Last week at the 6th Annual Save the Children Illumination Gala, Save the Children, the leading organization investing in childhood, honored award-winning journalist David Muir, anchor of ABC’s “World News Tonight;” SB Projects Founder Scooter Braun; and the organization’s philanthropic corporate partner Mondelēz International.
The event, which took place on Wednesday, Nov 14, 2018, at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, was hosted by actor and Save the Children Trustee Jennifer Garner and featured a special musical performance by MILCK.
The Illumination Gala supported Save the Children’s efforts to give more children a stronger start in life by helping end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths and by supporting early childhood education. In recognition of the occasion, Save the Children celebrated each of the honorees for their achievements in giving children a brighter future.
Jennifer Garner, who has worked with the organization for more than a decade, spoke about her own upbringings and why Save the Children’s mission is so close to her. She said, “Somebody’s gotta focus on the U.S. Having grown up around rural poverty, with a mom who grew up in rural poverty in Oklahoma, and I grew up in West Virginia, it’s just been really important to me that I find a way to help people like the people who helped my mom.”
David Muir, anchor and managing editor of ABC’s “World News Tonight,” accepted the Voice Award for his extraordinary commitment to bringing attention to some of the worst humanitarian crises of our time. He ended his inspiring speech by saying, “This honor is for the children, for their bravery, for their strength and let’s celebrate their future because all of us in this room have the power to make sure they have one.” Muir traveled to Somaliland with Save the Children President & CEO Carolyn Miles in 2016 to report on the food crisis and drought affecting over half the population, including millions of children. The response to his reporting was overwhelming, raising over $3 million for Save the Children’s programs in mere days.
Kelly Ripa, who was on hand to present the honor to her friend, said, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving than David for this award, because he chooses to use his voice as a megaphone for the forgotten.”
Scott “Scooter” Braun, founder of SB Projects was awarded the Humanitarian Award for his visionary leadership in mobilizing massive public support for the children and families affected by the unprecedented hurricane season in 2017. In organizing the “Hand-in-Hand” telethon and raising more than $60 million to support survivors, Braun shined a spotlight on the destruction left behind by these historic, back-to-back storms to over 40 million viewers – and in so doing, brought the country together and gave people a reason to hope. Funds raised from the telethon have helped Save the Children serve over 412,000 children and adults in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico to date. He stated in his speech, “When I come home at night, I see my two boys and they don’t know what I do for a living. They just know daddy is home and they just smile. Everything else doesn’t matter. That’s the gift a child gives an adult. They remind us that the simpler things are the most important things and that they deserve our honestly and our love. I think what [Save the Children] does as an organization allows more children to smile and hopefully more adults to realize those truths.” He insisted on sharing the honor with award presenter and Hand-in-Hand Telethon Executive Producer Bun B. Braun spoke of Bun B, “It’s nice to be a humanitarian, but it’s better to be a hero.”
Save the Children’s Visionary Award was presented to Mondelēz International for its commitment to driving positive impact on people and the planet through its Cocoa Life initiative and the Mondelēz Foundation. Chief sustainability, well-being and public & government affairs officer, Christine McGrath, accepted the award for the organization. In her acceptance speech, McGrath stated, “I truly believe that through our long-standing partnership, Save the Children and Mondelēz International together are empowering communities to be healthier and more sustainable – now and into the future.” Programs in Australia, India, Italy and Mexico – which have reached more than half a million people – have fostered environments to help children, families and communities lead healthier lives through nutrition education, active play and access to fresh food. In Indonesia, Mondelēz International has also partnered with Save the Children on its sustainable cocoa program that works with farmers to help them gain the skills necessary to improve their livelihoods, strengthen their communities and inspire the next generation of cocoa farmers.
Gala presenting sponsor Johnson & Johnson officially launched their new digital tool, Wisdom by Kids. According to Save the Children Trustee and Johnson & Johnson Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resource Officer Peter Fasolo, who spoke at the event, Wisdom by Kids is designed to “capture the ‘wise words’ of young children and allow parents, grandparents, friends, and family to share them with the world to raise donations for Save the Children.” For every quote shared on social media, Johnson & Johnson will donate $1 to Save the Children, up to $1 million dollars.
President & CEO of Save the Children Carolyn Miles, spoke about the progress being made and Save the Children’s continued commitment to saving young lives, “Over 20 years ago, 12 million children in the world under the age of five died of preventable causes. Today, that number has been more than cut in half to 5.4 million. But that’s still 15,000 children a day who die before reaching their fifth birthday, and many of those children die in the first months of their young lives. So, yes, we have come very far indeed. But there is still so much work to do.”
Other notable guests who attended included fashion designer, philanthropist, Gala Co-Chair and Save the Children Trustee Gabriela Hearst; model and actress Lauren Hutton; Save the Children President & CEO Carolyn Miles; Save the Children Senior Vice President, U.S. Programs & Advocacy Mark Shriver; and CEO of Corbin Capital Partners and Gala Co-Chair Tracy Stuart, among others.