On Saturday, July 26th, Russell Simmons, Danny Simmons and Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation hosted the 15th Annual Art for Life benefit raising more than $1.3 million to date. Held at Fairview Farms in Bridgehampton, NY, Soledad O’Brien emceed the evening that honored Michael R. Bloomberg, Valentino D. Carlotti, Jason Flom, Kimora Lee Simmons and Featured Artist Carrie Mae Weems for their career achievements and philanthropic work.  Guests included Gayle King, Star Jones, Rick Ross, Angela Simmons, Nicky Hilton, DJ Kiss, Kim Porter, Rev. Al Sharpton, Bevy Smith.

The evening was full of big moments one of which included the announcement of a gift from Kimora Lee Simmons.  In addition to the $1.3 million raised, a $1 million gift from Kimora will help provide scholarships for Rush students going to college.

15th Annual Art For Life Gala Hosted by Russell and Danny Simmons - ArrivalsThe inaugural class of recipients were recognized at the benefit.  Kimora’s children – Ming Lee Simmons, Aoki Lee Simmons and Kenzo Lee Hounsou – welcomed the scholarship recipients at the event and accepted the honor on their mother’s behalf. More information about the scholarship will be announced later this year.

“Art For Life is always a very special night, but this year’s event was truly the best ever,” Russell Simmons said. “Being able to announce such a significant gift from Kimora and having a great old-school concert too, our guests left the gala not only inspired but seriously entertained.”

The event’s Honorary Chair was Star Jones. The Event Chairs were Jamison Ernest, Kimberley Hatchett, Rhonda R. Mims, Camilla Olsson and Josue Sejour (The Sejour Group). Event sponsors included Gold Sponsor BOMBAY SAPPHIRE Gin, Bronze Sponsor Target, and Valet Sponsor Cadillac. Doug E. Fresh and Kurtis Blow brought the crowd of more than 750 people to their feet and Naughty by Nature welcomed guests to join them onstage during their performance.  The evening also included music by DJ M.O.S.

This year’s coinciding ART FOR LIFE online auction via Charitybuzz launched July 17, 2014, and will run through August 7, 2014. Highlights include: Be a Roadie for a day with John Legend, Will.i.am, Nas and Robin Thicke; Meet and Greets with Will Smith, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Arianna Huffington, Michael Strahan, Nick Cannon, LL COOL J, Bill Maher; Breakfast with Larry King, Lunch with Soledad O’Brien, Dinner with Miss USA, Sunday Supper with Rev Run, intern with Rachel Roy, Meet Ice-T on Set of Law & Order and more. http://www.charitybuzz.com/artforlife

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Launched in 2000, ART FOR LIFE is Rush Philanthropic Art Foundation’s primary fundraising event. This year’s benefit celebrated the gala’s “15” year milestone; highlighting youth that have grownup through Rush programs and honoring exemplary individuals who have supported the Foundation’s mission throughout the years.

Proceeds from ART FOR LIFE benefit the Foundation’s signature arts education and gallery programs, which directly serve over 3,000 inner-city youth each year. For more information, visit www.rushphilanthropic.org, Twitter @rush_art, Facebook https://www.facebook.com/RushPhilanthropicArtsFoundation, Instagram @rush_arts and ART FOR LIFE hashtag #ArtForLife.



Latoya Henry is the publisher and founder of Haute Giving: The Sexy Side of Philanthropy.
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