Barbra Streisand was honored as the 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year at its star-studded 21st annual benefit gala on Friday.

The legendary artist was honored as the MusiCares Person of the Year in recognition of her renowned creative accomplishments as well as her philanthropic work, which has included an extraordinary range of charitable activities over the years.

“Barbra Streisand is a genuine Renaissance woman, someone for whom artistry and philanthropy go hand in hand,” said Neil Portnow, president of the MusiCares Foundation. “The enormous talent, passion and dedication she brings to her creative projects — whether film, television or music — are matched by the generosity and commitment she devotes to her charitable causes. It is fitting to celebrate the incredible legacy of Barbra at our 21st Annual MusiCares Person of the Year tribute.”

“For me, being able to create is both a gift and a responsibility, and I have seen firsthand the power of philanthropy to make the world a safer, healthier and more peaceful place,” said Streisand. “It is an honor to be recognized as the 2011 MusiCares Person of the Year. I have so much respect for the work they do to create a lifeline of resources — whether it’s emergency financial assistance or access to addiction recovery resources — for music people in times of need.”

The event was hosted by Bill Maher and attracted a large number of celebrities who wanted to show their support for Streisand, including Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, LeAnn Rimes and the cast from Glee.

Barbra’s Streisand Foundation has given millions of dollars through 2,100 grants to nonprofit organizations and she has raised many millions more through her performances. Streisand supports an impressive range of causes from AIDS organizations to nonprofits that work on issues of women’s equality, the protection of both human rights and civil rights, the needs of children at risk in society, the preservation of the environment, Jewish/Arab relations, and relations between African-Americans and Jews.

Proceeds from the dinner and concert honoring Streisand — two days prior to the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards — will provide essential support for MusiCares, which ensures that music people have a place to turn in times of financial, medical and personal need.

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