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AmeriCares celebrated its 25th anniversary at a gala event in New York on Thursday, May 10. It was an evening filled with warm accolades to AmeriCares founders, Bob and Leila Macauley from the 41st President of the United States, a video tribute from notable figures such as Colin Powell and Paul Newman, and a musical performance by a world-renowned concert pianist.
Saluting AmeriCares accomplishments over the past 25 years, and paying tribute to the Macauleys, the black tie event was attended by nearly 700 supporters and friends of the organization. The honorary co-chairs of the evening were the 41st President of the United States George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, and Nobel Peace Prize Winner Elie Wiesel, who spoke about their own connections to AmeriCares and its work. Barbara Bush has served as the AmeriCares Ambassador-at-Large since 1986; Elie Wiesel has served on AmeriCares advisory board since 1994.
CBS “Early Show” Anchor Harry Smith acted as the evening’s Master of Ceremonies. Also helping celebrate the occasion were noted humanitarian activist Paul Rusesabagina, NBC “Today” Anchor Ann Curry, and internationally acclaimed concert pianist Jon Kimura Parker. The event raised $1.4 million, all of which will benefit AmeriCares.
AmeriCares was launched in 1982 when, in response to a personal request from Pope John Paul II, Connecticut businessman Bob Macauley organized the inaugural AmeriCares airlift, which delivered $3.2 million in emergency medical relief to strife-torn Poland. Since then, AmeriCares has delivered more than $6.5 billion in humanitarian aid to 137 countries, responding to crises around the world such as the famine in Ethiopia, the nuclear explosion in Chernobyl, the genocides in Rwanda and Darfur, the Southeast Asia Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina.
In 1997, Bob Macauley was recognized with the Albert Schweitzer Humanitarian Award for the extraordinary work of AmeriCares.
“We are very proud to have reached the historic milestone of AmeriCares 25th anniversary,” said AmeriCares President and CEO Curt Welling. “Since 1982, we have been delivering aid that saves lives and helps restore health. Our gala evening was a celebration of 25 years of compassion, passion and generosity, highlighting the work of AmeriCares that has touched millions of people in need around the world.”