By Hayden Wright
Last night’s Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief aired on dozens of networks and streaming services and recruited the world’s biggest stars to raise money. In total, the effort raised $44 million and counting Phone lines remained open through the night and it’s still possible to contribute. Make a donation for hurricane relief here.
The whopping total was achieved via small donations from individual callers, as well as corporate giving. Apple pledged $5 million to the effort while Merk and Albertsons Cos. each gave $1 million. Additionally, the NBA Players Association donated $500,000 and offered to match any player’s donation up to $20,000.
The telecast included heartfelt speeches and uplifting performances from some of music’s biggest stars. Houston native Beyoncé spoke of coming together to heal communities and fight climate change while Justin Bieber led viewers at home in an interfaith prayer. Usher, Stevie Wonder, Miranda Lambert, George Strait, Demi Lovato and many other performers covered inspirational classics from Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to “Lean on Me.”
Proceeds from the telethon will benefit Rebuild Texas Fund, ASPCA, Best Friends, Direct Relief, Feeding Florida, Feeding Texas, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children and United Way. Hurricane Harvey alone caused upwards of $200 billion in financial losses and Hand in Hand organizers are currently evaluating the need for funds in communities struck by Hurricane Irma days later.
Again, it’s not too late to make a contribution: Learn more about the fundraising efforts here.