In an overwhelming show of support, people from around the world donated $1,646,053 to a fundraiser for Los Angeles Unified's "LA Students Most In Need" charity today.
The fundraiser was hosted by CBS Television Stations' KCBS 2/KCAL 9, and CBSN Los Angeles, with iHeart Radio stations in Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Chargers, to help students and their families who are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic.
"The absence from school presents hardships for students – they lose touch with friends, miss out on learning time and their safety net is taken away," Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner said. "In times like this, we need to do all we can to support students and families most in need. I'm grateful for all who are part of this effort as we are truly in this together."
The charity – LA Students Most In Need – was created by Superintendent Beutner to support students who no longer have the benefit of being in school every day. The funds support the Los Angeles Unified Grab & Go Food Centers which have provided more than 4.5 million meals to those most in need, about one-third of whom are adults, since the program started just a bit more than two weeks ago.
Contributors include Creative Artists Agency (CAA), The Anthony and Jeanne Pritzker Family Foundation, Katie McGrath & JJ Abrams Family Foundation and the Ballmer Group. Numerous stars from CBS primetime, daytime and syndicated series, and celebrities, including Lian Armitage, Michael Badgley, Melinna Bobadilla, Jeff Bridges, Julissa Calderon, Jaime Camil, Meredith Eaton, Patrick Flynn of Ducommun Incorporated, Barrett Foa, Kevin Frasier, Becky G, Ryan Getzlaf, Walton Goggins, Justin Jackson, Sabrina Jalees, Derwin James, Phil Keoghan, Alix Kleinman, Michael Kosta, Mattel Chief Executive Officer Ynon Kreiz, Ali Larter, Katrina Law, Al Madrigal, Matthew McConaughey, Justin Melnick, Bob Miller, Eric Christian Olsen, Sharon Osbourne, Pauley Perrette, Dr. Phil, Whitney Port, Raegan Revord, April Ross, Daniela Ruah, Tierra Ruffin, Jeremy Sisto, Lucas Till and Zeeko Zaki, supported the fundraiser by appearing live via Skype and FaceTime, and in recorded messages.
"This moment reminds us of how much more our schools do for our communities beyond teaching our children," Pritzker Group Co-Founder and Managing Partner Tony Pritzker said. "In schools throughout Los Angeles Unified, people work tirelessly to give each student the tools to succeed, the security of receiving a warm meal, and safety and shelter for kids who may not have it anywhere else. During the coming weeks and months, it's never been more important for all of us to come together to support our schools to ensure that every child can continue to achieve their full potential."
"I hope anyone who can donate any amount, large or small, will pitch in to help - this is about feeding children in our city," CAA President Richard Lovett said.
"Everyone at KCBS 2, KCAL 9 and CBSN Los Angeles is deeply honored to help make a difference for local children and their families during this incredibly difficult time. We are pleased to have used the reach of our broadcast, streaming and web platforms to connect with Southern Californians and rally support for this important cause," KCBS 2, KCAL 9 and CBSN Los Angeles President and General Manager Jay Howell said. "Thanks to all the CBS stars and other celebrities who joined us on air, and thanks to everyone who made a donation."
"In challenging times like this, it is incredible to see partners come together united in a common goal for our community," iHeartMedia Los Angeles President Kevin LeGrett said. "I am inspired to see the outpouring of generosity from everyone who was able to give big and small to help others at a time when it is undoubtedly the most difficult. We are proud to have been a part of it."
"Whether you were in a position to give financially to Thursday's fundraiser benefitting LA Students Most In Need or are one of the millions of families struggling to make ends meet during these unprecedented times, we simply want everyone to know that we're going to get through this together," Los Angeles Chargers Owner and Chairman Dean Spanos said. "It's through adversity that we discover our true character, and seeing our community rally to support one another in this most difficult of times has not only been inspiring, it's given us all hope that our best days are still in front of us."
All funds will be used to provide meals and urgently needed supplies for students and family members. Funds will also be used to address the digital divide, providing devices and digital libraries and books to enable students to continue learning during the crisis caused by COVID-19.
Donations can be made by visiting LAStudentsMostInNeed.org or by texting NEED to 76278. Checks can be made payable to the California Community Foundation, note that the donation is for the LA Students Most in Need Fund, and should be mailed to: California Community Foundation, 221 S. Figueroa St., Suite 400, Los Angeles, CA 90012.