By Elizabeth Willoughby on
Rosie O'Donnell has done it again, raising over $1 million for her “kids” in one evening of music and dance entertainment late last year.
Joan Rivers, Caroline Rhea, Jo Anne Worley, and Linda Dano were among the guests who enjoyed Rosie's Broadway Kids benefit show, in which students from her theatre schools performed Broadway classics, and Paul Simon sang “Diamonds On The Soles of Her Shoes”, with students joining in song and dance. The evening also included a boisterous live auction that raised over $110,000.
O’Donnell’s dedication to helping kids born into poverty through the support and development of programs and activities that would otherwise be inaccessible to them is persistent. Her Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation has awarded over $30 million in grants to child-related organizations since its inception in 1997. She also created Rosie’s Broadway Kids, which provides free music and dance instruction to over 5100 students, family members, and teachers through 22 New York public schools, and last year the institution built the Maravel Center, a state-of-the-art school for performing arts.
“We started with one school in the theatre district in 2003,” explained Rosie. "And it was right in the heart of Broadway. To me there was something very poetic about the fact that all these kids walk past these theatres everyday and never ever have a chance to go inside. It’s like living in Hawaii and not having access to the beach.
“Over 80% of the children we serve with this program live below the poverty level. When the families came to see the kids it was pretty overwhelming. So many of the parents were crying. They had never seen their kids perform.”
Copyright © 2008 Look to the Stars