By Tim Saunders on
Matt Damon returned to Toronto on Monday to host his third consecutive Difference Awards ceremony for ONEXONE.
Over 500 guest attended the gala, which featured performances from Wyclef Jean, John Legend, Nikki Yanofsky, and the African Children's Choir.
ONEXONE is a non-profit organization that supports children in Canada and abroad. Established less than four years ago by Joelle Adler, it has already raised over $5 million and created partnerships with major corporations and foundations, such as H2O Africa, the Yéle Haiti Foundation, Millennium Promise, War Child and Spread the Net.
“This is stupid poverty we’re talking about,” said Damon, during his speech about helping people in Africa. “Every day, malaria claims thousands of lives that we didn’t need to lose.”
Damon also revealed that he credits becoming a parent for his commitment to helping children through charity work: “At a certain point it becomes difficult to look at other children and not see your own. Something does change in you once you become a parent… There definitely is a shift there that makes you, I think, a little more obsessed about helping children – But it’s not like before I had kids, I was like: ‘to heck with those kids!’”
ONEXONE will launch in the US in October, with an event featuring Carlos Santana planned for San Francisco. And Damon is proud to announce that next year Eddie Vedder has been confirmed to perform for the organization.
“A lot of my friends and a lot of the people I admire in the business choose to spend their celebrity capital trying to raise awareness about things and improve the conditions in people’s lives,” said Damon. “We’ll all be lying on that bed one day, and you have to make your peace with who you’ve been.”
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