Presented by the New York Comedy Festival (NYCF), the 9th Annual Stand Up for Heroes, a night of comedy and music, returned Tuesday night to a sold-out crowd at the Theater at Madison Square Garden to raise more than $6.1 million million in support of post-9/11 injured service members, veterans and their families through the Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF).
The event enlisted the aid of celebrities and social media to expand awareness well beyond the Garden with a social media campaign, #GIVE2VETERANS.
Through #GIVE2VETERANS, the Bob Woodruff Foundation gets $1 from Love the GIVE each time the hashtag #GIVE2VETERANS is used on Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or Facebook, up to a total amount of $500,000. The campaign runs through November 15.
“Now in its 9th year, we are so proud of how Stand Up for Heroes has matured into a movement of generosity that continues to inspire so many to give back to our veterans,” said Bob Woodruff, the ABC news correspondent who co-founded the Bob Woodruff Foundation after he was critically injured by a roadside bomb while reporting from Iraq. “My wife Lee, the Foundation and I are so extremely grateful to those who have come out year after year to support our heroes. We are all so humbled by the generosity.”
“Stand Up for Heroes continues to exceed our expectations year after year. We are so thankful to all of the performers who come out for this great cause, as well as the continued support from patrons to raise awareness for the Bob Woodruff Foundation,” said Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of the New York Comedy Festival and Carolines on Broadway. “We look forward to celebrating next year’s tenth anniversary of Stand Up for Heroes.”
Taking the stage last night were Chris Botti, Seth Meyers, John Oliver, Ray Romano, Bruce Springsteen, and Jon Stewart.
The performers also took to the stage to help raise funds through auctions. Springsteen offered up two guitars and his mother’s lasagna for $370,000 each. Springsteen later drove a brand new, military-inspired Harley-Davidson Softail Slim motorcycle onto the stage. The comedians all pitched in to drive the bidding to $100,000.
Beyond the recognition of nearly 100 injured service members and their caregivers who were seated in the theater’s front rows, the audience was inspired by the story of Marine Sgt Kirstie Ennis. Ennis enlisted at the age of 17, and on her last deployment to Afghanistan her helicopter went down, while performing combat resupplies. Ennis sustained serious injuries and has undergone 38 surgeries.
Kirstie’s leg will be amputated this month, however her injuries didn’t stop her from recently completing the 1,000-mile Walk of Britain with Walking With The Wounded, through the support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
Stand Up for Heroes has helped the Bob Woodruff Foundation invest nearly $30 million in programs across the country. With 46,000 nonprofits serving veterans in the United States, the Bob Woodruff Foundation prides itself on navigating that maze to find, find and shape innovative programs in three key areas: Education and Employment; Rehabilitation and Recovery; and Quality of Life.
In addition to the concert, the foundation has partnered with leading restaurateurs for the 2nd annual Dine Out for Heroes, which was expanded to five nights this year, running November 9 – 13, in New York City. Eligible American Express® Card holders who spend $25 or more get $5 back at 50+ of New York City’s best restaurants supporting the initiative.
Stand Up for Heroes, brought to you by Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS), a consortium of financial firms, supported by founding sponsor GFI Group Inc., and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, is one of the centerpiece events of the 12th annual New York Comedy Festival, running from November 10 – 15 at venues throughout New York City. The NYCF’s schedule will consist of more than 200 comedians — including Judd Apatow, Bill Burr, Margaret Cho, Billy Crystal, Nathan Fielder, Gabriel Iglesias, John Leguizamo, Norm Macdonald, Bill Maher, Kumail Nanjiani, Trevor Noah, Iliza Shlesinger, Sarah Silverman, and David Steinberg, performing in over 60 shows at iconic New York City venues such as the Beacon Theatre, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), Carnegie Hall, Carolines on Broadway, Madison Square Garden, The Theater at MSG, Town Hall, the TimesCenter, Paley Center for Media and the 92nd Street Y.
This year’s sponsors for Stand Up for Heroes include: Veterans on Wall Street, GFI Group Inc., Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation, Paul E. Singer Foundation, Toyota, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Bank USA, 21st Century FOX, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays Capital, BASF, CraigConnects, Credit Suisse, Deloitte, J. Walter Thompson Company, Havas PR & Havas Health, Jack Daniels, JANA Partners LLC, Jeffries, JP Morgan Chase & Co., JetBlue, and Thomson Reuters.
Visit us on Facebook for photos from the night.
ABOUT THE BOB WOODRUFF FOUNDATION
The Bob Woodruff Foundation (BWF) is the nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring injured service members and their families are thriving long after they return home. A national organization with grassroots reach, the Bob Woodruff Foundation complements the work of the federal government —diligently navigating the maze of more than 46,000 nonprofits providing services to veterans—finds, funds and shapes innovative programs, and holds them accountable for results. To date, BWF has invested nearly $30 million in public education and solutions, reaching more than 2 million service members, support personnel, veterans and their families. The Bob Woodruff Foundation was co-founded in 2006 by award-winning anchor Bob Woodruff and his family, whose own experiences inspired them to help make sure the nation’s heroes have access to the high level of support and resources they deserve, for as long as they need it. For more information about the Bob Woodruff Foundation, please visit the BWF website, like the BWF Facebook page, and follow the BWF on Twitter, @Stand4Heroes. The hashtag for Stand Up for Heroes is #Stand4Heroes.
ABOUT THE NEW YORK COMEDY FESTIVAL
Now in its twelfth year, the New York Comedy Festival is produced by Carolines on Broadway in association with COMEDY CENTRAL. The festival has featured the country’s top comedians, including Aziz Ansari, Hannibal Buress, Louis C.K., Larry David, Ricky Gervais, Kevin Hart, Bill Maher, John Mulaney, Tig Notaro, Nick Offerman, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, and Wanda Sykes, to name a few. In 2007, the festival launched the “Stand Up for Heroes” event to benefit The Bob Woodruff Foundation, which has featured performances by Ricky Gervais, John Mayer, John Oliver, Conan O’Brien, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart, and Robin Williams, among others. To date, the “Stand Up for Heroes” events have raised over $27 million. For more information please visit the NYCF website, like the NYCF Facebook page, and follow the NYCF on Twitter, @NYComedyFest.