Unicef Celebrated Its 75th Anniversary Across 10 Cities In One Night
For an organization as widely accomplished as Unicef, the United Nations agency committed to advocating for the protection of children’s rights, its 75th anniversary called for not one, but ten simultaneous celebrations across the country on the evening of Giving Tuesday, spanning from New York to Miami. To no surprise, it was a star-studded affair all around. In Los Angeles, guests included UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom, Ambassador Sofia Carson, Garcelle Beauvais, Hannah Selleck, and more. Gathering at NeueHouse in Hollywood, attendees turned out in full-on formal cocktail attire, and even those doused in black found creative ways to incorporate a touch of UNICEF blue.
Glitz and glam aside, the 1946-founded organization has provided vaccines to millions of children around the world and has helped see a 57 percent reduction in the number of children under five who die due to preventable causes. Its success has driven a handful of celebrities, from David Beckham through to Lucy Lui and Katy Perry, to join its initiative. Sofia Carson is one of its newest ambassadors, coming onboard in 2020 after some time volunteering. “I feel happy, grateful, and most of all, honored to be here,” Carson tells Vogue. Donning an updo, red lips, and a 1950s Haute Couture Dior dress, the singer and actor’s ensemble paid homage to Audrey Hepburn, who was a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador from 1989 to 1993. “Growing up, it became clear that if ever I was lucky enough to be in the position that I’m in, the most important thing I can do with my voice is to dedicate it to giving back to young girls and to empower and lift up other female voices who perhaps are silenced,” she says.
Inside, guests enjoyed a spread of finger food and cocktails before retreating to their seats for UNICEF’s version of dinner and a movie. While enjoying a two-course meal, Bloom presented director Ben Proudfoot’s 30-minute film, If You Have, a thoughtful production that took its audiences around the world from Ghana to Greece, neatly illustrating the work UNICEF has done over its 75 years. Presently, there’s a heavy focus on equipping under-vaccinated countries with tools to fight COVID and restart the lives of affected children. “My entire career, in fact, has been built upon telling stories,” Bloom told the room as he introduced Proudfoot, “so tonight holds a very special place in my heart.”
To call the evening a success would just barely scrape the surface. The fundraising gala didn’t offer its steep-pocketed donors a plane ticket, an art piece, or a dinner with Jay Z; instead, attendees raised their candles (rather than paddles) to contribute based solely on what the amount would help UNICEF accomplish. For example, a donation of $38,520 would fund an emergency truck needed for disaster relief efforts, while $5,000 could provide 13 communities in need with clean water pumps. In the end, the celebration raised $8.5 million across the country, beating its initial goal and setting a new record for funds raids during one of its gala events.
Following a few words from Proudfoot and the auction period, attendees lingered for an after-party with wine and bite-sized desserts. Many met for the first time, and while exchanging compliments on one another’s sparkly gowns, they couldn’t forget to discuss the moments from the night’s film that touched them most.