Over 70 stars join NBC for live charity event
Americans around the country got behind the cause by buying red noses at Walgreens, watching the special, making donations, and supporting Red Nose Day on social media
Thursday marked the second annual Red Nose Day in the U.S., raising more than $31.5 million to help children in need in the U.S. and in some of the poorest communities around the world. People from all walks of life got behind the cause, buying red noses, donating and "fun-raising," and showing their support on social media. The day's events culminated in NBC's live, star-studded charity event 'The Red Nose Day Special,' which brought together more than 70 Hollywood stars to collect for the cause.
Elton John, Julia Roberts, Jack Black, Ellen DeGeneres, Tracy Morgan, Blake Shelton, Will Ferrell and Zac Efron were among the many celebrities who appeared in the live, two-hour charity television event. Hosted by Craig Ferguson, "The Red Nose Day Special" featured comedy, music performances and short compelling films shedding light on children in need.
In addition to monies raised during the live event, fundraising totals announced during the show included $1 million from M&M'S from its #MakeMLaugh campaign, a significant contribution by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including funds raised by social and matching campaigns, and an enormous $18 million from Walgreens, which included the proceeds from red nose and red flair sales, vendor partner contributions and customer donations.
The country "turned red" in the lead-up to Thursday with people across the country decked out in the event's iconic red noses and a range of other red flair from Walgreens, the exclusive retailer for the campaign. Key landmarks across the nation were lit in red to honor the occasion, including the Empire State Building in New York City, the Willis Tower in Chicago, and the US Bank Tower in Los Angeles. Yesterday, the Red Nose Day team and Walgreens, alongside other key Red Nose Day partners M&M'S and NBC, "rung in the day," pressing the NASDAQ opening bell.
Red Nose Day is on a mission to lift kids out of poverty. It has raised more than $1 billion globally in the past 25 years, and in the U.K. become a cultural phenomenon. Red Nose Day launched in the U.S. in 2015 as a special day to come together, have fun and make a difference for kids who are most in need.
In its inaugural year in America, more than $23 million was raised for the Red Nose Day Fund, with the money now at work in all 50 states across America and 15 countries internationally through programs to keep children healthy, safe and educated. Funds raised have provided children with everything from clean water and their next meal to life-saving malaria nets in Africa, to vaccines to protect against preventable diseases.
Footage from Julia Roberts' recent trip to Phoenix debuted on "The Red Nose Day Special" telecast, documenting her trip to visit projects that take care of children who are facing serious health issues without the means to afford basic medical treatment. Ludacris made a special visit to a food bank in Atlanta at a school where 50 percent of the students are living below the poverty line, and where one of the biggest problems is day-to-day hunger. Jack Black returned to the annual TV event, and gave a heartwarming update on Felix, a young boy he met in Uganda last year, who had been living on the streets for three years. Black revealed Felix now lives with a foster family, and attends school to get the education he dreamed of after being helped by a program that aims to change the lives of kids in need.
"The Red Nose Day Special" also delivered a great night of comedy, from Tracy Morgan putting his own unique spin on the classic "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" while reading to kids, to Paul Rudd committing more to Red Nose Day than he ever imagined when he promised to donate $5,000 for every three-pointer basketball superstar Blake Griffin made in three minutes.
"The Walking Dead" cast - Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Ross Marquand, Josh McDermitt, Steven Yeun, Christian Serratos, Melissa McBride and Sonequa Martin-Green - appeared as viewers had never seen them before. And music also took center stage in "The Red Nose Day Special," with Elton John performing "A Good Heart" and Blake Shelton performing "My Savior's Shadow." Paul Shaffer was the musical director with the Red Nose Orchestra.
Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, Emma Thompson, Jay Leno, Celine Dion, Kobe Bryant, Anna Kendrick, Seth Rogen, Bono, Ellie Kemper, Connie Britton, Mel B, Tyler Perry, Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Vince Vaughn and Sarah Silverman also appeared on the special, along with Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, Kristen Bell, Rose Byrne, Chloë Grace Moretz, Steve Buscemi, Danny Trejo, Adam Devine, Ron Funches, Jane Lynch, Minnie Driver, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Goldblum, Milo Ventimiglia, Mandy Moore, Sterling K. Brown, Scott Foley, Dax Shepard, Johnny Galecki, Mayim Bialik, Jay Pharaoh, Ben Feldman, Trevor Noah, Iwan Rheon, Chris Hardwick, Yvette Nicole Brown, Lauren Ash, Retta, David Morrissey, Jon Daly, Margot Robbie, Kate Micucci, Malin Akerman, Adam Pally, Tony Hale, Sal Masekela, Lamorne Morris and Grace Helbig.
All money raised for Red Nose Day goes to the Red Nose Day Fund. Half of the money will be spent right here in America on projects close to home. The other half will be spent in some of the poorest communities internationally. In 2016, partner charities include Boys & Girls Clubs of America; charity:water; Children's Health Fund; Covenant House; Feeding America; Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance; National Council of La Raza; National Urban League; Oxfam America; Save the Children and The Global Fund.
Created by Oscar nominee and Emmy Award-winning writer-director Richard Curtis, ("Love Actually," "Four Weddings and a Funeral," "Notting Hill"), the idea of Red Nose Day was built upon the foundation that the power of entertainment and celebrities can help raise money and awareness of poverty to save and change millions of lives.
Curtis was an executive producer for the live NBC telecast (a Universal Television production), along with John Irwin of Irwin Entertainment, and Lily Sobhani.
Follow @RedNoseDayUS on Twitter and @RedNoseDayUSA on Facebook and Instagram using #RedNoseDay. For more information about The Red Nose Day Special visit www.rednosedayusa.com, or for more information about the Red Nose Day charity eventwww.rednoseday.org.