The American Museum of Natural History played host to the 5th annual Save the Children’s Illumination Gala. The event honors notable people who are passionate advocates for disadvantaged children. The gala was star-studded, as A-listers including Jennifer Garner, Leona Lewis, Ryan Tedder, Olivia Wilde and Dakota Fanning were there to show their support while lending a couple of surprise moments during the evening.
The event was hosted by NBC’s Craig Melvin, who took over hosting duties from Jennifer Garner who hosted the past three years. That didn’t diminish Jennifer’s involvement in the evening, as she showcased throughout the entire night just how passionate she is about disadvantaged children on both a domestic and international level.
Several of the night’s honorees included Ryan Tedder as well as Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya; and the organization’s philanthropic corporate partner BVLGARI North America.
There were several special moments that occurred during the ceremony that made it that much more special. As the event began, children from a local school performed an acapella version of DJ Snake & Justin Bieber’s song “Let me Love You“, which definitely got the crowd going as their was an incredible amount of talent in this group of kids.
Before presenting Ryan Tedder with his award, Leona Lewis performed two of her biggest hits, “Bleeding Love” and “Happy” for the crowd.
Nicole, a young Save the Children beneficiary from Bolivia, delivered a heartwarming speech about the ways the organization has empowered her and given her the opportunity to continue her education. Once she concluded her speech, she received a standing ovation from attendees, including Save the Children Board Chair Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Joe Biden.
One of the best moments of the night came when Jennifer Garner and football coach Rex Ryan started to auction off prizes and went through the crowd in sneakers to raise a ton of money for Save the Children. At one point, the pledge count reached over $300,000, making it an incredible night for the organization and showcasing all that is being done for these disadvantaged children.
Now in its fifth year, the Illumination Gala benefits Save the Children’s efforts to give more children a stronger start in life by helping end preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths and by supporting early childhood education.
In recognition oft he occasion, Save the Children celebrated each of the honorees for their achievements in giving children a brighter future. For more information on Save the Children, check out their official website.