NEW YORK, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Katie Couric, host of NBC's "Today" and one of the most recognized faces in America, will receive UNICEF's Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award at UNICEF's Goodwill Gala in Los Angeles. Through her leadership in media and commitment to children's causes, Couric has brought critical issues facing children and women into the homes of millions. Couric has been dedicated to improving the lives of children around the world and has used her celebrity to inform and empower her audience to do the same. Through her work with UNICEF, which includes a visit to Zimbabwe and support of the annual "Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF" program, Couric has been instrumental in raising awareness of UNICEF's mission for children around the world. In addition, Couric co-founded the National Colorectal Cancer Research Alliance in an effort to end the threat of colon cancer through education, new research and regular medical screenings. She is also an Honorary Board Member of Gilda's Club and has supported such organizations as the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Alzheimer's Association, amfAR and others. "Celebrating 50 years of celebrity advocacy is a remarkable milestone for UNICEF," said Carol Bellamy, UNICEF Executive Director. "Katie Couric represents a new generation of celebrities who use their influence with the public to help raise awareness and funds for UNICEF and other important organizations. She embodies a sense of giving back to others through education, awareness, fundraising and hands-on work that serves as an inspiration to all." Established by UNICEF, the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award is named after entertainer Danny Kaye who became UNICEF's first Goodwill Ambassador in 1953. The award will be given on an annual basis to an entertainment industry individual in recognition of his/her visionary and transformative advocacy on behalf of children and women worldwide. Even with a professional career that spanned film, television, music and live entertainment, Kaye remained steadfast in his commitment to bringing hope and laughter to children for 35 years. Humanitarianism Through the Arts Award NBC's "ER" will receive UNICEF's first Humanitarianism Through the Arts Award. The Emmy award-winning show is being honored for its social responsibility in bringing awareness to humanitarian crisis in such countries as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Croatia. This type of attention from a major television show is rare by any measure, and has undoubtedly helped to humanize distant struggles for the million of viewers around the world. Jessica Lange, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador who recently visited the Congo on behalf of the organization, will present the award. The Goodwill Laureate Award UNICEF Goodwill Ambassadors Harry Belafonte, Sir Roger Moore, Nana Mouskouri, Vanessa Redgrave and Sir Peter Ustinov will be honored for their extraordinary devotion to improving the lives of children throughout the world. Whether holding a child's hand or lobbying a politician, the men and women honored by the UNICEF Goodwill Laureate Award have exemplified the notion that the compassion and dedication of a single individual can make a world of difference. The Corporate Responsibility Award UNICEF will present Mattel with the Corporate Responsibility Award, which honors a company that has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to philanthropic activity benefiting children. A Tribute to George Harrison A visionary humanitarian, George Harrison used his celebrity and his music to bring children's needs to a global stage. His legendary Concert for Bangladesh, organized by Mr. Harrison and Ravi Shankar, marked the first time musicians collaborated for a common humanitarian cause. The concert pioneered the all-star rock benefit concert model, which has since been widely emulated for various causes worldwide. Ravi Shankar will attend and Billy Preston will perform a selection of Harrison's songs. 50 Years of Helping UNICEF Help Children UNICEF will commemorate a half-century of celebrity support at the "UNICEF Goodwill Gala: 50 Years of Celebrity Advocacy," a star-studded event to benefit the organization's efforts to ensure the health, education, equality and protection of every child. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Whoopi Goldberg will host the gala and Halle Berry will serve as honorary event chair. The event, to be held on December 3, 2003, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, will benefit the "Audrey Hepburn All Children in School Fund" to help UNICEF provide 120 million children in developing nation's access to quality basic education, including the skills and knowledge they need to survive. Tickets and tables to the "UNICEF Goodwill Gala" are currently on sale. Prices, which also include sponsorship packages, range from $500 - $250,000. Tickets may be purchased by contacting Levy, Pazanti & Associates at 310/201-5033. "UNICEF Goodwill Gala" is scheduled to take place on December 3 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel at 6:30 p.m. This evening is made possible, in part, through the generosity of our premiere sponsor, Thailand Elite with additional support from The Herbalife Family Foundation. About UNICEF Founded in 1946, UNICEF helps save, protect and improve the lives of children in 158 countries through immunization, education, health care, nutrition, clean water and sanitation. UNICEF is non-partisan and its cooperation is free of discrimination. In everything it does, the most disadvantaged children and the countries in greatest need have priority. For more information about UNICEF or to make a donation, please visit www.unicefusa.org or call 1-800-4UNICEF.
SOURCE U.S. Fund for UNICEF