Save the Children, the international humanitarian organization, held its “Centennial Celebration: Once in a Lifetime” on Wednesday evening, paying tribute to the organization’s 100th anniversary and mission to do whatever it takes for the most vulnerable children in the U.S. and around the world.

James Taylor performs at Save the Children's Centennial Celebration
James Taylor performs at Save the Children's Centennial Celebration

The West Coast event, held at The Beverly Hilton Hotel, was hosted by Save the Children trustee and actor Jennifer Garner and honored The Walt Disney Company Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert A. Iger with the Centennial Award, which was presented by Oprah Winfrey. James Taylor performed hit songs “You’ve Got a Friend” and “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You)”, and ‘Shower the People" accompanied by the Amani Children’s Choir from Uganda and the Mid Cities Youth Choir.

Iger was recognized for his continuous efforts to improve and protect children’s lives, every day and in times of crisis, and to lift the spirits of children and families around the globe. Under Iger’s leadership, The Walt Disney Company has partnered with Save the Children in support of emergency preparedness and disaster response and recovery efforts worldwide, including prepositioning supplies in areas vulnerable to disaster, creating innovative programs to raise awareness and funds to serve the needs of children, and providing school supplies, personal care products, toys and books. For well over a decade, Disney also has made significant contributions in the wake of natural disasters and other global emergencies around the world.

“Well, I’ll tell you the truth: This is not really where I intended to be tonight. I was hoping by this time early fall I’d be knocking on doors in Des Moines, wearing an “Iger 20/20” t-shirt, because I really do believe that Bob Iger’s guidance and decency is exactly what the country needs right now," said Oprah Winfrey, who was on hand to present Iger with the Save the Children Centennial Award. She continued, “Children are the bond that brings Disney and Save the Children together, helping them to thrive in impossible situations, lifting them (as Jennifer mentioned earlier) from disaster, and giving them the support they need to reach their potential and actually have a real shot at the future that every young boy and girl deserves. And these same shared values are exemplified through all of Disney’s outreach efforts. That comes from a leader who has vision, who has integrity, who has decency, and has a daring and a very generous heart.”

Upon receiving his award, Iger said: “One of the most effective ways to drive the change we all want to see and create the future we all want to live in is to ensure every child has the support they need to thrive, to rise, and to become everything they were meant to be, regardless of background or circumstance.” He continued: “That’s the message and the mission of Save the Children – it’s also a belief my wife, Willow, and I share and a goal The Walt Disney Company is proud to support.”

Notable chef Wolfgang Puck announced that he is also a beneficiary of Save the Children from when he was a child living in post-WWII Austria. He spoke candidly about being placed on a train to England with many other kids where Save the Children assisted with meals and sports. During this moment in the program, Puck said “it’s such an amazing thing for me to be here today… we all know that children are our future, so let’s continue to help them.”

The evening included a special in memoriam to the legendary Cokie Roberts, the late NPR News and ABC News journalist and Save the Children trustee, who recently passed away due to complications from breast cancer. Bob Daly (former Save the Children board chairman and president of Rulemaker, Inc.), and Tom Murphy (former chairman and CEO emeritus of Capital Cities/ABC, Inc. and chairman emeritus of Save the Children) presented the tribute of Roberts’ work with the organization.

“Centennial Celebration: Once in a Lifetime” was produced by film executive, producer, director and Save the Children trustee Joe Roth. This event marked the first West Coast celebratory event for Save the Children in honor of the organization’s centennial year. Additional guests in attendance included Drew Carey, who surprised longtime Save the Children trustee Jennifer Garner for her continued commitment to the organization. Chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini Stefano Domenicali, Derek Hough, Louis Cole, Suki Waterhouse, Rachel Zoe, Anthony Anderson, Ellen Pompeo, Lake Bell, and Karamo Brown were also present.

Earlier this year, the organization launched the Save the Children Promise of Childhood Campaign to secure $100 million that, according to Jennifer Garner, “we’ll use to accelerate our work for children today and ensure we are there to meet the challenges of tomorrow.” She continued: “I am thrilled to announce that Save the Children has received a much-needed commitment of $2 million from Dubai Cares to ensure children in conflict settings have access to early childhood development and the nurturing care they deserve.” The news about the fundraising comes on the heels of “The Centennial Gala: Changing the World for Children” in New York City on Sept. 12, 2019, an event which raised over $3 million for the organization and honored Camila Cabello and Tommy Hilfiger.

Honorary co-chairs of the West Coast event include: Jim Berkus, Skip Brittenham, Carole Bayer Sager and Bob Daly, Linda and Jerry Bruckheimer, Baron Davis, Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart, David Geffen, the Robert Glass Family, Karen and Russell Goldsmith, Sam Gores, Brian Grazer, Charlotte Guyman, Austin Hearst, Mia and Brian Henson, Alan Horn, Ron Howard, Kathleen Kennedy, Bobby Kotick, Ynon Kriez, Lynn and Norman Lear, Richard Lovett, George Lucas Family Foundation, Eddie Marks, Ron Meyer, Anne Mulcahy, Thomas S. Murphy, Julie Nordstrom, Ambassador Charles Rivkin, Mark and Jeanne Shriver, Chris Silbermann, Sir Howard Stringer and Tom Werner.
Co-presenting partners of Save the Children’s “Centennial Celebration: Once in a Lifetime” include Automobili Lamborghini, City National Bank, Ulta Beauty, and Western Costume.

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