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More Performers Announced For Keep A Child Alive Black Ball

Alicia Keys's charity work and causes

Alicia Keys

Back in July, Look to the Stars brought you a story about this year’s scheduled 6th Annual Keep A Child Alive Black Ball. As the official website promised, more artists have been announced.

One of the new honorees is Youssou N’Dour. N’Dour is a legendary Senegalese musician and he’s been consistently active in promoting the health and well-being of those in Africa. N’Dour is also scheduled to perform at The Black Ball.  To add to the excitement building over this event, two more performers are on the event list: Chris Martin and John Mayer

In addition, Queen Latifah is the event’s emcee.  Alicia Keys is event host and musical director, and Iman and Padma Lakshmi are the event’s co-hosts. The other two honorees are former President Bill Clinton and Sir Richard Branson

With only a few more days before the event, we’re pretty excited to see who else might attend and perform.

For more information about Keep A Child Alive and The 2009 Black Ball, please click here

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John Mayer Trio To Play Gigs For Military Non-Profits

John Mayer fans take note! The Grammy Award winning musician is planning a concert fundraiser with his group the John Mayer Trio.

When it comes to the JM3, John isn’t the only big name. The other two members are bass player Pino Palladino – who has been a member of The Who and played for Paul Simon – and drummer and music producer Steve Jordan, who has played with such greats as Stevie Wonder and Bruce Springsteen.

The event will happen in Las Vegas on New Year’s Eve at the Hard Rock Cafe. The tickets will be sold online on the Consider It Dan website. The event has four ticket packages which range from a VIP meet and greet with John Mayer to early VIP entrance to the show. Tickets will be offered first to fans on John Mayer’s fan mailing list on Monday, September 21st at 10am, PDT, local Las Vegas time. You need a password for access! Tickets will be available to the general public on Saturday, September 26th at noon, PDT, local Las Vegas time.

If you’re not able to attend the New Years Eve event, John Mayer will have another concert in San Diego on December 29th at the Copley Symphony Hall. This is being presented as a spin on John’s Annual Holiday Review. Tickets will go on sale to the general public on Saturday, September 26th at noon, PDT, local Las Vegas time.

Musician Mayer Hawthorne will be the support music for both shows.

These two concert events will benefit two veteran’s charities: Military Outreach Ministry Camp Pendleton (MOM) and NCIRE – the Veterans Health Research Institute. These two non-profits seek to help members of the military, their families and veterans. The MOM is a nonprofit organization that exists to support young military families of all faiths. NCIRE is a self-funded private nonprofit research institute, established in 1988 to administer health research at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. They are the largest of the 85 nonprofit research institutes associated with the Department of Veterans Affairs nationwide.

Posted by: Regina | September 18, 2009

Repost: Nelly Furtado Reads For The Record

Nelly Furtado Reads For The Record

Look To The Stars’ Regina Walton attended a very special reading of a classic children’s story and filed this report.

On September 14, singer-songwriter Nelly Furtado went to the Borough of Manhattan Community College (BMCC) Daycare Center as a spokesperson for Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign. During this event they announced that a limited edition of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar, which is the Read for the Record official campaign book, will be on sale at WalMart stores nationwide.

Photo: Nelly Furtado Reads For Charity

Read for the Record will take place on October 8, 2009. The goal is to break the world record as adults read the same book on the same day to more than one million children across the USA. Another goal of the campaign is to raise both awareness and funds to support Jumpstart’s work. Jumpstart works with preschool children in low-income communities. The organization is working toward the day when all children enter school prepared to succeed. In addition to Ms. Furtado, the program’s co-sponsors were there. Stacy Morrison, the Editor-in-Chief of Redbook, started off the conference. Also, Michelle Gilliard, Director of the WalMart Foundation, and Raymond Garcia, from the Pearson Foundation spoke.

Nelly talked about her commitment to the Jumpstart program and her commitment to the literacy cause. At the press conference, Nelly talked about her daughter who will turn six in a few days, “…reading has been such a huge part of our lives. I read to her daily when she was a baby. We have a lot of books at home. And, I was shocked to hear that… in some households there might be as little as zero, one, two or three books in low income households all across America. I remember when I was a child my parents saving their hard-earned money and buying us the Childcraft Encyclopedias. They were our whole world and inspired a love of reading. I know that it’s so important to get that language in the children before they even get to kindergarten because then they have the familiarity there. And so, it’s really special to be here because I really love books.”

Nelly echoed the same thoughts in my one-on-one with her. As a mother of a young girl, she realizes that it’s key to set the groundwork for literacy early. Jumpstart’s Read for the Record campaign is a great way to get started and make sure that children start school with the basic skills they need to succeed. For Nelly, the appeal is it’s not intimidating to get started. Anyone can get a book and read to a child. What could be easier?

Photo: Nelly Furtado and A Very Hungry Caterpillar

During the event, Nelly recorded a PSA to promote Jumpstart. However, best of all, a few lucky preschool kids got to enjoy Nelly reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar to them.

To take part in Look To The Stars’ special promotion to win a signed copy of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, click here

Posted by: Regina | September 12, 2009

Repost: John McEnroe Leads City Parks Tennis Event

John McEnroe Leads City Parks Tennis Events

September 11, 2009 by Regina Walton

On Tuesday, September 1, the CityParks Foundation of New York City held its annual CityParks Tennis Benefit, co-chaired by Billie Jean King and John McEnroe. Held each year during the US Open, the event took place at the USTA Bille Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows.

For the attendees, the evening was divided into four sections: reception and silent auction, dinner and awards presentation, live auction and then it was time for the evening matches. It gave CityPark donors time to bid on some great items, dine and socialize, as well as plenty of enough time to enjoy the evening matches.

Tennis legends were also on-hand during the event. John McEnroe and his band played during the reception and silent auction. During the dinner, Mary Carillo and Billie Jean King gave entertaining and inspiring speeches. Billie Jean talked about her deep connection with CityParks Tennis. She was one of the founding members and was very proud of what the organization has achieved. The speech section of the evening culminated with Carmen Ramirez receiving the Billie Jean King Junior Award and with Benjamin Doller receiving the Vitas Gerulaitis Community Service Award. Ms. Ramirez from Queens, New York, is a 17-year-old who has been a student of the CityParks program for seven years. She gave an inspiring speech about how the program has influenced her life. She has big dreams. Thanks, in part, to CityParks, she plans to attend college on a tennis scholarship.

During the reception, John McEnroe made sure he reminded the attendees about why they were there. While his band was playing, he encouraged the audience with light-hearted but earnest requests to participate in the silent auction and to donate generously to the CityParks Tennis program. He even offered a personal lesson. His encouragement must have been successful because the benefit raised over $300,000 for the program. This is the second highest amount in the event’s history.

The annual event raises important funds for CityParks Tennis. CityParks Tennis celebrates its 20th year anniversary this year. The program is a free youth instructional program that serves over 7,500 children in parks throughout New York City. It is one of the largest municipal tennis programs in the country. CityParks Tennis provides free tennis lessons to thousands of New York City’s kids ages 5 to 16. The program reaches over 7,500 kids in 40 parks in all five of New York City’s boroughs. The program encourages kids to be physically fit and develop self confidence. The program is available to kids at all skill levels from beginner lessons to organized tournaments.

The program has been massively successful. It has an advanced training academy, which offers talented youth in financial need the chance to bring their game to a higher competitive level. Hundreds of graduates from this program have earned college athletic scholarships, as well as sectional and national rankings. The program has also produced two players who have gone on to play on the junior level at the US Open.

To learn more about the CityParks Tennis program and to donate, click here

Dave Matthews And Rob Cavallo To Discuss Collaboration For Charity

September 9, 2009 by Regina Walton

Musician Dave Matthews and producer Rob Cavallo will have a discussion in front of an audience of only 200 people on Tuesday, September 15, at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, dealing with their collaboration on Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King.

All proceeds from this event will beneift the GRAMMY Museum and the Grammy Foundation. The Dave Matthews Band’s Bama Works Fund will match the proceeds dollar-for-dollar.

This event is available to members of the DMB fan association – which is called the Warehouse – from September 8 at 12pm ET through Thursday, September 10, at 12pm ET. Warehouse members may request up to 2 tickets. The tickets are $75 plus applicable convenience and handling fees. Confirmations will be issued by the end of the day on Friday, September 11.

The GRAMMY Museum was opened in December 2008 in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the GRAMMY Awards. It is a celebration of the power of music. It has four floors of exhibits, interactive experiences and films. There are more than two dozen exhibits that explore the greatest GRAMMY music of all genres: rock, hip-hop, country, classical, Latin, R&B and jazz.

The GRAMMY Foundation was established in 1989. Its goal is to cultivate understanding, appreciation and advancement of the contribution of recorded music to American culture. The foundation achieves this goal through programs and activities that engage both the music industry and the general public. The Foundation works in partnership with The Recording Academy to bring attention to issues such as the value and impact of music and arts education and the urgency of preserving our rich cultural heritage.

For more information and to join the DMB Warehouse, click here

Posted by: Regina | September 12, 2009

Repost: Hugh Jackman Splits $100,000 Between Two Charities

Hugh Jackman's charity work and causes

Hugh Jackman Splits $100,000 Between Two Charities

April 29, 2009 by Regina Walton

Hugh Jackman followed through on his April 14th promise to donate $100,000 to charity based on the best 140 character or less message explaining why their chosen charity should get the cash.

Jackman sent out a tweet announcing the recipients, “Thank you for all of your passionate responses. I have chosen charity:water and Operation of Hope. Keep your generous spirit flowing!” He also announced the recipients live on Ryan Seacrest’s morning radio show.

On Seacrest’s show, Jackman said he got so many great tweets about great causes that he was unable to choose just one. The two that recieve the final donation are the two that “really got him.“

Charity:Water is a New York City based non-profit which focuses on bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations. Charity:Water was founded in 2006 and since then it has helped fund 1,247 projects in 14 countries and has brought 669,045 people clean and safe drinking water. For more information, visit charitywater.org.

Operation of Hope is a non-profit medical foundation started in 1989. Its mission is to donate surgeries to children who have facial deformities. The charity has an all-volunteer medical team. Operation of Hope performs facial surgeries on poor children around the world. All the operations are performed free of charge and all of their surgeons are Board Certified. For more information, visit operationofhope.org.

During the interview Hugh expressed his amazement with the communication potential that Twitter has. “It’s just amazing to me that Twitter has now become a way for people to start talking about things that are really important to them and making a difference.”

We’re glad that Hugh recognized this potential. He not only helped two charities with donations but also helped many good causes spread the word about their efforts.

Listen to the show, courtesy RyanSeacrest.com
Posted by: Regina | September 12, 2009

Repost: Hugh Jackman Tweets Massive Charity Giveaway

April 15, 2009 by Regina Walton

Hugh Jackman has used Twitter to announce that he will donate $100,000 to the favorite charity of someone who can, in 140 characters or less, make the best case for their favorite cause.

“I will donate 100K to one individual’s favorite non profit organization,” he said in his Tweet. “Of course, you must convince me why by using 140 characters or less.”

He then followed his call for charity related tweets with two more – one to Ryan Seacrest asking if it would be a good idea to announce the winner on Ryan’s show: “Hey Ryan! Should we call the winning charity on your morning show on Friday, 24th?”

And, the second to encourage someone to show passion in their tweet for charity, “The more passion shown for your charity the better! Get the support of your friends and teach them the importance of giving.”

As of early Wednesday morning, Jackman had around 35,000 followers on the Twitter network. So get tweeting now!

Posted by: Regina | September 12, 2009

Repost: Interview: Diane Pernet Talks To Look To The Stars

Diane Pernet's charity work and causes

Interview: Diane Pernet Talks To Look To The Stars

November 20, 2008 by Regina Walton

Seoul Fashion Week S/S 09 took place at the end of October this year.

Among the fashion experts to attend was Diane Pernet. A photographer and filmmaker, in the 80s and 90s Pernet was also a fashion designer for her own fashion line in New York City. That line received attention from magazines like Vogue and was worn by supermodels such as Janice Dickerson. In the mid-1990s she moved to Paris and has lived there ever since.

Pernet has been a fashion journalist and critic for heavy weights such as Elle.com and VogueParis.com. She is an associate editor for Zoo Magazine and is also a consultant and editor for the biggest online fashion network, Igons.com. She is also works as a curator and fashion and photo scout for the d’Hyeres festival. Most important, she is probably best known for having one of the most influential websites on fashion, A Shaded View on Fashion (ASVOF). In addition to ASVOF she has a film project which brings together her two loves: fashion and film.

One distinctive thing about Diane is her look. She is someone who knows the fashion industry from many angles, but interestingly her look is static. She’s known for wearing her dark hair in a towering pompadour with a black veil, black cat eye shades, and layers of black clothing. This constant look stands in stark contrast to her pale white skin and dramatic rogue lips.

I had a chance to sit down with her and ask her a few questions about her charity and fundraising work.

She started off by telling me that she’d just participated in an online auction with Lee Cooper (a British Denim company). The company asked Pernet to draw upon her talent and experience as a fashion designer, and they requested that she design an outfit that would be auctioned off on eBay.

She added that Lee Cooper is also is involved with Designers Against AIDS (DAA), a non-profit that lists her in their Hall of Fame. DAA’s mission is “to raise AIDS Awareness in the international media and towards the general public, more specifically towards young people in the industrialized countries.” They do this by “asking famous and emerging fashion designers, musicians, artists and other celebrities to create designs that we then print on items such as T-shirts, sweaters, bags, hoodies, condom boxes, ringbinders, etc.”

Diane also told me about the Le Bal d’Amour. She said it’s similar to The Love Ball that is held in New York City. When she first moved to Paris in the mid-90s she worked full time without pay for six months to help put together an event for Le Bal d’Amour, which was “a huge thing.” She said that the goal was to raise money for people who were actually suffering from AIDS and to distribute those funds directly to AIDS organizations that would get help “to the people who really needed it.”

She ended our discussion on her charity and non-profit work with this quote, “I have to say nothing feels better than helping other people. I do it in my own way with fashion, but also with causes…”

Interview: Death Cab for Cutie Talks to Look To The Stars

Summertime in Seoul, South Korea, like in many other big cities, is the time for music festivals. Being a new columnist on the interview beat here in Seoul means I had the chance to attend a few of those festivals and was able to interview some of the artists, too.

During Seo Tai-ji’s 2008 ETP Festival I sat down and talked to two of the members of Death Cab for Cutie – bassist Nick Harmer and drummer Jason McGerr – before their set. I asked them a few questions about their charity work and causes they support both as a group and as individuals.

Jason McGerr made it clear that they are a group that take their causes seriously and that they do their best to “think globally and act locally.” To this end, a portion of their concert ticket proceeds go to the Seattle Public Schools Lunch program.

Nick says, “We’re probably most active as a group with the Seattle Public Schools…to get all those kids fed.”

They also donate both time and money to various music programs in Washington State, and they give table space to non-profit organizations such as Planned Parenthood and to voter registration organizations.

In 2006, they were invited to play at the annual Bridge School Benefit. The Bridge School Benefit is a concert organized by musician Neil Young and his wife, Pegi, that takes place in Mountain View, California. The school’s mission is to help students with severe speech and physical challenges learn the skills needed to fully participate in their communities.

Also, Death Cab contributed a track to the 2007 Causes 1 benefit album to help ease the humanitarian crisis Daufur, Sudan. The benefit album is available on iTunes.

In addition, Death Cab’s guitarist and producer, Chris Walla, attended the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado along with lead singer Ben Gibbard where they performed at a few shows to benefit the political causes they support.

During the DNC they performed at the “Concert for a Cooler Planet”, the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Rally, and the “Fix Health Care Now” rally. In addition, Chris Walla also wrote a blog from the DNC for Rolling Stone Magazine.

Individually, Nick and Jason describe Chris Walla as “the PETA guy.” Chris has been a vegetarian since he was a teenager. He made a public service announcement for PETA which encourages people to “try vegetarianism”.

Ben Gibbard is also vegetarian. As a group, Death Cab has supported PETA by giving away copies of the 2005 DVD Drive Well, Sleep Carefully. The teamwork regarding the vegetarian lifestyle and cause also shows up in how they tour. Nick and Jason describe themselves as “conscious omnivores”. However, during Death Cab’s tours they eat vegetarian meals.

Jason said, “We’ll roll that way for an entire tour just because it’s just easier having food brought in or prepared.”

“It’s easier to say the whole band is vegetarian because we can eat that, for sure, [but] they [Chris Walla and Ben Gibbard] can’t eat the other options,” added Nick.

Nick donates both time and money to the 826 Valencia Writing Center. 826 Valencia is the creation of author Dave Eggers and educator Nínive Calegari. 826 Valencia mission is to support children ages 6 to 18 with their writing skills and to help educators get excited about their student’s writing. 826 Valencia started in San Francisco but now has programs in NYC, Los Angeles, Michigan, Seattle, Chicago and Boston.

Nick says “I’ve donated money and I’ve donated time. I taught a class last year at 826.”

Nick also supports Kiva. “That’s actually a really cool organization. They’re loan brokers for underdeveloped and impoverished areas where people are trying to get businesses started.”

Kiva is a non-profit organization that helps people in developing countries with small loans. Their mission is to connect people together to alleviate poverty. They do this by helping match lenders with entrepreneurs in need of small loans. Lenders browse the profiles of small business owners, choose an entrepreneur and amount to loan to the entrepreneur. Kiva’s partners then distribute the loans and often they also help the entrepreneur with training and other services to help their businesses be successful.

“I’ve been doing that for awhile. It’s been actually really great. I’ve been paid back for every loan I’ve lent out. It’s awesome to have the one-on-one connection with a business owner. It’s really personal. It’s not, like, [you] give your money to some faceless organization. It’s a really fun thing to be involved with,” Nick said.

Jason said, “[My] charitable time is in the world of music [and] the world of teaching and education, spending time in Seattle public schools [and] private teaching schools and donating my time for school camps. Because we’re able to do what we love and make our livings doing it, it is my duty to give back. The budgets in the public school system for not only lunches but for extracurricular programs are just not there anymore. Nick’s mom was a principal for years, she could tell you. My mom was a teacher was a teacher for years, so education has been in my background and upbringing for years and years and years. I used to teach in a music school and don’t have much time now, but when I do have time I certainly volunteer all my time…”

The guys in Death Cab definitely show their commitment to thinking globally but acting locally, backing up their words with both donations and with actions.

Thanks, Nick and Jason, for taking the time to talking to us about the causes important to you!

Posted by: Regina | August 23, 2008

Officially over ;)

I’m more behind the scenes at Look to the Stars than actively writing these days. However, I do have a couple of interviews that I need to write.

I will continue to update this blog when any articles I write there go up, but I’ll focus all my celebrity charity and giving work writing on that site.

There is no need to have it on different sites. For the bits of news I did post on my own, I’ll keep this blog up.

Therefore, it’s best to go to Look to the Stars directly for news and updates.

Take care.

Regina ;)

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