The International Rescue Committee honored designer and philanthropist Diane von Furstenberg with the Freedom Award and Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, Inc. with the John C. Whitehead Humanitarian Award at the recent Rescue Dinner Benefit.
The annual dinner raised $16.8 million to support the organization’s lifesaving humanitarian work around the world.
The evening’s program celebrated two visionary philanthropists their pioneering leadership and significant contributions to IRC’s mission. The event also featured inspirational stories of courage, resilience and hope from IRC staff and beneficiaries.
The Freedom Award, presented to Diane von Furstenberg, honors those who have made extraordinary contributions in support of refugees, and who have championed the cause of liberty, individual freedom and dignity. Diane von Furstenberg, a legend in the fashion industry, is a dedicated philanthropist and an outspoken advocate for vulnerable people.
“So here we are tonight, all together, living in this very strange moment in this very strange world, with borders and doors closing more and more. So what can we do? How can we help?” Diane Von Furstenberg asked. “The task seems so large…. Caring matters. Compassion matters. And you must remember that behind every single life we save, there is a whole dynasty behind them. My family, and the family I created are proof of that. My mother survived, and we’re all here. So I beg you to support this wonderful organization.”
Larry Fink received the John C. Whitehead Humanitarian Award. The award was created in recognition of Mr. Whitehead’s half-century of transformational leadership of the IRC. It is presented annually to individuals who embody Mr. Whitehead’s spirit and passion for humanitarian causes and who have made significant contributions to saving and improving lives around the world. This year, the IRC honored his legacy by presenting the award to Mr. Fink, a global business leader who has been at the forefront of efforts to promote responsible, long-term business practices.
“Today we see a world that is increasingly turning away the most vulnerable people. A world that is making scapegoats of the individuals who are in desperate need of our help,” stated Larry Fink. “But at this time, in the midst of this anger, we cannot turn away. We cannot turn our backs on the refugees or the growing nationalism around the world. We have to face these challenges head on. For the sake of the vulnerable. For the sake of all of us, together.”
“Now, more than ever before we must come together to support the world’s most vulnerable – the 68.5 million who have fled their homes as a result of crisis and conflict,” said David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee. “While the scope and scale of the crisis may be great, we should not lose hope. Every individual, community, company and organization has a part to play. Any action – big or small – has a ripple effect that can change the lives of thousands. It’s why we’re proud to honor both Diane von Furstenberg and Larry Fink. Diane, who has seen firsthand IRC’s efforts across the globe, is an outspoken advocate for refugees, using her voice and incredible platform to help change hearts and minds. And at a time when governments are in retreat, Larry has shown great leadership in galvanizing the private sector to address major societal issues. We’re grateful to them both for their significant and positive contributions that allow the IRC to provide life-saving programs across the globe.”
Broadway actress Ariana Rosario performed at the event and other attendees included: Belly, Jason Blum, Kathryn Bigelow, Tom Brokaw, Barry Diller, Keegan-Michael Key, Lester Holt, Dr. Mehmet Oz, and artist Marc Quinn.
To learn more about the Rescue Dinner please click here.