Stand Up for Heroes (SUFH), New York’s highly anticipated night of hope, healing and laughter, returned for its 15th annual celebration to honor our nation’s impacted veterans and their families, on Monday, November 8th at Alice Tully Hall at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
The event raised awareness and funds for the Bob Woodruff Foundation, whose mission is to find, fund, shape, and accelerate equitable solutions that help the veteran and military community thrive. Stand Up for Heroes was presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) and the New York Comedy Festival (NYCF) and was brought to you by Craig Newmark Philanthropies, Veterans On Wall Street, Alliance Data, HSBC, Citi, UBS, Wells Fargo, H.C.S. Foundation, Vehicles For Veterans, State of Qatar, TriWest, TOYOTA, Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Ann G. & James B. Ritchey Foundation, Philip Morris International, Barclays, PayPal, RBC Capital Markets, Balyasny Asset Management, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Cantor Fitzgerald, Citadel, Bank of America, BlackRock, Bridgewater, BNP Paribas, Bank of the West, BioCatch, Dave & Busters, The Barbara Bradley Baekgaard Foundation, Valley Guard Supply and MetLife.
Nate Bargatze, Brandi Carlile, Jim Gaffigan, Grace Gaustad, Nikki Glaser, Sing Harlem, Donnell Rawlings, Bruce Springsteen, and Jon Stewart took the stage at Stand Up for Heroes for once-in-a-lifetime evening of comedy and music that raised over $4.6 million to support veterans and their families through the Bob Woodruff Foundation. SUFH also kicked off the New York Comedy Festival which features more than 200 comedians from around the world performing in over 100 shows at some of New York City’s most prestigious venues from November 8 – 14.
The evening featured inspiring moments, memorable surprises, and stories of resilience that recognize the extraordinary individuals who have served in our nation’s military. Marine veteran Brad Lang shared his story of finding purpose through adaptive sports like the USA Wheelchair Football League, created by Move United with support from the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the NFL. Brad was surprised on stage with two tickets to Super Bowl LVI, presented by former NFL quarterback and television & radio sports analyst Boomer Esiason. Army veterans Ash and Crystal Engert also took the stage to share their fertility journey, and introduced their baby daughter Addie, who was born thanks to funding from the Bob Woodruff Foundation’s Veterans In Vitro Initiative. Additionally, in the front rows of the theater were five active duty Marines from Company G “Ghost Company”, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, who served at the Kabul International Airport during the Afghanistan withdrawal. They were honored from the stage by Bob and Lee Woodruff, along with all service members, veterans, and military family members in attendance.
“Even though there aren’t wars in the headlines every day, there are crises all over the world where our troops are still protecting us. We owe them and their families so much for what they do.” said Bob Woodruff, ABC News correspondent and co-founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation. “Stand Up for Heroes is an incredible opportunity to raise awareness for our foundation’s mission to help these veterans thrive when they come home. Not only is it inspiring to see so many people come together to honor, recognize, and support our heroes, but the funds raised tonight will make a real difference for this community.”
“After what’s been a difficult year for many, we continue to be inspired by the generosity from the performers, audience members, and guests in making this year’s Stand Up for Heroes event the best one yet for our country’s veterans,” said Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of the New York Comedy Festival and Carolines on Broadway. “Lest we forget that even though we’ve left Afghanistan, there are still thousands and thousands of our brave troops who are deployed around the globe. As such, it’s essential that we continue to do the work to support these brave men and women who risk life and limb each and every day to support our freedoms.”
In 2007, New York Comedy Festival founders Caroline Hirsch and Andrew Fox partnered with Bob and Lee Woodruff to create this special event as a tribute to wounded, ill, and injured veterans and their loved ones. Since its inception, Stand Up for Heroes has raised $60 million to create long-lasting, positive outcomes for our nation’s impacted veterans, service members, and their families. Over the past 15 years, comedians and performers including Stephen Colbert, Eric Church, Sheryl Crow, Jim Whoopi Goldberg, John Mayer, Seth Meyers, Hasan Minhaj, John Mulaney, Trevor Noah, Conan O’Brien, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, Ronnie Chieng, Ray Romano, and Robin Williams have taken the stage to advocate for our extraordinary service members.
For the past 15 years, the Bob Woodruff Foundation has been a change-maker in the veteran space, forging partnerships and uniting leaders at the highest levels of government, military, business and philanthropy. BWF has invested more than $80 million to find, fund and shape the most innovative programs supporting our heroes, reaching more than 11 million veterans and their families across the country.
The NYCF is produced by Carolines on Broadway and is made possible by its partners Citi, Audible, Liquid Death, ABC7, iHeart Radio, Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment, NYC & Company, New York Magazine, New York Post, SiriusXM Radio, Variety and Vulture. Among those who will headline this year’s festival are Vir Das, Tim Dillon, Colin Quinn, Michelle Wolf, Norm Macdonald, Megan Stalter, Ronny Chieng, Jon Lovett’s Lovett or Leave It, Smart Funny & Black Live!, Nick Kroll, ALOK, Marc Maron, Brian Regan, Gary Gulman, Bill Maher, Michelle Buteau, and Andrew Santino.