'Hand in Hand' telethon raises $44 million for hurricane victims

  • 'Hand in Hand' telethon raises $44 million for hurricane victims

'Hand in Hand' telethon raises $44 million for hurricane victims

"Just when you think you couldn't possibly get worse, natural disasters take precious life, do massive damage and forever change lives, leaving behind contaminated water, flooded hospitals, schools and nursing homes", she said.

Beyonce, Blake Shelton, Barbra Streisand and Oprah Winfrey will headline a one-hour telethon to benefit Hurricane Harvey and Irma victims that will be simulcast on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and CMT. The next step was getting in touch with people "who could get the most eyes and ears on what we were trying to get done".

Stephen Colbert announced that Apple was donating $5 million; Houston Rockets star Chris Paul said that the NBA Player's Association donated $500,000, and on top of that, would match any professional basketball player's donation up to $20,000. Jimmy Fallon shared that Albertsons Cos. and Merck would each give $1 million.

According to Variety, $14 million was raised during the telethon itself, and an additional $30 million was donated later in the night.

Oprah and Cher, Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, George Clooney and Julia Roberts, and Robert DeNiro and Jon Stewart were among the other pairings paying tribute and telling stories of those affected by the disaster. Later in the evening, Brad Paisley, Darius Rocker, Demi Lovato and CeCe Winans collaborated on "With A Little Help From My Friends" (the Joe Cocker version).

Comic Relief USA, the non-profit organization behind Idol Gives Back, will manage collecting the donations and distributing them to organizations helping in the relief efforts, including the Rebuild Texas Fund, Feeding Texas Habitat for Humanity, United Way of Greater Houston and more.

As one of the underwriting partners of the event, Verizon is donating $2.5 million to the telethon as well as orchestrating the more than 2,000 call center volunteers taking phone donations during the live telecast. He's also invited Hurricane Harvey first responders to the show, free of charge. Getting the charitable word out as much as possible, the benefit was broadcast across 15 networks and 150 radio stations, and live-streamed on social media.