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Pandemic Relief Roundup: ‘Parks and Rec’ Cast Reunite, Comedians Host “COVID Is No Joke” Comedy Fest for Charity


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As the U.S. reached over 1 million cases of COVID-19 at the end of April, a steady stream of events and relief efforts continued to offer monetary aid for those in need amid the coronavirus pandemic. From the Parks and Recreation cast reuniting for a charitable special to comedians including Will Ferrell, Mindy Kaling and more teaming for the virtual comedy fest “COVID Is No Joke,” learn more about recent charitable events and newly launched relief funds below.

Parks and Recreation cast reunite for charity special

The Parks and Recreation cast got back together (virtually) for a half-hour NBC special on Thursday to benefit Feeding America. Co-creator Mike Schur and several Parks writers collaborated on the show, which featured Indiana’s most dedicated public servant, Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) staying connected with her friends and colleagues during a time of social distancing. The special raised funds for Feeding America’s COVID-19 Response Fund, which helps food banks secure the resources they need to serve the most vulnerable members of their communities. Sponsors State Farm and Subaru will each make matching donations of $150,000, and combined with NBCUniversal and the cast and producers of Parks and Recreation, a total of $500,000 in matching donations will be made through May 21.

Netflix and Ryan Murphy donate $100,000 each to MPTF 

Ahead of the premiere of Ryan Murphy’s latest Netflix series Hollywood, the streamer donated an additional $100,000 to its industry hardship fund benefiting the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF). In addition, Murphy himself is personally matching the gift. Netflix had previously given $1 million to the MPTF as part of its relief fund to help with hardship in the creative community. Last week, the company increased its $100 million fund to $150 million, with the intention of aiding the out-of-work production community across the globe. 

Activision Blizzard donate $2 million to support military veterans

Activision Blizzard shared on Friday that it donated $2 million to the Call of Duty Endowment, a nonprofit organization founded in 2009 to assist unemployed veterans in returning to the workforce — including those now impacted by the pandemic.

Greg Berlanti commits $1 million to aid TV crews, production staff, organizations 

TV mogul Greg Berlanti committed $1 million as part of a COVID-19 relief effort that will see funds going directly to staffers-in-need as well as industry organizations that have stepped up to help Hollywood workers during the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic. An additional $400,000 will be doled out to institutions that offer a range of financial and health care services to crew, actors, unemployed support staff and others in the entertainment industry. Those efforts include the Motion Picture Television Emergency Relief Fund, the SAG-AFTRA COVID-19 Disaster Fund and The Actors Fund.

Queen, Adam Lambert release new version of “We Are the Champions” to honor front line workers

Brian May, Roger Taylor and Lambert recently gathered virtually to record a new version of the Queen classic, “We Are the Champions.” “You Are the Champions” was released Friday on all streaming and download services, with proceeds going to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Kim Kardashian West, Ashley Graham, amfAR Unite for CR Runway event 

CR Fashion Book founder Carine Roitfeld announced this week the CR Runway global event Fashion Unites, a 30-minute special in partnership with amfAR, the HIV/AIDS nonprofit that has shifted to create a fund to raise money for relief efforts and scientific research amid the global pandemic. Hosted by Derek Blasberg, head of YouTube Fashion and Beauty, the event streamed worldwide on YouTube on Friday. Described as the first self-filmed fashion show, Fashion Unites featured models wearing creations from their personal wardrobes as styled remotely by Roitfeld and her team, along with exclusive at-home musical performances, tributes and messages from designers and contributors for front line workers. Viewers can learn more about the effort on the initiative’s website,

Oprah Winfrey, Julia Roberts and more team for The Call to Unite’s 24-hour global live stream

Celebrities, politicians (including former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush), cultural and spiritual leaders and more banded together for The Call To Unite’s 24-hour global live-stream event that launched Friday. During the broadcast, participants and viewers were encouraged to donate to GiveDirectly’s COVID Africa Relief Fund aiding seven countries in Africa (Kenya, Uganda, The Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Liberia, Rwanda and Morocco) and Project 100, which aims to provide $1,000 direct transfers to 100,000 cash-strapped families in communities most impacted by the pandemic in 100 days.

Tony Goldwyn hosts “COVID Is No Joke” comedy event with Will Ferrell, Mindy Kaling for COVID-19 relief

Americares board member Tony Goldwyn hosted a one-hour live event benefit, “COVID Is No Joke,” on Friday. Funds raised go toward Americares’ efforts to respond to COVID-19. Viewers were encouraged to support Americares by making a donation on the organization’s website or by texting “JOKE” to 20222 to make a $25 donation. The star-studded event featured a mix of sketches, stand-up and personal messages from others including Tom Cotter, Mackenzie Davis, Kyle Gass, Linda Hamilton, Chelsea Handler, Kerri Louise, Jonathan Mangum, Natalia Reyes, Finn Straley, Paige Weldon, Jenny Yang and more.

Richard Weitz’s pandemic parties surpass $1M milestone 

What started simply, and privately, as a fun way for WME partner Richard Weitz to celebrate his daughter Demi’s 17th birthday five weeks ago has grown into a virtual fundraising phenomenon that crossed the $1 million mark on Friday night during a concert event that featured the mayor of Atlanta, R&B superstars and Hollywood power players teaming to raise money to support COVID-19 relief efforts.

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