Save the Children, the leading independent organization for children in need in the United States and around the world, held their third annual Illumination Gala this week, where it was announced that actor and activist Olivia Wilde is the new artist ambassador for Save the Children.
Other notable figures honored for their work included Emmy Award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN and neurosurgeon Sanjay Gupta M.D., Vlogbrothers Hank and John Green, Capital Cities/ABC and Save the Children chairman emeritus Thomas S. Murphy and the organization’s philanthropic corporate partner TOMS. The event was hosted by actor and Save the Children trustee Jennifer Garner and took place at The Plaza in New York City. Country music superstar and Grammy Award-winning artist Brad Paisley performed his hit songs “Southern Comfort Zone,” “Shattered Glass” and "American Saturday Night.
The Advocate Award was given to Olivia Wilde, actor and activist, who was recognized for galvanizing support for frontline health workers through the 1 Million Community Health Workers Campaign to help save lives of thousands of mothers and babies. In her new role as Save the Children artist ambassador, Olivia Wilde will focus on maternal, newborn and child survival. She spoke of her new appointment with passion: “The work that Save the Children does is comprehensive, effective and absolutely necessary […] I want to be a part of the active solution, that’s why I’m a part of this important organization.”
The gala benefited Save the Children’s mission to give all children a stronger start in life by helping end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths and supporting early childhood education. Save the Children honored the following esteemed guests for their achievements in giving children a brighter future:
• Thomas S. Murphy, chairman emeritus, Save the Children and Capital Cities/ABC, was presented with The Humanitarian Award, where he was recognized for his dedication to improving children’s lives. Co-founder of the Halaby-Murphy Fund for humanitarian response, Murphy is a tireless champion for the most vulnerable children around the world.
• Vlogbrothers, Hank and John Green were recognized for inspiring youth through the power of social media, organizing Project for Awesome and mobilizing the Nerdfighter movement to take action to help kids in need. For all their great and hard work, the Green brothers were given The Awesome Award. John Green is also an award-winning author of the New York Times young adult best sellers Paper Towns and The Fault in Our Stars.
• Jim Alling, CEO of TOMS was in attendance to accept the The Visionary Award on behalf of the company. TOMS was recognized for its leadership in corporate philanthropy, engagement and commitment to helping improve maternal and child survival, health and education globally and in the United States.
• Chief medical correspondent, at CNN, Sanjay Gupta, M.D., was presented The Voice Award where he was recognized for drawing on his medical expertise and diligent reporting to shine a spotlight on health and wellness issues affecting kids and families around the world. As a broadcast journalist, Dr. Gupta lends his voice to those who often go unheard.
Save the Children trustee Jennifer Garner talked about her recent trip to Bishopville, South Carolina where more than 40 percent of children live in poverty. She said, “Whether you are a mom or dad in South Carolina or South Sudan, all parents want the best for their children.”
When receiving The Awesome Award for their inspiring work, John and Hank Green spoke of their dreams for all children.“I have a 5-year-old son, and it is my hope that when he graduates from college he lives in a world where children do not die from preventable causes,” said John Green.
Joaquin Duato, worldwide chairman for pharmaceuticals of Johnson & Johnson, announced the company’s most recent donation of 1.75 million dollars to Save the Children to address the challenges of the Syrian refugee crisis.
Additional guests in attendance included Bianna Golodryga (news anchor, Yahoo!), Stephanie March (actor, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit), Kimberly Williams-Paisley (actor and author), Carolyn Miles (president and CEO, Save the Children), Anne Mulcahy (chair of the board of trustees, Save the Children), Brian Philips (president, Viacom Media Network’s CMT), Mark Shriver (president, Save the Children Action Network) and more.
The gala was once again presented by Johnson & Johnson with generous support from T.J.Maxx.