The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) held its annual fundraising gala in St. Tropez last night, hosted by Foundation Chairman Leonardo DiCaprio and LDF Global Fundraising Chairman Milutin Gatsby.

More than $40 Million was raised to benefit LDF, which is dedicated to protecting Earth’s last wild places and implementing solutions to preserve and save the environment.

Leonardo DiCaprio opened the evening with an impassioned speech about the Foundation’s work and stated, "Tonight’s event is about supporting LDFs efforts to protect key species like the tiger, rhino, shark, and mountain gorilla by working with governments to conserve the jungles, coral reefs and forests they call home. By focusing on protecting these critically-endangered iconic species is almost like setting up a worldwide network of Noahs arks.

“We’ve decimated our forests, wildlands, polluted and over fished our rivers and oceans; all the key ecosystems that not only serve as a home to our planet’s biodiversity, but also make life here for us possible.”

DiCaprio continued, “I’m incredibly proud to be part of a night that will allow us to do so much to protect the planet.”

The live auction event, presented by long-term partner Julius Baer and co-sponsors Chopard and Armani, opened with Leonardo offering several personal items up for bid, including his own Rolex Daytona Cosmograph watch, and Andy Warhol and Bansky artworks from his personal collection. All of the items given by DiCaprio raised close to $2 million.

The event featured an extensive live auction of fine art, luxury items, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences conducted by Simon de Pury, some highlights of which included:
• Ownership of an estate home on Leonardo DiCaprio’s own Belize island, Blackadore Caye, sold to Tom Barrack for over $11 Million. This was the first and only time that a private estate home was offered for auction on Blackadore Caye, which is being developed as the world’s greenest island resort. The remaining 45 estates will be offered by private invitation only.
HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco donated several once-in-a-lifetime experiences to the auction, offering to accompany the winning bidder on each: An arctic expedition, which sold for more than $1.6 Million, and private diving at Monaco’sunique protected Larvotto Marine Reserve, which raised over $400,000.
• A private concert with Elton John sold twice for a total of $3 million.
• A limited re-edition of Rodin’s “The Thinker,” made in connection with the Rodin Museum using iconic sculpture’s original cast, sold for nearly $2 Million.
• Richard Prince’s “Untitled (Cowboy)” 2012 sold for more than $2 Million.
• Movie producer Harvey Weinstein donated a stunning collection of experiences, offering to have the winning bidder be his personal guest at the most coveted events in the world for an entire year. This included access to the Academy Awards, screenings and events at the Cannes Film Festival, the Met Gala, and White House Correspondents Dinner, a visit to a Weinstein Company movie set, and more. The package raised $1.1 Million.
• A painting by Rudolf Stingel sold to Len Blavatnikfor $900,000. Mr. Blavatnik spent over $2 Million on the night in he auction.

The gala featured a surprise impromptu performance by Elton John, who sang a number of his iconic hits, including “Tiny Dancer,” and a special performance by nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter John Legend. Supporters in attendance included Event Chairs HRH Albert II Prince of Monaco, Boris F.J. Collardi, CEO of Presenting Sponsor Julius Baer, the leading Swiss private banking group, Marion Cotillard, Phillipe Cousteau, Kate Hudson, Sir Elton John and David Furnish, and Caroline Scheufele, as well as guests Orlando Bloom, Adrien Brody, Naomi Campbell, Goldie Hawn, Heidi Klum, Petra Nemcova, Irina Shayk, Chris Tucker, and Chrissy Teigen, among many others. The evening continued with music from DJ Cassidy.

Since 1998, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) has been on a mission to protect the Earth’s last wild places, implementing solutions that restore balance to threatened ecosystems, and ensure the long-term health and wellbeing of all its inhabitants.

Through grantmaking, public campaigns and media initiatives LDF, a component fund of the California Community Foundation, brings attention and needed funding to three areas: protecting biodiversity, ocean & forest conservation, and climate change. The Foundation works in close collaboration with a broad network of environmental leaders and experts, effective organizations, and committed philanthropists to identify and support innovative, results-driven projects in the world’s most wild and threatened ecosystems. Currently LDF supports over 70 high-impact projects in more than 40 countries around the world.

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