Usher’s New Look Foundation Turns 15, Raises $1 Million At Celebrity Packed Celebration
Usher’s youth empowerment initiative, the New Look Foundation, has turned 15 years old. And the singer held a celebrity packed fundraising luncheon hosted by Ludacris.
Director Kenny Leon, boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard; and singers Rico Love, Jermaine Dupri and Blake Shelton were just a few of the famous in attendance at the President’s Circle Awards Luncheon. The event had some political power backing as well–former U.S President Bill Clinton posted video messages congratulating Usher, as did actor Robert De Niro and singer Pharrell Williams.
Not only did about 450 people attend the event, but they opened their pockets and helped the event raised more than $1 million.
There was a live auction during the ceremony that brought in an additional $98,000. Items such as signed Leonard boxing gloves and a boxing lesson at his home were on the bidding block.
Usher set up the foundation at the young age of 20 in 1999 with the help of his mother. To date, the Atlanta-based nonprofit has helped more than 21,000 children and teens globally. It is certified to help disadvantaged youth in talent, education, career and service. The foundation gives youth mentors, internships, career advice, curriculum-based leadership training and travel opportunities. Emory University backed the organization’s certification.
“A lot of kids find their way from high school to disaster,” Usher told The Grio. “If you can meet them there, if you can find a way to talk to them and engage them, in between 7th and 12th grade, you can change their lives.”
During the two-hour event Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was honored with the Service Legacy Award along with other notable honorees such as Jasmine Pollard, a New Look Mogul in Training, who was given the coveted Youth Achievement Award.