Cause Creative Space: American Giving Awards
Last night on NBC was the very first American Giving Awards. It was referred to as “A Celebrity Tribute to Community Heroes” — and that it was. It was an exciting show, full of amazing performances, with the simple goal of spotlighting some of the best charity organizations out there.
Five different causes were chosen based on votes made on Facebook: TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms), The Matthew Shepard Foundation, Let’s Get Ready, Wish Upon a Hero Foundation, and Move for Hunger. Each of the 5 charities would be awarded money to support their cause, with the winning charity being awarded $1 million at the end of the night.
The evening was filled with celebrities. Some were presenting awards, some were performing, and some were there simply to support causes they care about. The night began with a performance from Rodney Atkins. He was followed by performances from Taio Cruz, Leann Rimes, Jackie Evancho, and the evening ended with will.i.am.
We couldn’t dream up something like this. To even be in the room with the people here would be wonderful, but to be in the mix and have a shot at the $1 million dollars is amazing … and even more than that, to have a platform to talk about our mission and talk about issues that people tend to not talk about … Encourage people that it’s okay to be honest about your struggles and your questions. As people, we need other people.
Later that night, Jamie was presented an American Giving Award by one of TWLOHA’s biggest supporters, Miley Cyrus. At the end of the show, it was announced that TWLOHA was the winner of the $1 million award!
Obviously, J.R. Martinez has been a busy guy lately with Dancing With The Stars, but when he’s not in endless dance rehearsals, we wanted to know which causes he devoted his time to.
When it comes to troops, I work with Operation Finally Home, which is run by a great friend of mine who is building homes for troops who are severely injured in Iraq and Afghanistan, and building mortgage free, custom homes for them. Also, there’s the Phoenix Society, which is a burn survivor organization for all survivors, and teaches them how to integrate back into day-to-day life, and works to educate the rest of us on how to easily accept these survivors.
We were also able to talk to Judy Shepard, who founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation in memory of her son, who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime.
We’re focusing right now on bullying in schools with young people, and trying to make their world safer than it has been in the past…. You know, we’re all connected to the gay community somehow, with family members, loved ones, co-workers, people you go to school with…. you just need to care about your fellow human being. So, pick an organization that’s local, or come to our website, just do something to help make life better. Be kind to one another.
As Miss USA, Alyssa Campanella gets to work with a variety of great causes, but we wanted to know which ones were particularly special to her.
One very special organization to me is Susan G. Komen. My grandmother was diagnosed with cancer last year, and is now officially a survivor. Also, the USO…. My grandfather was in the Navy and my best friend was in the Marines for 4 years in Afghanistan, so to get to volunteer and work hands-on with the troops has been incredible. And also, Gods Love We Deliver. I recently got to work in their kitchens, and got to cook for 4,100 people in 1 day!
“As Miss USA, I get to work with so many great charitable organizations, and I love being able to give back … And seeing other people here who take time out of their lives just to contribute to others as well, it means a lot to be here.”
A highlight of the night was when Donald Sutherland, from the upcoming Hunger Games, presented Colin Farrell with the AGA Leadership Award for all his continued charity work, particularly with FAST (Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics), which Colin’s son has been diagnosed with.
It was a great night, and though this was the first American Giving Awards, we’re sure it won’t be the last.