Rosie O'Donnell - Charitable Work

Charitable Work

Over her career, O'Donnell has developed a reputation for raising funds and her own philanthropy to charitable causes. In May 1996, Warner Books advanced O'Donnell $3 million to write a memoir. She used the money to seed her For All Kids foundation to help institute national standards for day care across the country. Her memoir, Find Me, was released in April 2002 and became the second highest on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Since 1997, Rosie's For All Kids Foundation, overseen by Elizabeth Birch, has awarded more than $22 million in Early Childhood Care and Education program grants to over 900 nonprofit organizations. On October 30, 2006, she was honored by the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. "It's our privilege to be honoring and hosting Rosie," said NYSPCC president David Stack in a statement. "Her Rosie's for All Kids Foundation has awarded more than $22 million in grants to over 1,400 child-related organizations, and that's just one of her many impressive activities on behalf of children." In November 2006 Nightline aired a video report about the opening of The Children's Plaza and Family Center in Renaissance Village, a FEMA trailer park in Louisiana. This was an emergency response initiative of Rosie's For All Kids Foundation with the help of many local nonprofit organizations and for-profit businesses, all efforts were to assist the families displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

San Francisco public relations firm Fineman Associates awarded top prize to Procter & Gamble Co.'s designation of O'Donnell as "unkissable" in a promotion for Scope mouthwash on the 1997 annual list of the nation's worst public relations blunders. In response to the promotion, the "unkissable" O'Donnell partnered with Warner Lambert's competitor Listerine who donated bottles of mouthwash to the studio audience and donated $1,000 to charity every time a hosted guest would kiss her in exchange for O'Donnell promoting their product. On occasion, the guests would offer multiple kisses and People reported O'Donnell "smooched her way to more than $350,000."

In 2003, O'Donnell and Kelli O'Donnell collaborated with Artistic Director Lori Klinger to create "Rosie's Broadway Kids", dedicated to providing free instruction in music and dance to New York City public schools or students. Rosie's Broadway Kids serves more than 4,500 teachers, students, and their family members at 21 schools. Currently programs are in Harlem, Midtown West, Chelsea, Lower East Side, East Village, and Chinatown. All net profits from O'Donnell's 2007 book Celebrity Detox are also being donated to Rosie's Broadway Kids.

In December 2006, at a one-night charity event on the Norwegian Pearl cruise ship, Elizabeth Birch, executive director for the Rosie's For All Kids Foundation, confirmed that $50 million from O'Donnell's five-year contract were donated in an irrevocable trust to charity. She is also reported to have contributed several hundred thousand dollars for rehabilitation therapies for war veterans who have lost limbs in Iraq and Afghanistan wars. On The Tyra Banks Show, Banks brought up to O'Donnell that people don't realize that O'Donnell has given more than $100 million to charity. In May 2007 O'Donnell and Pogo Games announced a joint-effort to raise money for Rosie's All Kids Foundation. EA, which owns Pogo, committed $30,000 and more money can be raised based on the amount of playing time people spend on certain games. They also held a sweepstakes in which winners get to fly to New York and meet O'Donnell and attend a charity function as her guest.

During the summer of 2007, O'Donnell was a guest on the multi-artist True Colors Tour, which traveled through 15 cities in the United States and Canada. The tour, sponsored by the gay cable channel Logo, began on June 8, 2007. Hosted by comedienne Margaret Cho and headlined by Cyndi Lauper, the tour also included Debbie Harry, Erasure, The Gossip, Rufus Wainwright, The Dresden Dolls, The MisShapes, Indigo Girls, The Cliks and other special guests. Profits from the tour helped to benefit the Human Rights Campaign as well as P-FLAG and The Matthew Shepard Foundation. She appeared again on True Colors Tour 2008.

Read more about this topic:  Rosie O'Donnell

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