot will receive the chance to turn his/her home into a Michelin-starred restaurant for 20 lucky guests with dinner by culinary legend Eric Ripert, the chef and co-owner Le Bernardin, one of the finest restaurants in the world.
Winning bid: $340,000

The winning bidder will receive the chance to savor the magic of Masa’s Omakase experience with a private tasting dinner for six by Chef Masa, the man behind Masa & Bar Masa in Columbus Circile, Kappo Masa on the Upper East Side, and the forthcoming Tetsu in Tribeca, opening this summer. The dinner will be in the winner’s home.
Winning bid: $220,000


The winning bidder will receive the chance to join world-class violinist and Grammy-award winner, Joshua Bell, in his sophisticated Gramercy Park penthouse for a private performance and cocktail party for 20 of her closest friends.
Winning bid: $55,000

City Harvest is grateful to event sponsors Stella Artois, Citi, Evian, Patrón Tequila, Westfield World Trade Center, Breville, Mandarin Oriental New York, and I.Halper.




Linkin Park And Steve Aoki Host Music For Relief Poker Tournament

Apr 28, 2017 12:00 pm
Last week at the Taglyan Complex in Los Angeles, Music for Relief hosted their second annual Charity Poker Tournament to raise funds for humanitarian work in disaster relief.

(L to R): Joe Hahn, Linkin Park; Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park; Steve Aoki; and Brad Delson, Linkin Park
(L to R): Joe Hahn, Linkin Park; Mike Shinoda, Linkin Park; Steve Aoki; and Brad Delson, Linkin Park
Credit/Copyright: Don Kang

The event was hosted by Grammy-Award winning rock band, Linkin Park and electro house musician, Steve Aoki.

Music For Relief is a nonprofit organization founded by Linkin Park, and dedicated to providing aid to natural disaster survivors and protecting the environment. Proceeds from the event support Famine Relief in East Africa.


Ishmael Beah Helps Give A Voice To Young People Affected By Conflict In Syria

Apr 28, 2017 10:30 am
Ishmael Beah, author, former child soldier and UNICEF Advocate for Children Affected by War, wrapped up a three-day visit to Jordan this week to help amplify the voices of vulnerable young people affected by the conflict in Syria.

Ishmael Beah (centre) in Zaatari
Ishmael Beah (centre) in Zaatari

Beah, who is internationally renowned for his books, A Long Way Gone, A Memoir of a Child Solider,’ and Radiance of Tomorrow, A Novel, was in Jordan to develop the advocacy skills of nearly 50 young people from Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Many of them have seen their lives upended by the six year-long war in Syria.

While in Jordan, Beah visited children in the Za’atari refugee camp near the Syrian border, and a UNICEF supported-Makani centre in Amman where children and young people can come to learn and get psychosocial support.

After more than six years of war and heavy violence, more than 2.5 million children from Syria are now living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.

“Young people who survive war have an amazing ability to persevere and become the champions for peace that are so needed, despite the horrors they have been through,” said Beah, who attended a UNICEF-supported workshop on youth engagement.

“I know from experience that all that pain, that unimaginable suffering, and that sense of loss of humanity, can all be refocussed towards something positive,” said Beah. “Especially when you have someone who believes in you, supports you and extends a helping hand.”

With support from UNICEF, partners and donors including the EU Regional Trust Fund in Response to the Syrian Crisis (MADAD), 120 young people who are refugees or vulnerable host communities have been trained as researchers as part of an innovative Participatory Action Research initiative where young people can open up to each other about their lives and aspirations.

The researchers interview other marginalized young people to find their biggest challenges. Many of them have dropped out of school and started working to help their families make ends meet. The research is meant to contribute to better access to education and vocational training. The training also equips vulnerable young people with skills to address issues like early marriage, protection against violence and hazardous types of labour.

“Children and young people are not the problem – they are a fundamental part of the solution,” said Veera Mendonca, UNICEF’s Regional Advisor for Adolescent Development. “If we invest in them they will become the doctors, lawyers, nurses, thinkers, entrepreneurs and the change makers for children’s rights.”

For Israa, 20, a Syrian refugee in Jordan, and a young researcher, the training has made a difference. “The training taught me how to identify people’s problems and ways that can help make our voices be heard,” she said, noting that she has applied some of her learning to talk families out of getting girls married early.

“These young people have been teaching me a lot in return,” said Beah, who as a child was made to fight in the civil war in Sierra Leone, before attending a UNICEF-supported rehabilitation centre. He lost his family in the war and eventually had to flee the country.

“These young people don’t want to be pitied, they want to have their rights respected and be empowered so that they can grow to their full potential.”


Alan Cumming Hosts Housing Works Groundbreaker Awards

Apr 28, 2017 09:00 am
Alan Cumming hosted the Housing Works Groundbreaker Awards on Wednesday in New York.

Alan Cumming at Housing Works Groundbreaker Awards Dinner
Alan Cumming at Housing Works Groundbreaker Awards Dinner
Credit/Copyright: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Housing Works

Honorees at the event included award-winning journalist Tamron Hall, and Executive Group President, Estee Lauder Companies John Demsey. Founding Chair was James ‘Ford’ Huniford, Dinner Chair was Sandra Lee, and guests included Bevy Smith, Mia Moretti, Barbara Corcoran and more.

Tamron Hall at Housing Works Groundbreaker Awards Dinner
Tamron Hall at Housing Works Groundbreaker Awards Dinner
Credit/Copyright: Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Housing Works

The evening brought together Housing Works’ closest friends and supporters to honor outstanding individuals who have made a significant contributions to the fight to end HIV/AIDS and homelessness.

Housing Works is a New York-based organization that provides supportive services and stable housing to the homele PHOTOS: Housing Works Groundbreaker Awards Dinner ss and individuals living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. The non-profit works with advocacy offices across the country and abroad to fight for funding and legislation to ensure all people living with HIV/AIDS have access to quality housing, healthcare, prevention information and other life-sustaining services.

Support for the Groundbreaker Awards was provided by ELLE DECOR, Benjamin Moore, MAC AIDS Fund, Incollect, The John Gore Organization, Matthijssen, 200 Lex / New York Design Center, Playmates Toys, The Points Guy, Whispering Angel/ Chateau D’ ESCLANS, and Double Cross Vodka.

Finalists For Aurora Prize For Awakening Humanity Announced

Apr 28, 2017 07:30 am

George Clooney: Profile

The Selection Committee for the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity has announced the names of the five 2017 finalists who have been chosen for their exceptional impact, courage and commitment to preserving human life and advancing humanitarian causes.

They are:
• Ms. Fartuun Adan and Ms. Ilwad Elman, Founders of the Elman Peace and Human Rights Centre, Somalia – Mother and daughter who are unwavering in their mission to protect human rights, women’s rights, and facilitate peace building, development and the rehabilitation of child soldiers amidst insecure and dangerous conditions
• Ms. Jamila Afghani, Chairperson of the Noor Educational and Capacity Development Organization, Afghanistan – a polio victim who accidentally received the gift of reading and has dedicated her life to bringing reading and education to girls and women, while enlisting the help of Muslim leaders of faith in her mission.
• Dr. Tom Catena, Surgeon at the Mother of Mercy Hospital in the Nuba Mountains, Sudan – A Catholic missionary and doctor who for nearly a decade remains the only permanent doctor to treat the remote and war-torn region’s half-million population, performing more than 1,000 operations each year
• Mr. Muhammad Darwish, Medical Doctor at the Madaya Field Hospital, Syria – A student of dentistry returned to his hometown and took on the full responsibilities of a medical doctor, began to perform medical procedures, offered care and maintained meticulous documentation of the conditions of patients, many of them children, affected by persisting violence, thus bringing international attention to the besieged area
• Dr. Denis Mukwege, Gynecological Surgeon and Founder of the Panzi Hospital, The Democratic Republic of the Congo – An obstetrician turned gynecological surgeon who is providing physical, psychological and legal support to more than 50,000 survivors of sexual violence in the war-torn country while fearlessly seeking to bring to justice those responsible

The finalists will be honored at the Aurora Prize Ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia on May 28, 2017 when one will be chosen as the 2017 Aurora Prize Laureate. The Aurora Prize Laureate will receive a grant of US$100,000 to support the continuation of their work, as well as a US$1,000,000 award, which will give them the unique ability to continue the cycle of giving by supporting organizations that have inspired their work.

The Selection Committee, co-chaired by Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian George Clooney, includes Nobel Laureates Oscar Arias, Shirin Ebadi and Leymah Gbowee; former president of Ireland Mary Robinson; human rights activist Hina Jilani; former Foreign Minister of Australia and President Emeritus of the International Crisis Group Gareth Evans; and former president of Mexico Ernesto Zedillo. The Committee shortlisted the five finalists from more than 550 nominations for 254 unique candidates submitted by the general public from 66 countries and in 13 languages.

Speaking on behalf of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, Vartan Gregorian, Committee Member, President of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and co-founder of the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative said, “We are gratified by the enormous response generated by the call for nominations. It is an acknowledgment of our shared humanity and values. While geography and circumstances differ for each nominee, it is the similarities that unite them all. Individual human beings risk their own well-being and safety in order to rescue those in desperate need of help, and it is Aurora’s mission to support these saviors. We believe that those who are rescued will themselves continue the cycle of gratitude and giving.”

Marguerite Barankitse from Maison Shalom and REMA Hospital in Burundi was named the first Aurora Prize Laureate on April 24, 2016 in Yerevan, Armenia. Following the horrifying experience of being forced to witness the execution of 72 Hutu neighbors whom she tried to hide to keep safe from persecution, Ms. Barankitse, a Tutsi, has spent the last 20 years providing safe haven for orphans and refugees escaping violence and abuse during her country’s civil war. She has rescued and educated roughly 30,000 children, and the hospital she opened in 2008 has treated more than 80,000 patients to date.

“Children from Brazil to Ethiopia to the many Burundian refugees in Rwanda are thriving today because they now have the love, education and support they need, thanks to the generous backing of the 2016 Aurora Prize,” said Barankitse. “The powerful work of the 2017 finalists is truly awe-inspiring. These individuals embody the spirit of gratitude in action by keeping hope alive for so many of our brothers and sisters around the world. Their work is destined to unleash the human potential for love.”

The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity was established in 2015 by the Aurora Humanitarian Initiative on behalf of the survivors of the Armenian Genocide and in gratitude to their saviors. The Aurora Prize will honor an Aurora Laureate each year until 2023, in remembrance of the eight years of the Armenian Genocide (1915 -1923).

Spotlight: Joan Collins’s Charity Work

Apr 28, 2017 07:00 am

Joan Collins

Collins is patron of the International Foundation for Children with Learning Disabilities.

Joan became an honorary founding member of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children in 1990.

She received the lifetime achievement award from the Association of Breast Cancer Studies in Great Britain for her contribution to breast cancer awareness in the UK.

Read more about Joan Collins’s charity work and events.

Spotlight: Music for Relief’s Celebrity Supporters

Apr 28, 2017 06:00 am
Started by Linkin Park, Music for Relief responds to natural disasters as they occur to help victims recover and rebuild, with an emphasis on housing, education programs and resources.

The organization also recognizes the environmental consequences of global warming, which have demonstrated the capability to accelerate and strengthen certain types of natural disasters. Therefore the second goal of MUSIC FORRELIEF is to help prevent and decrease future natural disasters by reducing greenhouse gasses, seeking renewable forms of energy and educating the public about climate change.

Celebrity supporters

Music for Relief has 40 known supporters, including Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and U2

Areas of work

Read more about Music for Relief’s work and celebrity supporters.

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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.