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In the first week of the Venice Film Festival, Brad Pitt and George Clooney have once again been combining film and philanthropy.

The famous duo continued their recent tradition by holding a fundraising gala last Tuesday in support of their Not On Our Watch charity.

In its first year, the charity has raised more than $7 million to help victims of humanitarian crises and disasters, according to executive director Alex Wagner. This single event on Venice’s Giudecca Island was expected to raise as much as $2 million.

The group has received heartfelt praise from the United Nations after its March grant of $500,000 to keep U.N. aircraft flying aid into the Darfur region of Sudan. This followed a $1 million donation to the same program a year earlier.

The World Food Program’s air service to Darfur brings 3,000 aid workers a month to the stricken region, where the U.N. charity fed 3.3 million people last month. Almost 100 World Food Program food trucks have been hijacked this year, and the air service is becoming ever more critical.

U.N. spokesoman Bettina Luescher emphasised the importance of the donation to the air service: "We sent out a press release one day saying we were on the verge of closing it down and the next day we had $500,000.

“They shine the light on the real emergencies and step up where we really need help.”

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