The organizers of the second annual Red Nose Day in the Unites States have announced that the event raised more than $31.5 million for children in need.
Donations made during the May 26 two-hour telethon on NBC that featured stars such as Elton John, Julia Roberts, Jack Black, Ellen DeGeneres, Tracy Morgan, Blake Shelton, Will Ferrell, and Zac Efron went to the Red Nose Day Fund, a program of London-based Comic Relief. The gifts will be distributed to charities that benefit children and youth living in poverty, with half the funds to be spent in the U.S. and the other half to be distributed to help children in some of the poorest communities around the globe. This year's recipients include Boys & Girls Clubs of America, charity: water, Covenant House, the Children's Health Fund, Feeding America, GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, the National Council of La Raza, the National Urban League, Oxfam America, and Save the Children.
The fundraising total, which was up significantly from last year's $23 million, also includes donations of $1 million from Mars, Inc., maker of M&M's; $18 million from Walgreens, which included the proceeds from Red Nose and Red Flair sales, vendor partner contributions, and customer donations; and a significant contribution from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
In the quarter-century since Red Nose Day was launched in the UK, it has raised more than $1 billion.