Los Angeles, California, August 11, 2020 – Leaders in entertainment, business, philanthropy, politics, and the arts will gather virtually for a livestream of the 5th Annual Big Sunday Gala, celebrating more than two decades of the organization’s work and three distinguished honorees – Michael Skloff, Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i and Hulu on Wednesday evening, August 12th beginning at 7:00 PM PT.
Longtime friend of the organization, Patricia Heaton (“Everybody Loves Raymond”, “The Middle”) will present ViacomCBS’ Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i with her award. The evening will include a special performance by Michael Skloff of the poignant new version of the classic theme song “I’ll Be There for You,” which he recently released as an expression of comfort, solace and unity during the pandemic. David Baron, VP of Content Business Operations & Digital Supply at Hulu (and a Big Sunday Board member) will receive the award on behalf of the company. The event will be a midsummer’s evening of great entertainment, new video, and many other surprises. The livestream can be viewed here.
Big Sunday is one of the USA’s foremost organizations connecting people through helping and opportunities to volunteer. During the pandemic, while continuing to work from home, Big Sunday has been busier than ever, reaching out, helping people, and staying connected in numerous different ways. Through its Foot The Bill Fund, Big Sunday has provided emergency grants of up to $100 to more than 2,000 families in 160 towns and cities in California and fourteen other states.
Big Sunday provided over ten thousand meals at more than 25 hospitals to frontline healthcare workers, and maximized this initiative by ordering the food from local restaurants to help them and their employees during an especially difficult time, and also employed Lyft drivers to help deliver the food.
Big Sunday provided temporary paid employment for many people including: restaurant workers, caterers, musicians, magicians, dancers, yoga instructors, home organizers, drivers, photographers, cinematographers, film editors, printers, artists and others.
In addition to a full slate of virtual programming, Big Sunday introduced a daily email (Monday through Friday,) which includes ways people can connect, help, and stay entertained. Big Sunday remains in touch with its sister nonprofits all over California, responding to various needs from these organizations as they arise. Big Sunday’s 3rd Annual Summer List is now posted listing more than 150 ways that people can help both at Big Sunday and with the organization’s nonprofit partners. These include hands-on helping opportunities (for those who are aware of the risk, yet feel comfortable participating), giving opportunities, and virtual programming, as well as many other ways to help and to connect. Beginning on July 1 through August 12, Big Sunday’s headquarters on Melrose is open every Wednesday morning for a few hours to allow people to drop off items to be given away to those who are struggling. Each weekly collection, which is contactless and socially distanced, has a special focus and goal (e.g., food, clothing), with a multitude of different necessary and emergency items collected over the past six weeks. Big Sunday is also hosting its annual Back-To-School Drive over the course of a week (August 10 – August 13) during which small groups of 10 volunteers will work in several safe, masked, socially-distanced shifts to fill more than 2,000 backpacks for several schools throughout the region.
All three Gala honorees have participated with Big Sunday for many years.
Michael Skloff has a long and impressive career as a composer, arranger, music producer, music director and performer. He has been an integral and beloved part of the Big Sunday family as a volunteer, board member, benefactor and friend since 1999, when Big Sunday was a single day of service. Back then, Skloff and his family led a group that volunteered at a local retirement home. He brought his well-known musical skill, along with his usual warmth and good humor to the project. It was a memorable event, and Skloff returned numerous times over the years. In those early years, Skloff and his family hosted a culminating pizza party for hundreds of volunteers numerous times, and soon after that provided free t-shirts for all the volunteers. Skloff is a charter member of “The World Famous Big Sunday Band”, a group that has played for a decade at the Annual Big Sunday Holiday Singalong, where the guests of honor are young people with special needs to who love to sing carols with others. He has also performed at Big Sunday’s Music Night (helping collect necessities for homeless youth) and is a frequent volunteer at many Big Sunday events from school beautifications to harbor cruises.
“I support Big Sunday because they continue to show me that when we help each other we close the gaps between us, and that act has the power to heal the world. We need Big Sunday now more than ever before,” said Skloff.
Skloff embodies everything the Big Sunday organization tries to do, and his generous and giving spirit and all-around humanity embodies everything the organization strives for. Big Sunday would not be where it is today without Michael Skloff.
Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i is a visionary. A graduate of Howard University with honors, she joined CBS Entertainment as a Senior Publicist for primetime series in 2000. Since then she has been promoted to Director of Publicity, Entertainment Communications for primetime series, movies and specials. Most recently, she was promoted to Executive Vice President, Entertainment Diversity & Inclusion, West Coast, ViacomCBS.
This is a department she fought for and helped to create. In this position, Smith-Anoa’i oversees the entertainment division’s diversity and inclusion initiatives and develops new programs that recruit, nurture and hire inclusive talent to work in front of and behind the camera. In addition, she serves as the entertainment liaison to multicultural coalitions and provides outreach to agencies, guilds and other industry organizations. Smith-Anoa’i also created and launched CBS ON TOUR, a community outreach program in which executives visit schools to educate and encourage students interested in entertainment careers. She also expanded the writer selection process for “The CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase”; implemented an annual symposium with casting directors to strategize on best practices to diversify the casting process; partnered with GLAAD to host learning workshops; and joined forces with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to encourage roles for women in front of and behind the camera. In February 2018, Smith-Anoa’i co-founded and helped launch “Eye Speak,” a program designed to promote female empowerment and help forge a path of growth and opportunity for women, both inside and outside of CBS. Smith- Anoa’i has many philanthropic involvements, including The Human Rights Campaign, #SeeHer and Jack and Jill of America among many others.
Smith-Anoa’i wears many hats at Big Sunday: respected board member, important fundraiser, and valuable volunteer wrangler. Big Sunday was introduced to CBS and to Smith-Anoa’i several years ago at Big Sunday’s Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event. Annually on the day before Thanksgiving, an enormous crowd of people of all ages and backgrounds come together to fill thousands of bags of delicious holiday food for grateful and hungry people while also enjoying a big community breakfast. Smith-Anoa’i approved a generous donation for that event and CBS’s financial support was instrumental in allowing Big Sunday to fill more bags that helped more people. At the same it, it also allowed Big Sunday to accommodate more good-hearted people who wanted to join in and help. Even better, Smith-Anoa’i brought along a large group of her CBS colleagues to participate. This started a wonderful tradition with Smith-Anoa’i and her many co-workers at CBS becoming a staple at Big Sunday’s Annual Thanksgiving Stuffing Event. It was also clear that Smith-Anoa’i and Big Sunday’s mission were very much aligned. Big Sunday has been fighting to be welcoming and inclusive to everyone since the organization’s inception. Smith-Anoa’i’s track record on diversity and inclusion, and her sincere and deep-seated commitment to it, made her a logical and, indeed, important choice to join the Big Sunday board. Smith-Anoa’i has also participated in other Big Sunday events, such as the Annual MLK Day Clothing Drive and Community Breakfast joining in as part of a “Mother-Daughter” group from The Archer School.
“I have been working with Big Sunday for many years and every year we partner I am renewed by their commitment and passion to helping those in need. A testament to that commitment is holding last year’s Thanksgiving Stuffing event in the pouring rain with smiles on everyone’s faces and the steadfast determination to feed families who were without during the holidays. This is truly an organization that helps people help others. I will always support Big Sunday and I hope we can continue to spread this message and purpose to others for years to come. Ever onward!” said Smith- Anoa’i.
Big Sunday is very lucky to have Tiffany Smith- Anoa’i as part of the Big Sunday family, and the organization is delighted to honor her.
Hulu was started just over a decade ago but the company already has an extremely impressive history. Since its founding, Hulu has established itself as the leading premium streaming service offering live and on-demand TV and movies, with and without commercials, both in and outside the home. Launched in 2008, Hulu is the only service that gives viewers instant access to current shows from every major U.S. broadcast network. They also have libraries of hit TV series and films, including acclaimed Hulu Originals like Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning series The Handmaid’s Tale and The Act, Golden Globe Award-winning series Ramy, Emmy Award-nominated series including The Looming Tower, Catch-22, Castle Rock, and Pen15 alongside hit series Marvel’s Runaways, Dollface, Shrill, and Oscar and Emmy-nominated documentary film Minding the Gap. Just as impressive is that Hulu is committed to giving back to the communities where their employees live and work. They are also especially dedicated to helping a large part of their audience: our youth.
Hulu has been a valued and vital Big Sunday supporter for a number of years, assisting the organization through both donations and sweat equity. Big Sunday started partnering with Hulu when the organization was brought in to organize and facilitate Hulu’s annual Hulapalooza, where every Hulu office around the world closes for the day so that Hulu employees (Hulagans) can go out and give back to their community. Big Sunday was hired to find and plan service events for the more than 1200 people in Hulu’s Los Angeles branch. That first event was so successful – impactful, gratifying and fun – that Hulu hired Big Sunday to plan the event again in 2019. By now, Hulu had added even more employees, so the projects grew in scope and impact. This time Hulu wanted to focus on helping young people – from toddlers to young adults – in all their projects. With these events, Hulu helps countless people and organizations. Here are just a few examples: painting the gym for struggling young women at The Aviva Center; landscaping at Allies for All Children, which helps children who have been abused; cleaning the LA River in the Valley and the beach on the Westside; creating, furnishing and stocking a library with thousands of books at a Title I school in Boyle Heights; hosting literacy parties for underserved kids in mid-city; providing needed maintenance at a residence for homeless women and children in Koreatown; and doing an enormous two-part beautification at a local Title I elementary school in Baldwin Hills. In between, Hulu was not only a sponsor of Big Sunday’s Annual Holiday Singalong (where our guests of honor are young people with special needs), but the company sent a nice crowd to help sing along, cheering on and joining in with the young people who had worked hard to learn and perform a few memorable Christmas carols. Hulu employees also assisted with Big Sunday’s holiday toy drive and the organization’s winter food collection. Big Sunday is also pleased and proud to have David Baron, Vice President Content Partnerships, as a member of Big Sunday’s Board of Directors. It is worth noting that everyone, from the highest level executives to the newest interns have rolled up their sleeves to work together, make a difference and have fun participating in Hulu’s projects with Big Sunday.
“Hulu is proud to have worked with Big Sunday for the past two years on our largest annual community service event, and we’re looking forward to a third year of partnership in 2020. When choosing a partner, it was important for us to find an organization that understands the needs of the community, is able to connect us with groups on a personal level, and a team that can help us live out Hulu’s Give Back mission to help the next generation of youth break through. The Big Sunday team’s dedication to service is admirable, and they have some of the biggest hearts we’ve ever seen. Over the past two years, from Big Sunday staff to their volunteer leaders, everyone made sure that our Hulu team understood the impact they were making, felt like they made a difference in their community, and of course, had a great time volunteering. It’s an easy decision to support Big Sunday,” said Hulu.
Hulu represents the best in Corporate Social Responsibility. Big Sunday is very grateful and fortunate to be able to honor such a fine company and wonderful supporter.
Big Sunday (www.bigsunday.org) has been connecting people with opportunities to help, volunteer and to do good works together since 1999. Founded in Los Angeles 21 years ago by David Levinson with just 300 volunteers, Big Sunday has touched over a 1 million lives, engaging, empowering and uniting people of every imaginable background all over California, from San Diego to San Francisco, in 10 different states as well as Australia and the UK. Big Sunday has completed in excess of 1.75 million volunteer man-hours and the organization has collected and distributed hundreds of thousands of items of clothing, food, toiletries, and other essentials. Big Sunday has completed over 30,000 volunteer projects worth millions of dollars in donated goods and services. Recognized nationally, Big Sunday is one of the USA’s premiere resources for helping year-round. Big Sunday functions as an efficient and impactful clearing-house of volunteerism and community engagement, organizing and facilitating numerous programs and a host of unique ways for people of every age, background and means to volunteer and/or give, making it easy for diverse people to participate in good works together to support the huge variety of causes that they care about. The organization works as a resource that unites, hosts, and is connected with hundreds of individuals, families and communities, engaging, empowering and bringing together tens of thousands of volunteers from every walk of life. Big Sunday’s mission is to connect people and build community via helping. The organization is driven by the belief that absolutely everyone has some way that they can help someone else. Big Sunday events and programs have become more popular than ever, as people search for a way to focus on what we share in common and to celebrate Big Sunday’s belief that we are all in it together. Big Sunday was named by the Points of Light Foundation as one of “10 national nonprofits that are making a tremendous impact on our country’s most critical challenges by mobilizing volunteers…These organizations also demonstrate a collaborative spirit through partnerships with other organizations to help strengthen communities across the nation.”