January 15, 2010 / 5:11 AM / 8 years ago

Hollywood stars lead Haitian quake charity drive

MIAMI (Reuters) - Haiti’s devastating earthquake has moved Hollywood and pop music stars to lead a rally for disaster relief donations and open their own wallets, led by Haiti-born hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were the first to reach out to Haiti by donating $1 million from their foundation to Doctors Without Borders, which has been tending to victims of the quake that demolished buildings in Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, on Tuesday. Tens of thousands are feared dead.

Madonna donated $250,000 through Partners in Health and said in a statement on Friday she was praying for the Haitian people.

“I can’t imagine the terrible pain and suffering they are experiencing,” she said. “I urge all my friends and fans around the world to join me collectively to match my contribution or give in any way you can.”

Jean launched a texting campaign, calling on fans to donate $5 each to his Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund charged to their cell phone bills by texting “Yele” to 501501.

Jean raised more than $1.9 million by Friday for the disaster relief effort and is in Haiti “giving aid and assessing the situation,” according to his www.yele.org website.

Actor George Clooney will host a commercial-free telethon called “Hope for Haiti” presented by MTV next week to raise funds for victims of Tuesday’s earthquake, the music network said on Friday.

The event will be in Los Angeles and New York and be broadcast on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, CNN, HBO and all MTV Network channels next Friday. Clooney will be joined by Jean and as yet other unnamed pop music and movie stars.

Grammy-winning Latina pop singer Shakira asked her fans for donations to help rebuild Haiti to be channeled through UNICEF and Jean’s foundation.

TEARS AND DONATIONS

Actress Alyssa Milano, a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, used her blog on The Huffington Post on Thursday to challenge U.S. corporations to match her donation. She said the funds would go to buy medical supplies, tarpaulins, food and water kits for Haiti.

“I cried and then I did the only thing I could do ... I wrote a check to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF for $50,000,” she wrote.

Coldplay musician Chris Martin called for donations through Oxfam, whose global ambassador, actress Scarlett Johansson, also appealed for contributions for Haiti.

Oprah Winfrey got involved on Wednesday by asking viewers of her popular show to donate to the Red Cross.

Actor Ben Stiller, who has been raising money for a school in Ceverine in Haiti through Save the Children, also made an appeal on CNN’s “Larry King Live” for $10 donations charged to phone bills by texting “Haiti” to 90999.

First lady Michelle Obama made a public appeal for the texting campaign, which had raised $5.9 million for the red Cross by late Thursday.

Cycling legend Lance Armstrong’s LiveStrong Foundation pledged $250,000 to help Haiti’s recovery, according to its website. The money will go to Doctors Without Borders and Partners in Health, which is founded by Harvard professor Paul Farmer.

Actor and director Tyler Perry gave $250,000 and set up the Tyler Perry foundation for donations at www.tylerperry.com/HaitiRelief.

In New York’s Times Square, magician David Blaine began performing 72 hours of tricks and magic for pedestrians and said: “We have so much here and that country has nothing. Just the thought of it is horrific.”

Reporting by Anthony Boadle and Christine Kearney; Editing by Peter Cooney

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