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  • Natalie Cole

    Singer, songwriter and performer Natalie Cole has proven to be one of the most beloved performers of all time with nine GRAMMY awards. She rocketed to stardom in 1975 with her debut album, "Inseparable," earning her a No. 1 single, "This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)," and two GRAMMY awards for Best New Artist, as well as Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. More hit singles followed, and, in 1987, she released "Dangerous," which sold over two million copies in the U.S. and garnered her three hit singles.

    In 1991, Natalie Cole took a bold leap that would change her life and career forever. Already a highly successful R&B artist, she recorded "Unforgettable… With Love," an album of standards from the American Songbook that included a virtual duet with her late father – Nat King Cole – on the title track. The album spent five weeks at No. 1 on the pop charts, earned six GRAMMY awards and sold more than 14 million copies worldwide.

    Cole's latest album, "Still Unforgettable," was released in September 2008 garnering her two more GRAMMY awards for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album and Best Instrumental Accompanying Vocalist. It also earned Cole a NAACP Award for Best Jazz Artist. While recording the album, Cole was diagnosed with chronic hepatitis C during a routine examination. The infection likely resulted from IV drug use many decades ago, which she documented in her autobiography, Angel On My Shoulder (2000).

    Read more about Natalie Cole0s charity work and events.
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  • Actor, writer, director and UNHCR Supporter Peter Capaldi travelled with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to meet Syrian families living in refugee camps and towns and cities across Jordan. Through writing, photography, film and a unique Virtual Reality experience, Peter helped communicate some of their extraordinary stories of escape and survival and helped highlight the vital role of UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, in supporting and protecting refugees.

    Peter Capaldi a.k.a. Dr Who meets Syrian refugees in Jordan with UNHCR

    Click here to view the video in your browser.


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  • An exhausted but ecstatic Jo Brand crossed the finish line of her BT Sport Relief Challenge: Jo Brand's Hell of a Walk on Thursday, having clocked up an incredible 135.7 miles in her journey which took her from east to west across the width of the UK.

    The challenge is sponsored by BT, a long-term supporter of Comic Relief challenges since 2009.

    Jo was greeted at the finish line by Sport Relief legend John Bishop, who announced that she has burnt over 40,000 calories, taken over 500,000 steps and, most importantly, has raised an incredible £662,228 so far – but the money is still coming in, and her final total will be revealed during the Sport Relief Weekend (18-20 March).

    On finishing her challenge Jo said: "I feel shattered. But I wanted to do this to raise shed loads of money for Sport Relief because it helps a huge amount of people. Especially projects that mean a lot to me. But also, I wanted to show fat old women that they could walk! It was so windy – can you believe someone of my weight was blown over by the wind?! But it was so fantastic to walk across a massive swath of the country and see how generous, friendly and community-minded people are. I can't thank everyone enough. It's overwhelming".

    Jo set off on the BT Sport Relief Challenge on Friday 22nd January, taking on a route across the width of the country. She battled blisters, aching limbs, uncertain terrain and Storm Jonas with its driving rain, hail and 60mph gale force winds that literally blew her off her feet. The terrain and weather were so severe that they even forced minor route changes following advice from her trainer Professor Greg Whyte and her medical team. In the end, she reached the finish in Liverpool having completed an incredible 135.7 miles in conditions described by Greg Whyte as ‘brutal'.

    Famous friends have joined Jo along the way, including Bill Bailey, John Bishop, Billy Bragg, Alan Davies, Lesley Garrett, Sue Johnston, Gabby Logan, Lee Mack, Davina McCall, Louise Minchin and Ricky Tomlinson.

    Davina McCall, who joined her on day five said, "It's tough and she's been amazing. She's done a great job. In the back of her mind keeping her going is what Sport Relief do. She knows where the money goes and how important this is. This is to raise money for a fantastic charity which helps amazing causes all over the world and right here in the UK".

    All the ups and downs of Jo's challenge will be captured for a BBC documentary, to be broadcast in the run up to Sport Relief Weekend, which is taking place from Friday 18th to Sunday 20th March. 


    Money raised from Jo's monumental effort will be spent to help change the lives of people living incredibly tough lives -- both here in the UK and across the world's poorest communities.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14808-jo-brand-completes-a-hell-of-a-walk-for-sport-relief

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  • Three of the Internet's most beloved pets are teaming up to help the millions of cats and dogs in shelters and rescue groups across the country find loving homes.

    Social Media Superstars Lend Star Power To Homeless Cats and Dogs
    Social Media Superstars Lend Star Power To Homeless Cats and Dogs

    Fashion icon Toast Meets World, globally recognized pianist Keyboard Cat and life of the party Hamilton Pug are lending their star power to "Start A Story. Adopt," a new public service advertising (PSA) campaign from The Shelter Pet Project, a collaborative effort between Maddie's Fund, The Humane Society of the United States and the Ad Council.

    Toast Meets World, Keyboard Cat and Hamilton Pug receive millions of views, likes and shares on social media, but most people don't know they were adopted. Created pro bono by J. Walter Thompson New York, these new PSAs share these pets' unique stories, which all began in shelters and rescue groups, and highlight the special bonds between the pets and their families. Prospective owners are encouraged to visit TheShelterPetProject.org to learn more about the adoption process and search for adoptable pets at shelters and rescue groups near them. Adoption advocates are also encouraged to support the effort on social media by using the hashtag #StartAStoryAdopt to share stories of how their shelter pets changed their lives for the better and to encourage others to start their own stories by adopting an amazing shelter dog or cat today.

    Video: #StartAStoryAdopt | Shelter Pet Adoption

    Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS said: "Millions of healthy, adoptable dogs and cats enter shelters across America each year and are just waiting for a special home. Unfortunately, many of those animals never find one. We hope Toast, Keyboard Cat and Hamilton Pug inspire people to support their local animal shelters and start their own stories by adopting a pet in need of a home."

    There is a common misconception that there is something wrong with shelter pets; however, the majority of these pets end up in shelters and rescue groups through no fault of their own. "Moving" and "landlord issues" are among the top reasons animals find themselves in shelters.

    "This campaign comes at a watershed moment for homeless pets," said Amy Zeifang of the Maddie's Fund Executive Leadership Team. "Thanks to the increased popularity of shelter and rescue group pets, we're close to reaching our goal of ending pet homelessness in the country. In fact, if every community in the United States would just adopt six more pets each month, every healthy and treatable shelter dog or cat in America would have a home."

    The TV, radio, print, outdoor and web PSAs will be distributed this week to national media and will air in donated time and space per the Ad Council's model. Over the coming months, the campaign will continue to build awareness around the issue through an extensive social media campaign, which will include original and user-generated content encouraging people to share their shelter pet adoption stories. Through the Ad Council's first partnership with CrowdTap, the campaign will also leverage the marketing platform's extensive network of social media influencers to spread the word about shelter pet adoption and the new PSA campaign.

    "J. Walter Thompson is proud to partner with The Shelter Pet Project and The Ad Council to champion the adoption of shelter pets," said Gustavo Martinez, Worldwide Chairman & CEO of J. Walter Thompson Company. "By showcasing the wonderful success stories of our adopted celebrity pets and the happiness they bring to thousands of people each day, we hope that prospective owners can see the difference they can make and choose a shelter pet as their next companion."

    The Shelter Pet Project is the first national PSA campaign to bring together animal welfare organizations and shelters across the country with one unified goal -- to increase pet adoption. Since launching in 2009, The Shelter Pet Project has received more than $272 million in donated media. In the past year alone, there have been more than 700,000 searches for adoptable pets on TheShelterPetProject.org.

    "It's heartbreaking that so many healthy and treatable pets are needlessly euthanized every year," added Lisa Sherman, President and CEO of the Ad Council. "Pets can bring so much love and comfort to a family, and I urge those thinking about adopting to make shelters and rescue groups the first place they turn."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14809-internets-favorite-pets-help-shelter-animals

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  • The Muscular Dystrophy Association, the iconic charity that revolutionized philanthropic giving in America with telethons, celebrities and cause marketing, today unveiled a revitalized brand reflecting a renewed commitment to accelerate treatments and cures for the kids, adults and families it serves.

    Video: Jerry Lewis Message

    MDA fights muscular dystrophy, ALS and related life-threatening diseases that take away everyday freedoms such as walking, running, hugging and even breathing.

    To mark the occasion, the Chicago-based charity with nearly 100 local offices in hometowns across America returned to New York, the city where it was founded by families for families and the birthplace of its legendary telethon supported during the years by a "who's who" list of Hollywood celebrities led by Jerry Lewis. MDA is today launching its revitalized brand with sponsors, TV personalities and MDA-supported families at Carnegie Hall, the site of the first MDA national telethon.

    As part of its renewed mission focus, MDA will double spending on research toward drug development and clinical trials, and increase the number of families who receive MDA care and support by 50 percent to 150,000 individuals annually by the year 2020. In the next five years, MDA also plans to send 20,000 kids to its highly acclaimed, weeklong MDA Summer Camps, at no charge to their families.

    "Our families spoke and we listened," said MDA President and CEO Steven M. Derks. "Just as kids and adults with muscular dystrophy must start a new fight each day, MDA is starting a new era in our fight on their behalf, building on our rich heritage. The result is an MDA determined to accelerate progress against the harmful effects of these diseases as we engage a new generation of supporters."

    MDA was started in 1950 by a prominent New York business leader fighting muscular dystrophy. In 1956, its longtime, iconic volunteer leader extraordinaire Jerry Lewis and fellow actor Dean Martin did their first telethon at Carnegie Hall. The event began MDA's rise to relevancy and spurred an annual Labor Day telethon tradition that captured the hearts of Americans for decades. MDA held its last telethon in 2014.

    Lewis, who hosted MDA's telethon until 2011 when he last appeared as MDA National Chairman, taped a special message to the MDA community, urging continued support for MDA and the families he has championed for decades.

    "I think it's great that MDA has a new look and tagline — we've got to keep giving strength, independence and life to all the kids and adults who are fighting muscular dystrophy and other life-threatening diseases," said Jerry Lewis. "Today, there are signs of real progress — and progress can't come fast enough for my kids and our MDA families. Our work is not done."

    In recent weeks, the first possible treatments for the most prevalent form of muscular dystrophy, called Duchenne muscular dystrophy, have come before the federal government's Food & Drug Administration. Fueled by $200 million in MDA research investments during six decades, MDA said more new treatment options and clinical trials are expected in the next five years than in the previous five decades.

    To commemorate its new brand, MDA rolled out a new logo, website and campaign called "Live Unlimited." The logo features warm iris blue and marigold colors and shows a heart in the middle of the "D" in "MDA," an overt symbol of the families who are at the very center of its mission. MDA also introduced a new tagline, "For strength, independence and life," underscoring its purpose.

    "The MDA brand is iconic and now has a fresh identity that matches our passionate commitment," said Steve Ford, MDA's Chief Communications and Marketing Officer. "The new campaign is inspired by the courageous kids and adults we serve who model strength, break down barriers and defy limits, overcoming in many cases formidable health struggles. MDA families are the inspiration behind everything we do."

    To promote its mission, MDA is energizing its base of supporters by showcasing individuals and families affected by muscle-debilitating diseases on its new website who are demonstrating inspiring can-do moments — whether it's crossing the street in a wheelchair on their own, graduating from college, living and working independently, or even skydiving.

    MDA is inviting supporters to share their live unlimited moments on a new digital hub being launched today at mda.org. The "Live Unlimited" theme will extend throughout its fundraising programs. MDA also is planning a new cause marketing campaign this summer, hoping to spur through digital channels more fundraising and corporate partnerships based on the same theme of defying limits.

    A Bold Five-Year Plan

    Beyond plans to double its research spending for treatments and cures and assist 50 percent more MDA families, MDA will introduce a new MDA Family Resource Center so individuals can call or connect online with trained neuromuscular disease specialists to obtain one-on-one information and support. It will open by the summer.

    The organization will implement higher standards of care at more than 150 MDA Care Centers (formerly called MDA clinics) to ensure everyone has access to early diagnosis, highly specialized care and promising clinical trials. MDA also plans to expand its offerings for teens and young adults transitioning into adulthood and seeking to live independently.

    A New National Spokesperson

    To signal a new era in which people with muscular dystrophy are living longer than ever with diseases once only considered pediatric, MDA has named a young adult as its new National Goodwill Ambassador. This is the first time in the ambassador program's 64-year history that a child hasn't been selected to serve in this role. Past U.S. presidents, including John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, all have hosted sessions with MDA ambassadors.

    Joe Akmakjian, 24, from Fort Collins, Colo., is MDA's new 2016 National Goodwill Ambassador. Akmakjian was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at 15 months old; his parents were told he would likely not live past his 12th birthday. Last year, leaving his wheelchair behind, Akmakjian went skydiving to celebrate a special milestone when he doubled his life expectancy.

    As MDA's most visible spokesman, Akmakjian will deepen MDA's reach among millennials and help champion the need for improved public policies and support for young adults with disabilities.

    "My dream is to inspire all types of people — not just people with muscular dystrophy or ALS — to live beyond their perceived limitations and achieve the success inside them," said Akmakjian. "People often see my wheelchair and my physical limitations and ask me what I could do if I could walk. The truth is, we're redefining what's possible … with high hopes to inspire the world around us."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14810-muscular-dystrophy-association-unveils-revitalized-brand

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  • AARP has announced a plethora of additional presenters and honorees for their Movies For Grownups Awards.

    Legendary performer Bette Midler, Award-winning actor Mark Ruffalo, Academy Award-winning actress Jane Fonda, actress Rachel McAdams, Academy Award-winning actor Lou Gossett Jr, the original Apollo Creed, Carl Weathers, up-and-coming director Ryan Coogler, Joy Mangano herself and Boston Globe reporter Ben Bradlee Jr. will join host Kathy Griffin to celebrate 2015's standout filmmakers, actors, actresses and movies with unique relevance for the 50-plus audience.

    The awards will raise funds for AARP Foundation, AARP's affiliated charity, which works in communities across the nation to help struggling older adults meet their basic need for nutritious food, safe and affordable housing, adequate income, and strong, sustaining social bonds.

    Sponsored by AARP Credit Cards from Chase, proceeds from this year's Movies for Grownups event will support AARP Foundation's work in the Los Angeles area to create and advance effective solutions to help struggling people 50 and older secure the essentials.

    "In addition to honoring outstanding performances and filmmaking, AARP's Movies for Grownups Awards underscore the tremendous appetite for great movies that exists in the 50-plus market," said AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins. "We've seen that the 50-plus audience, as one of the nation's fastest growing demographics, supports creative endeavors that speak to it."

    "It's inspiring that these talented performers and artists are helping to draw attention to the cause of senior poverty," said Lisa Marsh Ryerson, president of AARP Foundation. "Poverty remains a persistent and often invisible problem among older adults, with almost 10 percent of people 65 and older living below the poverty line. We are deeply heartened to have the support of these artists and the Movies for Grownups Awards to increase awareness of this important issue."

    Also attending the awards show on Feb. 8 in Los Angeles are Michael Douglas (Career Achievement Award), Catherine Zeta Jones, Lily Tomlin (Best Actress-Grandma), Bryan Cranston (Best Actor-Trumbo), Diane Ladd (Best Supporting Actress-Joy), Tom McCarthy (Best Picture- Spotlight), Mark Ruffalo (Best Picture- Spotlight), Ridley Scott (Best Director-The Martian), David O. Russell (Best Screenwriter-Joy), Nancy Meyers (Best Comedy-The Intern), Morgan Freeman (Best Grownup Love Story-5 Flights Up), Patricia Clarkson (Best Buddy Picture-Learning to Drive), Irwin Winkler (Best Intergenerational-Creed), Phylicia Rashad (Best Intergenerational-Creed), Bill Pohlad (Best Time Capsule-Love & Mercy), Pete Docter and Jonas Rivera (Best Movie for Grownups Who Refuse to Grow Up-Inside Out) and committee members Sherry Lansing, Rob Friedman, Ed Begley Jr., June Squibb, Robert Forster, Ed Asner, Sid and Nancy Hult Ganis, and Ken Scherer.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14811-more-presenters-and-honorees-announced-for-aarp-movies-for-grownups

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  • Carnival Cruise Line has announced a new initiative designed to support U.S. military families alongside seven-time GRAMMY-award winning superstar Carrie Underwood and representatives of Operation Homefront, the national nonprofit that builds strong, stable, and secure military families.

    Carnival Cruise Line, Operation Homefront and Carrie Underwood announce partnership (Andy Newman)
    Carnival Cruise Line, Operation Homefront and Carrie Underwood announce partnership (Andy Newman)

    The year-long Honor. Family. Fun. program will help raise funds for Operation Homefront and culminate in a special private pierside concert for service men and women and their families starring Underwood aboard Carnival's newest and most family-friendly ship, the Carnival Vista, when the vessel makes its U.S. debut in New York City at the Port of New York on November 4, 2016.

    "Military families represent a cornerstone of our country and we are honored by the opportunity to partner with Carrie and Operation Homefront to bring much needed awareness and aid to our troops and their loved ones," said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line. "The partnership will bring to life many of the heartwarming stories our troops have to share while in turn bringing them some fun along the way."

    In 10 cities along the course of Carrie Underwood's The Storyteller Tour, which kicks off in Jacksonville, Fla on January 30, select military families, chosen in partnership with Operation Homefront, will be treated to a personal meet-and-greet with Underwood before her concerts. A video series highlighting the meet and greets and the families' individual stories will be featured on carnival.com.

    "I'm honored to be able to join Carnival Cruise Line and Operation Homefront to lift up these soldiers and their families," said Underwood. "I am really looking forward to meeting them on my tour and for the opportunity to personally thank them for all they do for our freedom."

    Driving the effort to raise funds for the cause, fans of Underwood, and of the program, will have the opportunity to donate by clicking on the "Donate Now" button on carnival.com/HonorFamilyFun. Commemorative dog tags will also be available for purchase at merchandise stands at all Storyteller Tour stops as well as on board the fleet of Carnival ships with all proceeds going to Operation Homefront.

    "Carnival Cruise Line really knows what it means to support our men and women in uniform and their families," said retired Brigadier General John I. Pray, Jr., president and CEO of Operation Homefront. "We are absolutely thrilled to be partnering with the Carnival team and superstar Carrie Underwood to focus on the challenges our military families face as they work tirelessly to protect the freedoms we enjoy daily."

    The final stop in the cross-country Honor. Family. Fun. campaign will be New York City, where Carnival, Operation Homefront, and Underwood will treat hundreds of military families to a special concert aboard the new Carnival Vista at the Port of New York on November 4, 2016.

    Carnival's most family-friendly ship, Carnival Vista, will set sail in Europe in May 2016 and make her stateside debut as host of the special private pierside concert for military families. Designed to connect guests to the ocean with sweeping views and plenty to do both outdoors and in, Carnival Vista will take cruising to new heights and introduce an exciting array of groundbreaking new features including: SkyRide, a breakthrough suspended open-air cycling experience; the world's first IMAX Theatre on a ship; an expansive water park featuring the colorful Kaleid-O-Slide, the line's first raft-riding water tube slide; Seafood Shack, a delectable New England-inspired eatery; RedFrog Pub, including the first micro-brewery on a U.S.-based cruise ship, and other exciting dining, bar and entertainment options.

    In the coming weeks, Carnival will launch a new shipboard military appreciation program. Each ship will host a special event on board to recognize active and retired military personnel and their families and will kick off with a welcome video featuring Carrie Underwood.

    Finally, it was also revealed that Carrie Underwood will join the Carnival LIVE! roster of artists in early 2017 with further details to be announced at a later date.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14812-carrie-underwood-helps-launch-initiative-to-support-military-families

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  • The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund presents the Fleetwood Mac Fest on February 9 and 10 at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles.

    The event will see a plethora of artists celebrate the music of Fleetwood Mac while making money to help musicians struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.

    Among the artists taking part will be Mark Ronson, Courtney Love, Carly Rae Jepsen, Weezer0s Brian Bell, Alison Mosshart, Perry & Etty Farrell, Joanna Newsom, Cold War Kids, KT Tunstall, Dhani Harrison, PHASES, Will Forte, Ruby Amanfu, Sarah Silverman, Karen Elson, Butch Walker, Doyle Bramhall II, Jess Wolfe & Holly Laessig (of Lucius), Jessie Baylin, The Pierces, Jamestown Revival, Danny Masterson, Bijou Phillips, Elvis Perkins, Emily Armstrong, Adam Busch, Jack Dishel, Mereki And Many Many More Surprise Guests!

    For tickets and more info, click here. The event is sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14813-stars-to-take-part-in-fleetwood-mac-fest-for-charity

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  • In January, Leonardo DiCaprio attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to receive the prestigious Crystal Award.

    The award is given to artists and cultural leaders who are helping to address the world's humanitarian and environmental challenges.

    While accepting the award, Leonardo spoke eloquently about climate change, and how future generations will place blame on the business leaders of today if nothing is done to stop the problem.

    His full speech reads:

    "Thank you Professor Klaus Schwab, Hilde Schwab and the World Economic Forum for this generous award. Your recognition of my work for my foundation and our partners across the globe is a true honor.

    "Last month in Paris, world leaders reached an historic agreement that provides concrete framework to reduce carbon emissions. This was an important first step but we are a long way off from claiming victory in the fight for our future and for the survival of our planet. The Paris agreement was a call to action but it is now up to all of us to build this progress with ingenuity and a commitment to change. Together we are fighting to preserve our fragile climate from irreversible damage and devastation of unthinkable proportions.

    "I have been traveling recently all over the world for a documentary about how this crisis is changing the natural balance of our planet. In Greenland and in the Arctic I was astonished to see that ancient glaciers are rapidly disappearing well ahead of scientific models. In India I met farmers who have seen their crops, their very livelihood, literally washed away by historic flooding. There is no doubt to the world's scientific community that this is a direct result of human activity and the effects of climate change will become astronomically worse in the future.

    "Last week President Obama told those who continue to deny the irrefutable science behind climate change that they will find themselves increasingly lonely in a swell of voices calling for action. But studies also show us that those who deny the reality of climate change will also find themselves less economically successful. We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil, and gas industries to determine the future of humanity.

    "Those entities with a financial interest in preserving this destructive system have denied and even covered up the evidence of our changing climate. Enough is enough, you know better, the world knows better, history will place the blame for this devastation squarely at their feet. Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong.

    "Twenty years ago we described this problem as an addiction today we possess the means to end this reliance. Professor Mark Jacobson and a team of researchers at Stanford University have proven that we can meet the world's total energy demand by using existing renewable technology by 2050. To make that potential a reality we need the collective will and conviction of political, business, and philanthropic leaders like all of you. This transition is not only the right thing for our world, it makes clear economic sense and it is possible within our lifetime. A shift of this magnitude will save nearly 42 trillion in global energy costs while creating 20 million new jobs.

    "Over the last several years organizations and individuals worth 3.8 trillion dollars have already committed to divest their fossil fuel holdings and replace them with new investments in clean renewable energy projects. And leaders like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bazos have already pledged to build a zero emissions future. I ask you to join them, because if we all do our part and act with bold leadership we can achieve major meaningful progress. It is not only an inevitable transition; it is also imperative for the future of our planet.

    "Which brings me to the other side of this very important issue, on the flip side to the environmental crisis. And that is the protection of our planet's last remaining natural ecosystems; ecosystems that provide us with breathable air, drinkable water, fertile soil, and bountiful seas. These complex ecosystems can never be replaced and they are the foundation of our global economy and more importantly our interconnected climate. Life without them as we know it would simple collapse.

    "Fifteen years ago today I developed my foundation to focus on these critical issues. Currently less than 3% of all philanthropic giving goes to defending our planet. Given this limited support, it's no surprise that roughly only 2% of our oceans and 12% of our lands are formally protected from invasive human activity like commercial fishing, agriculture, logging, and energy extraction. Again 3% of all philanthropic giving goes towards the protection of our only home, planet earth. Today at LDF we are achieving tangible exciting results with over 70 partners across 40 countries and all five oceans by working with the innovative grassroots organizations and leaders, we have quickly donated critical funding they need to rapidly scale up their work. Over the last decade, we provided direct grants to support projects that have expanded protected areas on land and on sea, protecting iconic endangered species and empowered indigenous communities to fight back against corporate encroachment on their lands. But this number needs to grow and with your help and partnership it will. Generosity is the key to our future.

    "With that I am pleased to announce today a $15 million grant in new commitments from LDF to fast track cutting edge sustainability and conservation projects around the world. A prime example of climate change and environmental protection is our grant to the Rainforest Action Network and their partners on the ground to protect the last remaining rainforest on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Over the last year, major fires across Sumatra have released more carbon emissions every day than the daily activity of the entire United States economy. In an effort to protect these last remaining rainforest, the vital lungs of our planet, our foundation is funding their effort to preserve 6.5million acres from the invasive and destructive practices of the palm oil industry.

    "We are underway with similar efforts in the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador. We are supporting the Ceibo Alliance, an indigenous effort to stop rampant and destructive oil extraction that is poisoning their lands and communities. In the United States we are partnering with the Solutions Project to promote clean energy and support local efforts to implement these projects in their communities. And in our seas, we have partnered with Google and funded the Global Fishing Watch, which is a revolutionary new platform that will actively monitor and ultimately help end the destructive practices of over-fishing. Additionally we are backing an effort to protect the size of Nebraska in the Indian Ocean off the coast of the Seychelles islands, which is home to vital marine species.

    "Imagine what we could all do with more partnerships. With the alliance of many of you in this room so much can be done if we all work together. With your help we can quickly identified and fund the most innovative and effective projects that have the greatest potential to avert the crisis we face. As I look across this room I am optimistic that our ability to convene the most significant and influential minds on the planet can result in the global transition necessary to protect both our society and our natural world. Now the challenges before us require each and every one of us to take action. We owe this to ourselves, but more importantly we owe this to future generations who are counting on all of us. Thank you all very much and thank you for this great honor."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14814-read-leonardo-dicaprios-speech-on-climate-change-from-davos

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  • Celebrity models Abbey Clancy and Danielle Lloyd as well as former Atomic Kitten singer Liz McClarnon have taken to Twitter to voice their outrage over what an RSPCA officer described as the worst case of cruelty to animals he's ever dealt with.

    The beauties have also alerted their nearly 1 million combined Twitter followers to PETA's £10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.

    A small dog was reportedly left to die in Birkenhead cemetery after what appeared to be a lifetime of abuse that left virtually every bone in his body broken. Fondly named Elmo by veterinary staff, he was humanely euthanised because of the severity of his injuries.

    "Someone in Merseyside must know something about the cruel individual who committed this atrocious act, and we're calling on anyone with information to come forward", says PETA Associate Director Elisa Allen. "A person capable of deliberately causing this kind of suffering to a helpless animal demonstrates a very worrying psychological state and must be found."

    Anyone with information about this case is encouraged to contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14815-celebrities-horrified-by-act-of-animal-cruelty

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  • For the fifth consecutive year, Burlington Stores, the national off price retailer, and WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease, are teaming up to educate women nationwide about the importance of their heart health, as heart disease is the leading cause of death in women.

    Throughout the month of February, American Heart Month, Burlington Stores & WomenHeart are joined by Wendy Williams, Talk Show Host and heart health advocate, to serve as the voice and supporter of the #HealthyHeartSelfie Challenge.

    This year's campaign officially kicked off yesterday with a heart health panel discussion in New York City, featuring Wendy Williams, along with Mayo Clinic's Sharonne N. Hayes, MD and WomenHeart Champions, who are women heart disease survivors trained by WomenHeart as community educators, spokespersons and advocates, as well as an in-store campaign launching in all 563 Burlington stores across the country. Customers have the opportunity to donate $1 or more at check out at any Burlington store location through March 31, 2016. All funds collected will support WomenHeart to further the organization's mission of educating women about the importance of their heart health.

    On February 5th, National Wear Red Day, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., 47 Burlington store locations across the country (a store in each state/US Territory/District where Burlington has locations) will host free women's heart health screenings in partnership with WomenHeart. Customers will have the opportunity to get their blood pressure, pulse and BMI checked by a certified health professional, talk with WomenHeart Champions, and receive bi-lingual (English/Spanish) women's heart health information and tips for living heart healthy. To find a screening near you, visit www.BurlingtonStores.com/HeartHealth.

    Each day throughout February, people are encouraged to check the hashtag #HealthyHeartSelfie for fun and easy heart health tips from Wendy Williams, Burlington Stores and WomenHeart. They are then encouraged to snap a photo of how they are using that tip or simply show what heart health means to them using #HealthyHeartSelfie. For every photo posted with #HealthyHeartSelfie, Burlington will donate $1, up to $25,000, to benefit WomenHeart.

    "At Burlington Stores we are committed to improving the communities we live and work in and to raising awareness about the importance of women's heart health," says Tom Kingsbury, Chairman and CEO, Burlington Stores. "We look forward to celebrating our fifth year of partnership with WomenHeart, introducing new campaign elements that will heighten the awareness about heart disease, the leading cause of death in women."

    "We are thankful to Burlington and their millions of customers and thousands of associates nationwide for their continued support to help us further our mission. We are thrilled to bring the #HealthyHeartSelfie Challenge to life as we continue our great work with Burlington Stores," says Mary McGowan, Chief Executive Officer of WomenHeart. "It's important that we get our message across through as many channels as possible, whether it's our in store collection campaign, online or via social media, so that we have every opportunity to reach women across the country regarding their number one health risk -- heart disease."

    During the past four years, Burlington and its generous customers have raised more than $4 million to support WomenHeart and its free education and support services for women living with heart disease in communities throughout the country. These funds have also enabled the organization to continue to support and educate Hispanic women -- a high risk population for heart disease -- through its Para la Mujer Hispana initiative.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14816-wendy-williams-supports-healthyheartselfie-challenge

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  • Legendary rock group Foreigner will release their first-ever live acoustic album, IN CONCERT.UNPLUGGED on February 5, 2016.

    The band's royalties will be donated to JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and the album is available exclusively via Amazon, with a special pre-order promotion kicking off on Monday, January 25, 2016 here.

    Foreigner recorded this unique acoustic album at a concert hosted by Edsel B. Ford II on August 24, 2015 at the Ford Motor Company Conference & Event Center in Detroit, MI immediately following the band's record-breaking 10-show stand with Kid Rock at the DTE Energy Music Theatre.

    The sold-out trek with Kid Rock introduced well over half a million new fans to FOREIGNER's nine Top 10 hits during each tour stellar performance. Foreigner will appear on "The Today Show" on Thursday, February 11 to premiere songs from the new album and announce upcoming tour dates.

    To coincide with the album release, Foreigner will bring its IN CONCERT.UNPLUGGED show to select venues including a special event at New York's famed Lincoln Theater on February 17th. This tour is a prelude to a soon to be announced national tour in the fall with a grand finale at The Carnegie Hall in October. Audiences will have an intimate experience witnessing masterful performances of such fan favorites as "Cold As Ice," "Hot Blooded," "Juke Box Hero," "Waiting For A Girl Like You," and many more.

    FOREIGNER is on a major roll right now with streams and downloads soaring after their worldwide #1 hit "I Want To Know What Love Is" was featured as the 2015 season finale end title of "Orange Is The New Black." FOREIGNER hits have also recently been included in such primetime TV shows as "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert" and "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," among others.

    Foreigner is Mick Jones (lead guitar, vocals), Kelly Hansen (lead vocals), Jeff Pilson (bass, vocals), Tom Gimbel (rhythm guitar, sax, flute, vocals), Michael Bluestein (keyboards,vocals), Bruce Watson (guitar, vocals) and Chris Frazier (drums).

    Here's the complete track listing for IN CONCERT.UNPLUGGED:

    1. Double Vision
    2. Say You Will
    3. Waiting For A Girl Like You
    4. When It Comes To Love
    5. Fool For You Anyway
    6. Dirty White Boy
    7. Cold As ice
    8. Feels Like The First Time
    9. Juke Box Hero
    10. I Want To Know What Love Is
    11. Hot Blooded (bonus track)

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14817-rock-legends-foreigner-donate-unplugged-album-royalties-to-charity

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  • GoMacro, a family-owned vegan food company with roots in organic farming, is thrilled to add a bit of international star-power to the company family: British singer-songwriter ­­­­Ellie Goulding.

    Ms. Goulding, a pop and fitness icon, has partnered with the Wisconsin-based natural food company in a far-reaching partnership that includes new product development, international brand promotion and customer sweepstakes.

    
The relationship began when Ellie, a long-time GoMacro fan, posted about her love for MacroBars on Instagram where she is followed by a large fan base deeply interested in the star's healthy lifestyle. Commencing in March 2016, GoMacro and Ellie Goulding will launch the partnership with a North American sweepstakes entitled the "Goulding Ticket." The sweepstakes will involve specially marked GoMacro MacroBars packaged with a ticket and code to win VIP tickets to a June 21st Ellie Goulding concert at Madison Square Garden or a trip to Los Angeles for a personal workout with Ellie. GoMacro also plans to release a co-created "Ellie Goulding" MacroBar flavor this spring with a portion of sales going towards the homeless.

    
"MacroBars are my go-to snack after a workout and when I'm on tour. I love the taste and how they keep me satisfied for hours," commented Goulding. "I am excited to begin my partnership with a brand that shares my values of healthy living and giving back."

    
Goulding, who will be performing at the 58th annual Grammy Awards this February, is also well known for her dedication to healthy living, veganism, and marathon running. Ellie turns to MacroBars to stay energized during her hectic daily schedule. The new brand partnership aligns well with Ellie's priorities of health, fitness, and community outreach and GoMacro's mission to provide organically grown, plant-based nutrition for on-the-go families and athletes.

    
"We couldn't think of a more perfect partner for GoMacro than Ellie," said Jola Sonkin, CEO and co-founder of GoMacro. "She is an exemplary woman managing an incredible and demanding career who still finds time to exercise, eat well, and give back."
    
GoMacro is a family-owned Non-GMO food company that believes plant-based, organic eating can be both convenient and delicious. GoMacro MacroBars provide a healthy balance of natural sugars, carbs, and plant-based protein that sustains energy between meals and replenishes after workouts. GoMacro is thrilled to embark on a long-term partnership with an internationally recognized role model that shares the company values of healthy living and giving back to communities.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14818-ellie-goulding-partners-with-vegan-food-company

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  • Budweiser is using the bright lights of advertising's biggest stage — Super Bowl 50 — to take on drunk driving in an unexpected, unorthodox and powerful way.

    Budweiser and Helen Mirren put drunk driving on notice in bold new Super Bowl campaign
    Budweiser and Helen Mirren put drunk driving on notice in bold new Super Bowl campaign

    To spark conversations about this vital issue on one of the biggest drinking occasions of the year, the brand has called upon actress Helen Mirren, with her mix of gravitas and charm, to demand that beer drinkers make a plan to get home safely. "Simply Put," Budweiser's new 60-second spot by Anomaly, stands apart from the typical drunk driving PSA by forcefully calling out drivers to #GiveADamn and protect their lives and the lives of others, in a tone that only Mirren can deliver.

    Video: Budweiser USA: 2016 Super Bowl Commercial | #GiveADamn :60

    Budweiser and Anheuser-Busch have a strong and proud history of promoting responsible drinking over the past 30 years, and the "Simply Put" movement goes far beyond just advertising. To encourage fans to find safe rides home on game night, Budweiser created StandWithBud.com, which provides people with the most convenient transportation options based on their locations, from taxis to car services (including discount codes where permissible). StandWithBud.com also invites people to take a pledge to #GiveADamn and not drive drunk on Super Bowl Sunday, then share their commitment on social media using Mirren's brazen tone.

    For each use of campaign hashtag #GiveADamn through 11:59 p.m. ET on Sunday night, Budweiser will spend an additional $1 on safe ride home programs (up to $1 million) in 2016. The hashtag also triggers an eye-catching Twitter emoji that will facilitate additional shares of the campaign message.

    "We can all agree that driving drunk is a very bad idea, yet people still do it. If we're able to make one person think twice and not get behind the wheel, then this campaign has done its job," said Brian Perkins, vice president, Budweiser. "We care about our consumers, and we wanted to address the issue differently than anyone ever has before, in an effort to start as many conversations as possible and get people to make a plan."

    During the game, Budweiser will debut an additional 30-second spot by Anomaly titled "Not Backing Down," which will unapologetically celebrate all the things that make Budweiser America's No. 1 full-flavored lager. The spot will show the Budweiser Clydesdales in a new light, highlighting their strength, power and size as symbols of the hard work and care that goes into brewing
    Budweiser. "Not Backing Down" is the 27th Super Bowl ad to feature the Budweiser Clydesdales.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14819-budweiser-and-helen-mirren-say-no-to-drunk-driving

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  • On Tuesday the winners of the Democracy For All Video Challenge were announced at an event aimed at putting the issue of big money in politics front-and-center and creating a platform for people to express themselves and take action to support the Democracy For All Amendment.

    Kathleen Turner Says No To Big Money
    Kathleen Turner Says No To Big Money
    Credit/Copyright:

    Two advocacy organizations, Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, created the video challenge that encouraged Americans to produce public service announcements supporting the proposed Democracy For All Amendment.

    Speaking at the National Press Club event was U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and U.S. Representative Ted Deutch (FL-21), who are lead cosponsors of the Democracy For All Amendment (H.J.Res.22, S.J.Res.5). The winning videos were announced by Academy Award-nominated actress Kathleen Turner, with Say No To Big Money president Jeff Haggin and People For the American Way president Michael Keegan and executive vice president Marge Baker also speaking.

    The grand prize video, "Voters, assemble!" was created by Bryan Warner -- a nonprofit communications director from Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina -- and uses animation to depict a secret meeting between a group of villains who are plotting to nefariously influence politics by using big money. The video illustrates how easy it is for corporations and special interest groups to buy their way into Washington and influence policy in their favor. As the grand prize winner of the video challenge, Warner will receive $25,000.

    "Americans are fed up with millionaires and billionaires pumping money into shadowy Super PACs to buy our elections," said Sen. Udall. "And thanks to the Supreme Court's flawed decisions, including Citizens United six years ago, Congress is powerless to pass common-sense campaign finance laws. That's why I'm pushing for a constitutional amendment to overturn those bad decisions so we can get big money out of politics. Millions of Americans nationwide have joined this grassroots push, and the Democracy For All Video Challenge has been a creative way to amplify our cause. Each video speaks to the core of our message -- voters should have the loudest voices in our democracy, not wealthy special interests."

    Congressman Deutch added, "A democracy for sale is not a democracy for all. Until we overturn Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United, corporations and a handful of billionaires will continue to spend hundreds of millions of dollars buying our elections and setting the agenda in Washington. Like the Democracy for All Amendment, the Democracy for All video contest is about elevating the voices of everyday Americans who may not be able to afford their own Super PACs but who have every right to be heard."

    Awards were also given to five other videos, with the creators receiving $5,000 each. The winners were: "The Most Influential Man" (funniest video), "Voice of the 99" (most dramatic video), "American Show" (best original song), "Why Our Democracy Needs to be Changed" (best student video) and "Our Democracy is Not For Sale" (most creative video). All the winning videos can be viewed here.

    "The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created to tap into the creative potential of Americans who support a constitutional amendment that allows for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections," said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money. "Instead of hiring an advertising agency to produce spots promoting campaign finance reform, we decided to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts."

    "This contest, like the amendment itself, was all about restoring the true spirit of the First Amendment," added Marge Baker, executive vice president of People For the American Way. "There's so much creative energy in the movement to get big money out of politics, and we wanted to put the voices of everyday Americans front and center."

    The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 144 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn cases such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy.

    People For the American Way (PFAW) is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.

    Say No To Big Money is a 501c4 nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14820-kathleen-turner-helps-name-winners-of-democracy-for-all-video-challenge

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  • A number of professionals in the entertainment industry have joined together to do a benefit for their hometown of Flint, Michigan in response to the city's devastating water crisis.

    Hollywood Helps Flint
    Hollywood Helps Flint

    The event, created by publicist Howard Bragman, manager Tulani Bridgewater and director Alex Grossman will be held Sunday, February 21 from 4-6:30 p.m. at Spaghettini (184 N. Canon Dr.) in Beverly Hills.

    The fundraiser will feature performances by Flint native and triple Grammy winner Dee Dee Bridgewater, Tamir Hendlemen and John Clayton. Guests will be treated to Angelo's Coney Island hot dogs—a Flint staple, and Vernor's ginger ale.

    "We have left Flint, but Flint never left us," explains Grossman. "We have families and friends there who have been ravaged and we can't stand idly by."

    The host committee consists of a number of Flint natives and Michiganders who have banded together to send a message of love and support to their hometown. It includes Alex Grossman, Howard Bragman, Tulani Bridgewater, Dave Koz, Cary Hardwick, Sandra Bernhard, Sam Gottlieb, Carter Oosterhouse and Amy Smart, attorney Adam Kaller, agent Rhonda Price, television personality Bob Eubanks, designer Steven Rachwal, Jill Rosenbaum, director Wendey Stanzler, filmmaker Laurie White, actor Ben Cain, writer Gordon Young, talent booker Krystyn Price, super agent Sam Gores, attorney Adam Kaller and author Ben Hamper.

    The venue is being donated by jazz legend Dave Koz and Spaghettini owner Cary Hardwick. There will be a cash bar and tickets are $100 at Indiegogo.

    All monies raised will go to FlintKids.org, a local charity that addresses the health needs of children affected by the situation.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14821-john-clayton-to-perform-at-hollywood-helps-flint-event

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  • At the center of the American Indian College Fund's new campaign is a staggering statistic — less than 1 percent of college students are American Indian.

    Video: American Indian College Fund - One Percent

    The College Fund joined forces with longtime partner, Portland-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy, to create a public service announcement to increase enrollment.

    Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the College Fund, said, "We are in the business of ensuring that American Indian students are able to use modern tools to build better societies in their communities and in the United States. A college education is a critical tool we can help students access. Our new campaign bridges the traditional world of the students we serve with that of contemporary society, in a respectful way to Native cultures while giving the public a glimpse of our students. Startling statistics deserve a creative approach to drive the message home. We are particularly appreciative of our long relationship with Wieden+Kennedy that resulted in this exciting and beautiful campaign."

    The campaign debuted a 30-second animated television spot from director Chel White and Bent Imagine Lab. Inspired by Native beadwork, the film uses stop-motion and computer-generated rendering of beads in motion. Music was provided by rock artist Neil Young.

    "We wanted to take a modern approach to traditional American Indian beadwork," said Patty Orlando, Art Director at Wieden+Kennedy. "We spent a lot of time looking at the incredible photorealist bead pieces created by Marcus Amerman (a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and American Indian college graduate) and were immediately drawn to his complex and visually striking imagery."

    Amerman created American Indian student portraits for the print campaign. Each portrait features more than 18,000 tiny beads hand-stitched by the artist. The beadwork in the television, print, and digital campaign works to raise awareness for the College Fund. The campaign includes the new tagline "Education is the answer" to inspire people to help American Indian college students get a college education.

    Wieden+Kennedy has supported the College Fund for more than 20 years, lending its cutting-edge-creativity to generate awareness about the importance of education for health and prosperity for American Indians, their families, and communities.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14822-neil-young-provides-music-for-american-indian-college-fund-video

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  • BTIG, LLC, a global financial services firm specializing in institutional trading, investment banking, research and related brokerage services, announced today that it will host its 14th annual BTIG Commissions for Charity Day on Tuesday, May 10, 2016.

    The event will take place across BTIG's 14 global locations including its U.S. offices and affiliate office locations in London, Edinburgh, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.

    BTIG Commissions for Charity Day is a global initiative supported by the firm's institutional and corporate client base, in addition to employees across four continents and a diverse and growing list of celebrity guest traders. Each year, BTIG donates the day's commissions to charities, many of them supporting children in need. Throughout the day, cultural icons, all-star athletes, top-recording artists and celebrities from film and television act as guest traders alongside the firm's institutional trading team, while clients partner with some of their favorite stars to support meaningful causes.

    "Our participants work to make BTIG Commissions for Charity Day a great success each year. We are honored by the dedication demonstrated by clients and our celebrity partners, and are very proud of our team's continued commitment to donating to hundreds of organizations around the world," said Steven Starker, Co-Founder of BTIG.

    BTIG pioneered its first Commissions for Charity Day in 2003, raising funds for three charities in the U.S. In the last thirteen years as BTIG has grown, so has BTIG Commissions for Charity Day. Since the inception of the event, BTIG has raised more than US$35 million for hundreds of charitable organizations around the world, including over US$5 million from this event in 2015. Charities are nominated by clients and celebrity guest traders, and the firm encourages the selection of child-focused charities.

    Celebrities committed to join BTIG this year so far include Shaquille O0Neal, Alex Rodriguez, Petra Nemcova, Mark Teixeira, Victor Cruz, Joe Girardi and Bruce Beck. Some of the previous participants have included Allan Houston, Beth Ostrosky Stern, Blake Griffin, Bobby Valentine, Bode Miller, Bridget Moynahan, Brooke Shields, Carmelo Anthony, CC Sabathia, Charles Oakley, Chris Mullin, Chrissy Teigen, Damaris Lewis, David Diehl, David Muir, David Wright, Doug Ellin, Eduardo Garcia, Eli Manning, Eric LeGrand, Geoffrey Zakarian, Hannah Davis, Hannah Storm, Jeremy Roenick, Joe Namath, John McEnroe, John Starks, John Sterling, Josh Capon, K. Lee Graham, Kelly Ripa, Kelly Rutherford, Kristin Davis, Lawrence Taylor, Mariano Rivera, Mark Cuban, Mark Messier, Matt Dillon, Michael J. Fox, Michael Strahan, Mike Maccagnan, Nate "Tiny" Archibald, Nia Sanchez, Padma Lakshmi, Rachel Robinson, Rebecca Jarvis, Reggie Jackson, Rex Ryan, Rick DiPietro, Steve Weatherford, Tom Coughlin, Tommy Hilfiger, Tutan Reyes and Woody Johnson in New York; Barry Bonds, Joe Morgan, Marshawn Lynch, Ronnie Lott and Vida Blue in San Francisco; Jason Collins, Marcus Allen, Michelle Monaghan and Tony Gonzalez in Los Angeles; and Mike Gatting OBE, Chris Tarrant OBE, Aled Jones MBE, Brian Conley, Charlie Webster, Francine Lewis, Jamie Laing, Miles Jupp, Pandora, Sinitta and Vogue Williams in London.

    "Driven by passion to help those in need, we are inspired by the success stories that come from the charities we collaborate with each year," said Scott Kovalik, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of BTIG. "It's a privilege to be a part of this event and we are grateful for our supporters, many of whom continue to participate year after year."

    BTIG plans to announce additional celebrity participants throughout the coming months

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14823-btig-announces-charity-day-2016

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  • X-Files star Gillian Anderson took action this week to help horses abused in New York City's horse-drawn-carriage industry.

    The actress wrote to members of the New York City Council, urging them to vote for a new bill that will see horses restricted to Central Park.

    "I love New York, but I'm astonished that the city still allows shackled horses to dodge taxis, buses, and police cars every day," wrote Gillian. "That's why I'm urging council members to vote yes on Intro 573B, the bill that would limit the operation of horse-drawn carriages to Central Park. Last year's police report on the dozens of awful accidents involving horse-drawn carriages was no surprise.

    "The New York Times' editorial board wrote the following: ‘Why should carriage horses be allowed in midtown or downtown or uptown or anywhere that exposes them to screeching brakes and loud honks? The tourist will surely be happier behind a horse that's clip-clopping peacefully through the trees than behind one trembling in a seething mass of taxis. All drivers will be a lot happier, too, without horse-drawn carriages to contend with.'

    "That was published in 1988. Since then, congested cities as diverse as Toronto, Mumbai, and San Juan have reined in the dangerous carriage trade. Let's do the same in New York by passing this bill, which would keep the horses in the park. It's safer for them and for New Yorkers and would make Manhattan more enjoyable for people like me who love to visit but hate seeing the horses in traffic."

    The vote takes place on Friday.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14824-gillian-anderson-urges-nyc-council-to-keep-horses-safe

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  • Point Foundation (Point) will honor producer, showrunner, and writer Pete Nowalk with the Point Leadership Award at the organization's annual Point Honors gala in New York City, April 11.

    Point Foundation will honor Pete Nowalk with the Point Leadership Award
    Point Foundation will honor Pete Nowalk with the Point Leadership Award

    Point presents its Leadership Award to an individual who has achieved prominence in their professional career and unequivocally supports the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.

    Nowalk, whose additional producer credits include "Scandal" and "Grey's Anatomy," will receive the award April 11 at the Point Honors gala at the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue. Point Foundation, the nation's largest scholarship-granting organization for LGBTQ students of merit, has used the grand setting of the library in recent years to present awards to Lena Dunham, Neal Baer, Jonathan Groff and Jeffrey Tambor.

    "I'm in awe of the support and scholarship the Point Foundation offers to LGBTQ students," said Nowalk. "There's no better way to empower our future leaders than by helping them get the education they deserve. I'm honored to receive this award and look forward to celebrating the scholars and mentors who have my deepest admiration."

    "As a writer and producer, Pete Nowalk is responsible for some of the most intelligent and authentic portrayals of gay characters on TV," said Jorge Valencia, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Point Foundation. "He is an example for LGBTQ young people that if you are confident in yourself, dedicate time to your education, and you find allies who believe in you, it is possible to realize your professional and personal dreams."

    Additional celebrity participation for the April 11 Point Honors event will be announced in the coming weeks. Some of Point's 85 current scholars and 217 alumni will be present at the event to share with the audience their inspiring stories about how they have overcome challenges to get their higher education degrees. Information about attending or supporting Point Honors is at www.pointfoundation.org/Honors2016.

    Sponsors of Point Honors:
    
Presenting Sponsor: Wells Fargo

    Premier Sponsors: HSBC, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson

    Principal Sponsor: Citi

    National Media Sponsors: The Advocate and Pride.com
    
Local Media Sponsor: Gay City News

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14825-producer-pete-nowalk-to-be-honored-with-point-leadership-award

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  • Earlier this week, RushCard delivered a donation of 150,000 bottles of water to the relief effort in Flint, Michigan.

    The prepaid debit card company, founded by Russell Simmons, teamed up with Sean Diddy Combs and Mark Wahlberg's water company AQUAhydrate, which has pledged 1 million bottles of water to help the relief effort. Simmons was in Flint on Monday to personally deliver water to Flint residents. He also called on corporations across the country to do their part to support the people of Flint during this crisis.

    "My heart breaks for the people of Flint, who are being deprived of the most basic of necessities – clean drinking water," said Russell Simmons, Founder of RushCard. "RushCard is committed to supporting the people of Flint during this crisis, and is proud to be partnering with AQUAhydrate to make this contribution of 150,000 bottles to the relief effort. We're calling on our partners in Corporate America to step up to the plate and support the people of Flint during their time of need."

    "The crisis in Flint is one that Corporate America must respond to," said Rick Savard, CEO and Chairman of RushCard. "RushCard will do everything we can to support the Flint community as they struggle to access clean drinking water. We are asking the rest of Corporate America to contribute to the relief efforts in Flint."

    Last week AQUAhydrate investors Sean "Diddy" Combs, Mark Wahlberg and CEO Hal Kravitz announced that the company will be donating 1 million bottles of water to the Flint relief effort. The effort is being supported by hip-hop stars Eminem and Wiz Khalifa in addition to RushCard.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14826-russell-simmons-delivers-water-to-flint

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  • Prince0s Trust Ambassadors Kelly Hoppen MBE and Dynamo have teamed up to create a magical new wallpaper collection.

    Dynamo and Kelly Hoppen
    Dynamo and Kelly Hoppen

    A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to The Trust.

    The world-renowned designer, Kelly Hoppen, and Trust-supported magician, Dynamo, have created a distinctive range of illusion wallpaper, in collaboration with Graham & Brown.

    Using the newest printing technology, realistic imagery and clever design, the pair have created an optical illusion of depth, which forms a sense of additional space within the home.

    The collection will launch at the end of January and is available in two designs:
    1. Enigma – a 3 dimensional effect giving protruding pillar effect
    2. Paradox – which replicates an angled jutting wall of stone

    "I was thrilled to work with Dynamo, creating a unique and exciting design for people to enjoy in their homes," said Kelly. "One of the reasons we wanted to work together is because we share the same vision to inspire young people to be creative and entrepreneurial."

    Dynamo, who started his magical journey through the Trust's Enterprise programme, added: "I'm thrilled with the results and even more delighted that part of the profits will go to The Prince's Trust who were so key in helping me start my magical journey."

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14827-dynamo-helps-design-wallpaper-collection

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  • The Hollywood Vampires (Alice Cooper, Johnny Depp, Joe Perry) will make their television debut in front of a worldwide audience when they perform on the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards, Feb 15 on CBS.

    The Hollywood Vampires Rise Again
    The Hollywood Vampires Rise Again

    A super-group comprised of rock royalty and Hollywood superstar, the Vampires will hit the stage offering fans a special surprise for what will be a highlight on Music's Biggest Night.

    The Hollywood Vampires live again with the release of a new digital deluxe version of their self-titled album available to all digital partners on Feb 12. This expanded version includes three additional songs, including one original and two rocking covers.

    The deluxe version includes the scorching new single "Bad As I Am" an original song penned by Johnny Depp, Tommy Henriksen, and Bruce Witkin and features Matt Sorum, Duff Mckagen, Joe Perry, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper.
    Also included is "I'm A Boy," a Who original, that was only available as a Japanese bonus track.

    "7 and 7 Is" is an unreleased track from the album sessions and is the classic song by the legendary Los Angeles band Love, a Vampires special pick and one that Alice covered on his 1981 solo album, Special Forces.

    A little history on the Vampires: in 1969 on the Sunset Strip at a club called the Rainbow Bar & Grill, the Hollywood Vampires were born in the upstairs bar. It was a gathering place for the rock stars living in or passing through L.A. "To join the club, one simply had to out drink all of the members," says Alice Cooper, a founding member of the original Vampires.

    Alice and good friend Johnny Depp got together and decided the spirit of the Hollywood Vampires should live again (minus the drinking). Alice and Johnny were joined by Joe Perry, who is an old friend of both of them, and the recording began: a tribute to the original Hollywood Vampires. An environment was born for great artists to hang, laugh and play together.

    Joining the Hollywood Vampires for their GRAMMY performance is Matt Sorum on drums, Duff McKagan on bass, Tommy Henriksen on guitar, and Bruce Witkin on piano and guitar.

    During the recording of the album, Alice, Johnny and Joe and producer Bob Ezrin were joined by an amazing group of modern day Vampires, including Perry Farrell, Dave Grohl, Sir Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Slash, Robbie Krieger, Zak Starkey, Brian Johnson and Kip Winger, to record tracks by their dead friends and heroes.

    The album package, an antique book, was created by noted men's fashion designer (and rock fan) John Varvatos in his signature vintage style.

    All artist proceeds will be donated to MusiCares, an organization that provides a safety net of critical assistance (financial, medical and personal emergencies) for music people in times of need.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14828-the-hollywood-vampires-rise-again

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  • GRAMMY winners Yolanda Adams, Dave Grohl and Rihanna and current GRAMMY nominees Leon Bridges, Ellie Goulding, Chris Stapleton, and Florence Welch have been added to the performance lineup for the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year tribute concert honoring Lionel Richie on Feb. 13 in Los Angeles.

    Late night television personality Jimmy Kimmel will host the event.

    Previously announced performers are GRAMMY winners Lenny Kravitz, Lady Antebellum, John Legend, The Roots, Usher, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, and singer/songwriters Luke Bryan and Demi Lovato. Rickey Minor, current music director for "American Idol" and past two-time music director for the GRAMMY Awards, will serve as the gala's musical director.

    Richie will be honored as the 2016 MusiCares Person of the Year in recognition of his significant creative achievements and career-spanning charitable contributions. Proceeds from the 26th annual benefit will provide essential support for MusiCares.

    The MusiCares Person of the Year tribute ceremony is one of the most prestigious events held during GRAMMY Week. The celebration culminates with the 58th Annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Monday, Feb. 15. The telecast will be broadcast live on the CBS Television Network at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14829-more-performers-added-to-musicares-person-of-the-year-celebration

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  • This Valentine's Day, eBay's ‘For the One' campaign is offering shoppers great value, selection and exclusive charity auctions making it easy to celebrate what makes the loved ones in their life unique and special.

    According to the National Retail Federation, consumers are expected to spend $18.9 billion this Valentine's Day: $4.8 billion on jewelry, $3.6 billion for a special night out, $2 billion on clothing, and $1.5 billion on gift cards.

    "eBay knows what people are shopping for this Valentine's Day and we are curating deals and exclusive charity auctions to make it easy for them to find the perfect gift," says Hal Lawton, senior vice president, eBay North America. "By harnessing the power of our global marketplace, we're able to provide consumers with an ideal destination to shop for the loved ones in their life."

    eBay for Charity has teamed up with The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and Warner Bros. to auction off one-of-a-kind experiences. Both charity auctions will begin Feb.1 and end Feb.10 with all proceeds benefitting the American Heart Association.

    • The Bachelor/Bachelorette: Bid for the chance to win a double-date with former stars of "The Bachelor" Sean Lowe and Catherine Giudici; additionally, enter to win a double-date with "The Bachelorette" stars Kaitlyn Bristowe and Shawn Booth. Both experiences will offer an all-expenses paid trip and personalized double-date in each couple's hometown.
    • Warner Bros.: For the new film How to be Single, starring Rebel Wilson and Dakota Johnson, fans can bid on the ultimate girl's night out with an all-expenses paid trip to New York City for one winner and a guest, movie premiere tickets and autographed items.

    To access the auctions, click here.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14830-ebays-auctions-from-the-heart

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  • Nielsen will host its third annual Pre-GRAMMY party on Sunday, February 14, 2016 at Hyde Sunset Kitchen + Cocktails in West Hollywood, CA.

    In celebration of the unique link Nielsen makes between entertainment consumers and their media and purchase habits, industry executives and influencers across media, entertainment, sports, consumer, brands and retail will be treated to a night of live entertainment from some of the hottest artists of 2016.

    This year's event will also serve to spotlight Nielsen's relationship and ongoing initiatives with GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy organization. Members of GLAAD will be on-hand to receive a charitable donation from Nielsen on behalf of attendees.

    "This will be our third year hosting Nielsen's Pre-GRAMMY bash, which has become such an exciting night for us and our clients," said Howard Appelbaum, President of Entertainment, Nielsen. "We're proud that this event gives our guests the chance to make valuable connections by interacting with others from different industries, all while celebrating GRAMMY week and enjoying some really terrific performances."

    The evening's performers will include:

    Leon Bridges, the 26 year old R&B artist and singer, songwriter who prompted comparisons to R&B legends like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, will be one of the evening's performers. Bridges performed in and around Fort Worth, Texas and first stirred up music industry interest with analog recordings, produced by musicians Justin Block and Austin Jenkins. Now signed to Columbia Records, his first singles – including the standout track "River" – appeared in early 2015 with a modern sound that drew upon mid- to late-'60s soul. His debut album, Coming Home, was released in June 2015 and picked up a GRAMMY nomination for Best R&B album.

    The Strumbellas, formed in Toronto, Ontario in 2009, are a Juno-award winning six-piece band consisting of Simon Ward, David Ritter, Jon Hembrey, Isabel Ritchie, Darryl James and Jeremy Drury. Recently signed to Glassnote Records, their debut single ‘Spirits' is rapidly climbing the alternative radio and Spotify Viral Charts. The Strumbellas' sound — haunting lyrics fused with infectious, danceable melodies — has earned them six awards, including a JUNO Award and Sirius XM Indie Award, as well as a spot on the Polaris Music Prize Long List. Teaming up with LA Producer/Engineer, Dave Schiffman (Johnny Cash, Haim, Weezer) in 2015, The Strumbellas are gearing up for the release of their new album Hope on April 22nd, 2016.

    Preservation Hall Jazz Band will also be taking the stage. Their name derives from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. The band travels worldwide fulfilling their philosophy to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz. Many of the band's charter members performed with the pioneers who invented jazz in the early twentieth century including Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong. PHJB's recent album, That's It!, is a record that will go down in history as their first album of entirely original material, which was produced by band leader Ben Jaffe and My Morning Jacket lead singer Jim James. PHJB recently performed in New Orleans with Arcade Fire to honor and celebrate David Bowie.

    DJ Michelle Pesce, who has become one of the most sought-after DJ's, performing at parties and clubs around the world (France, Spain, Kenya, Uganda, Toronto, Mexico), will provide the night's soundtrack. Pesce mixes the flavor of hip hop with rock, electro, funk and pop. From her regular spinning gig on ABC's "Good Morning America" to playing old-school hip hop at LA hotspot The Dime, to rocking A-list crowds at events for the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, multiple film festivals, and the GRAMMY Awards Official After-Party, she has become a staple in the Hollywood Event Scene.

    The full menu will be provided by sbe Events and Catering and designed by Executive Chef Chris Crary of Hyde Sunset Kitchen + Cocktails.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14831-leon-bridges-to-perform-at-nielsen-pre-grammy-party

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  • Few things excite moviegoers more than a new film written and directed by the Coen brothers, and the latest comedy from the award-winning duo is sure to excite any animal lover as well.

    Opening everywhere February 5, "Hail, Caesar!" pays homage to a bygone era in Hollywood and boasts a veritable galaxy of human stars… but animal stars including goats, horses, and one plucky little dog steal any scenes they are in throughout the film. Based on the extraordinary treatment of the animal stars, American Humane Association has awarded its highest rating, "Monitored: Outstanding," to "Hail, Caesar!"

    Four-time Oscar-winning filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen ("No Country for Old Men," "True Grit," "Fargo") write and direct Hail, Caesar!, an all-star comedy fueled by a brilliant cast led by Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton and Channing Tatum.

    When the world's biggest star vanishes and his captors demand an enormous ransom for his safe return, it will take the power of Hollywood's biggest names to solve the mystery of his disappearance. Bringing the audience along for a comic whodunit that pulls back the curtain and showcases the unexpected humor and industry drama found behind the scenes, "Hail, Caesar!" marks the Coens at their most inventive.

    The comedy is produced by Joel and Ethan Coen through their Mike Zoss Productions, alongside Working Title Films' Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner ("The Theory of Everything," "Les Misérables"), who have partnered with the brothers since their Academy Award-winning "Fargo."

    While the film celebrates Hollywood's Golden Age, one element in Tinseltown that is thankfully much better in the modern era is the way animal actors are now treated. In the past, animals were viewed as mere props, and their safety was often an afterthought. To protect the four-legged stars of this film, just as it has millions more of our favorite animal stars since 1940, American Humane Association and its famed "No Animals Were Harmed" program were on the set of "Hail, Caesar!" overseeing the safety and humane treatment of the non-human actors.

    Treating animals right on movie sets is essential. American Humane Association applauds the Coen brothers, their production team, the actors, the trainers, and Universal Pictures for working with the organization's "No Animals Were Harmed" team and maintaining a safe and humane working environment for the animal stars in the film. The "No Animals Were Harmed" program oversees the protection of some 100,000 animal actors on 1,000 film and television productions each year and has kept millions of animals safe around the world for more than 75 years. The "No Animals Were Harmed" program, the only industry-sanctioned program with oversight of animals in filmed production, has made the protection of animal actors its duty and charter.

    To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of this marquee program, American Humane Association President and CEO Dr. Robin Ganzert penned the book Animal Stars: Behind the Scenes with Your Favorite Animal Actors. Published by New World Library, it offers unprecedented access to the fascinating world of animals and animal trainers in today's film and television industry -- and the celebrities with whom they work. Included in the book is the story of a horse who charmed actress Hailee Steinfeld while filming the Coen brothers' "True Grit."

    "I hail the Coen brothers for their commitment to the safe treatment of the animal stars of ‘Hail, Caesar!,'" said Dr. Ganzert. "American Humane Association is always proud when a production is able to achieve our highest rating for animal actor safety, because it shows that the production team, trainers, and actors are all extremely committed to the treatment and safety of their animal co-stars and doing things the right way."

    "Hail, Caesar!" is in theaters everywhere February 5.

    From: http://www.looktothestars.org/news/14832-american-humane-association-gives-high-marks-to-hail-caesar

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