Stars Bill Cosby, Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Stewart and Roger Waters Headlined, Helping to Bring Attention and Funds for Programs that Assist Injured Service Members and Veterans
The Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival presented Stand Up for Heroes last night in New York City. The event, funded in part by the generosity of Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) and supported by founding sponsor GFI Group, Inc., brought together celebrities, military, business and government leaders, service members and their families for a night of laughter and performances from A-list musicians and comedians, as well as wounded veterans, to raise funds for programs that the Bob Woodruff Foundation supports. The amount raised last night was more than $5 million — a new record for the Stand Up for Heroes Event, now in its seventh year. The funds raised will benefit organizations across the country vetted by the Bob Woodruff Foundation for their effectiveness and success. To date, $21 million has been raised by the Stand Up for Heroes events.
Comedians who took the stage for this year’s 7th annual Stand Up for Heroes event includedBill Cosby, Jim Gaffigan, Jerry Seinfeld and Jon Stewart. There was also a surprise video message from First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden, expressing their support for the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The event included a sensational musical performance by Bruce Springsteen. Springsteen has performed at all seven Stand Up for Heroes benefit concerts. The night also included a live auction, which raised $750,000.
Notable attendees included: CNN chief international correspondent Christiane Amanpour, ABC special correspondent Juju Chang, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, General and Mrs. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, actress America Ferrera, President and COO of Universal Studios Ron Meyer, business leader Ron Perelman and NBC anchor Brian Williams.
“We are thrilled with the results from Stand Up for Heroes — the generosity and spirit exhibited that evening from all the honored guests, performers and supporters is quite humbling,” said Bob Woodruff Co-Founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation.
“I continue to be overwhelmed by the incredible response to Stand Up for Heroes year after year,” says Caroline Hirsch, founder and owner of the New York Comedy Festival and Carolines on Broadway. “When we conceived this event seven years ago, we had high hopes for raising awareness and funds for the Bob Woodruff Foundation. The outpouring of support has far exceeded our greatest expectations.”
Stand Up for Heroes, presented at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, sold out with more than 5,500 guests in attendance. The event brought together leaders from military, business, entertainment, government and philanthropy to raise funds to help post-9/11 injured service members and their families thrive long after they return to the homefront.
A first for Stand Up for Heroes this year was a Hangout on Air, powered by Google. The Hangout on Air featured musical performances by Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters and an interactive discussion between musicians on location, comedians, celebrity crashers, veterans and fans. The Hangout was available on the Bob Woodruff Foundation Google+ channel and the Bob Woodruff YouTube channel, and will remain available for guests to view post-event. The event was also live-streamed on the Bob Woodruff Foundation website.
A highlight of the night was when Roger Waters performed with a band comprised of nearly two dozen musicians and singers, all of whom are wounded active service members or veterans representing all branches of the armed forces and the MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band. MusiCorps — an organization the Bob Woodruff Foundation funds — is a rehabilitation program operating out of Walter Reed National Military Medical Center that helps injured service members recover through the healing powers of music. Roger performed with a band comprised of nearly two dozen musicians and singers, all of whom are wounded active service members or veterans representing all branches of the armed forces and the MusiCorps Wounded Warrior Band.
Perhaps the most touching moment of the star-studded event was a speech given by injured service member Army Officer Larkin and his wife Rachel O’Hern. Larkin was severely wounded and lost both of his legs and one of his hands. Thanks to his many surgeons and therapists, he stood up for the first time this past May, and was able to stand on the tarmac to welcome each soldier from his platoon home from war. Larkin now walks with a cane and plans to stay on active duty. He also intends to obtain his M.B.A. and return to the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was commissioned in 2008, to teach.