By Tim Saunders on
The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation held its first Miami Gala on Saturday night, with a huge celebrity turnout to celebrate the occasion.
The Art For Life event was held at Miami Beach and honored John Legend, Wyclef Jean, and Suze Orman for their efforts to help improve the lives of others. Chaired by Sean 'P.Diddy' Combs and hosted by actress Nia Long, the event was co-organized by a legion of well-known names, including Dwayne Johnson, Petra Nemcova, and Rush founder Russell Simmons.
The main attraction of the evening was a massive celebrity auction, which featured a large selection of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and items. However, the auction took on a slightly skewed course when John Legend spent $19,000 on the very item he donated – a Happy Birthday serenade over the phone from… well, from John Legend! Quite how he is going to ring himself up and sing is anyone’s guess.
Legend also pledged a further $10,000 to the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, which was followed by $10,000 from Sean Combs and another $10,000 from former NBA player Larry Johnson. And although they couldn’t attend, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie pledged $5,000 in honor of Wyclef Jean.
The Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation was established in 1995 by brothers Russell, Danny, and Joseph Simmons to provide funding for non-profit organizations that give disadvantaged urban youth exposure and access to the arts. Although based in New York, a large percentage of the proceeds from Saturday’s gala will go directly to programs in Miami, including One Art, the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet, and the Theatre Institute of South Florida.
This is the third year the event has been held in South Florida – in previous years it was held at Palm Beach – and last year’s event raised over $2 million.
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