Madonna, Lucy Liu, Téa Leoni and Gucci Will Co-Host Next UNICEF Ball By Gregory Hilton

Lucy Liu and Téa Leoni at Wednesday's UNICEF Ball in NYC.

Lucy Liu and Téa Leoni at Wednesday's UNICEF Ball in NYC.

Madonna, Lucy Liu, Téa Leoni and Gucci Will Co-Host Next UNICEF Ball By Gregory Hilton
Lucy Liu is shown at her 40th birthday party on Wednesday night with Téa Leoni. The event was held in conjunction with the UNICEF Ball at the Cipriani 42nd Street Restaurant in New York City. I have never seen a movie with either Lucy Liu or Téa Leoni, but they are definitely my favorite actresses.
Many celebrities attend parties, but these performers have demonstrated an incredible commitment to UNICEF. Since 2003 both of them have spent weeks at a time visiting refugee camps and HIV/AIDS treatment centers in Africa and South Asia. Back home and behind the scenes, it is their personal involvement which has made the difference in securing numerous major donations to the children’s charity.
Over 20 of Lucy Liu’s original oil paintings were recently auctioned off for UNICEF’s benefit. Leoni’s father, Tony Pantaleoni, is the UNICEF Board Chairman and a $25,000 donor to Wednesday night’s event.  His daughter out did him by contributing $27,500.  Pantaleoni is a partner in the DC based Fulbright & Jaworski law firm.  The event raised $1.7 million in ticket sales and corporate contributions, but this represented a 50% decline in proceeds from 2007.  All charities are experiencing similar reductions.
Both actresses have appeared at numerous events since 2003 where the United Nations Children’s Fund has raised over $20 million.  Similar to Wednesday night, they have also been incredibly generous in making personal donations to UNICEF.
I understand the dismay with our celebrity driven media coverage. It is disappointing when serious subjects are neglected and instead frivolous Hollywood events receive major exposure. On the other hand, I have witnessed this publicity avalanche from a charities point of view. Celebrity involvement in a black tie event always equals a major spike in ticket sales and an increased net profit for a good cause.  This will be the subject of my next article.
I hope the careers of Lucy Liu and Téa Leoni have somehow benefitted from their involvement with UNICEF, but I doubt it.  I have no doubt UNICEF’s benefit has been enormous. That is why I am so pleased they will be doing it again. Both actresses will join Gucci and Madonna on April 8th as co-hosts of the second “Night to Benefit Raising Malawi and UNICEF.”
Last February this event took place on the North Lawn of the United Nations where a 42,000 square foot tent was erected specifically for the evening. The second event will be dedicated to raising funds and awareness for orphans and children made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa where over 11 million of the 48 million orphans have lost one or both parents to AIDS. The first event raised $5.5 million from both ticket sales and a live auction. Gucci is once again completely underwriting this function so 100% of the proceeds will be split equally between the U.S. Fund for UNICEF and Madonna’s Raising Malawi Foundation.

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