On Saturday, October 20 George Clooney was honored with “The Brass Ring” award for his prolific humanitarian work at the 26th Carousel of Hope gala at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The glamorous, star-studded biennial charity event raises funds for The Children’s Diabetes Foundation and The Barbara Davis Center for Childhood Diabetes, chaired by the highly revered philanthropist Barbara Davis.
Walking the red carpet were over 100 acclaimed film, television and musical artists from Quincy Jones, Clive Davis, Smokey Robinson, Shirley MacLaine, Jane Fonda to Sidney Poitier, even the original members of KISS, to new artists such as Keegen Allen, Diego Boneta, Carmen Electra and more.
Each person I spoke with expressed heartfelt reasons why they not only are compelled to give back to people in need, but why they specifically support the Children’s Diabetes Foundation and Barbara Davis‘s efforts.
Her foundation was started with her late husband, Marvin Davis, after discovering that their 7-year-old daughter, Dana Davis, had diabetes. The foundation has raised $80 million through The Carousel of Hope charity ball since its inception 35 years ago. Saturday evening’s event raised over $2.5 million alone, and in turn provided for grand entertainment. But more than that, it ignited a strengthened fight for finding preventive tools, providing care for young people suffering from the epidemic disease and ultimately finding a cure for type 1 diabetes.
Miss A covers the intersection of charity and style so I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that Dana Davis was inspired to design her luxurious yet comfortable Dana Davis Collection shoes after undergoing eight corrective foot surgeries for Diabetes-related foot problems. In addition to developing high-fashion footwear collections, Dana is very involved in the philanthropic efforts with The Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, and seats on the board of The Nancy Davis Center Without Walls and the Children’s Diabetes Foundation.
As the new young star Keegen Allen so beautifully articulated, “It is more than the glamour tonight. It is really about the passion that we all share under our lapels, under our dresses.”
Bringing high profile, articulate and philanthropic stars to support her foundation enables powerful voices to speak and be heard about the important work of the foundation. Ms. Davis surely knows how to do it well.
The evening was a lovely celebration. Emceed by the one and only Jay Leno, the audience was moved to chuckle and ineffectively contain bursts of laughter. David Foster and George Schlatter lit up the stage with amazing talent, including the 17-year-old powerhouse from “American Idol”, Jessica Sanchez, and the beautiful voice and guitar strumming of Babyface. The evening’s events culminated with Neil Diamond, who carried the same polished swagger he had in his early thirties. He looked great and lifted the crowd to their feet as he meandered through each part of the audience singing “Forever in Blue Jeans”, “Sweet Caroline” and “Hello”. He even finagled George Clooney into singing a few bars, albeit reluctantly. George was a good sport. Apparently he loves practical jokes, so he must have had something coming to him. It was evident throughout the evening that Mr. Clooney’s friends and colleagues love, adore and admire him, and many seemed to enjoy applying the soft poke at getting him to do something he is “not so good at,” especially since that is a hard thing to find.
What I found while talking with Mr. Clooney is that he is wonderfully at ease, open and humble. He spoke of the incredible and effective work Barbara Davis has done for the last 35 years. When I asked about how the work he does with The Children’s Diabetes Foundation ties in with his other humanitarian efforts he said, “It ties in the one way I can actually work on anything, which is to make anything louder, which is all you can really do – all I can do. If you can make it louder then you’re doing your job. You’re helping out.”
When I asked him about where his interest in charity work and helping to make a difference in the world he immediately tributes his family,
“I was raised to. My father taught me that. My mother taught me that. Our Christmas mornings were spent going to a house of people we never met and brining them presents. You know, we grew up that way. We were taught to live that way, so it’s just part of it. But, you know, if you get lucky enough to be in the position to make a difference then you ought to. I think everyone feels that way. I think most people do it.”
Interestingly, in the attributed film honoring George Clooney, his father fended off any claim that he was directly responsible for his son’s great humanitarian work by simply stating that he was pleased that his son has used his powerful voice for good.
Well, he did raise a gracious, eloquent, elegant and good human being, whose work surely deserves the prestigious award he was given this last Saturday evening by an incredible foundation, led by the philanthropic force, Ms. Barbara Davis. Congratulations, George!