'Legacy Of Hope Foundation' Hosts Nelson Mandela's Official North American Birthday In NYC

95th Birthday Celebration Launches Global Campaign to Preserve Mandela History, Crowd-Source Support to Build His Living Legacy in South Africa

Jul 18, 2013, 14:41 ET from Legacy of Hope Foundation

NEW YORK, July 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Legacy of Hope Foundation – a group of trusted nonprofits supporting Nelson Mandela's legacy – today launched a global campaign to realize his dream of bringing free and accessible healthcare to South Africa's children through the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, expected to break ground in 2013.

The Foundation -- comprised of The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust, Operation of Hope Worldwide, and FM World Charities -- will make the announcement at Mr. Mandela's only official North America birthday celebration Thursday evening, hosting dignitaries, advocates and celebrity supporters at New York City's Gotham Hall at the private event.

The global campaign will include educational initiatives and calls-to-action that encourage the world to learn about Mr. Mandela and support his dream to build a children's hospital in South Africa.

Immediate support can be directed via text to MANDELA 50555 and via Edward Norton's CrowdRise: http://www.crowdrise.com/mandeladay2013.

Thursday evening's private celebration will include Grammy Award-winning gospel music artist, Hezekiah Walker and Love Fellowship Choir, 2012 South Africa's Got Talent Winner, Botlhale Boikanyo and celebrated pop artist, Jeffrey Gaines and more. The momentous evening will feature respected speakers, including Arun Gandhi, Ben Vereen and Nana Magomola, Deputy Chair to Mrs. Graca Machel of the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust.  Emcee for this historic event will be TV and radio personality, Chuck Nice.

The campaign will culminate in a multi-continental concert in North America and South Africa produced by Eric Gast and Founder and CEO of Woodstock, Michael Lang, to be simulcast live on December 7, 2013.

Mr. Mandela's dream began ten years ago when he stood at the bedside of dear friend 'Bongi's' five-year-old son, Lindo, who suffered from third-degree burns. The hospital didn't have resources dedicated to children and Lindo sadly passed away. Bongi left the hospital without her son, but walked away with a shared vision by Mr. Mandela to improve the country's healthcare for children. The whole of Africa is home to 450 million children served by only four dedicated children's hospitals; to put this in perspective, the state of Florida has 12.

"A specialized, dedicated children's hospital will be a credible demonstration of the commitment of African leaders to place the rights of children at the forefront," said Nelson Mandela in 2006. "Nothing less would be enough."

"[The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital] is a wonderful gesture of Madiba and the fund established by him for the specific benefit of the most vulnerable in society, our children," said Archbishop Emeritus Desmund Tutu.

"Anywhere children are so drastically underserved medically, it is a global problem and not a regional one," said Legacy of Hope CEO, Eric M. Gast. "This international campaign is meant to engage a new generation around the values, ideals, and commitment of this historic icon."

"The idea of the global community coming together to help fulfill Mr. Mandela's dream is so exciting," said CrowdRise Co-founder Robert Wolfe. "We are so honored to help the crowd see his vision break ground."

Patrons of The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital, including some of Mr. Mandela's closest friends and supporters Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, Princess Ntandoyesizew Zulu-Moilwa and Geoffrey Rothschild are behind The Legacy of Hope Campaign.  The Foundation is led by CEO Eric Gast (CEO), Jennifer Trubenbach (President) and Sibongile Mkhabela (CEO/Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust); as well as the Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital and Honorary Committee members, including:

Dr. Maya Angelou

Salma Hayek Pinault

Natalie Portman

Ruby Bridges

Katherine Heigl

Octavia Spencer

Dame Judi Dench

Sir Anthony Hopkins

Charlize Theron

Arun Gandhi

Nicole Kidman

Ben Vereen

Whoopi Goldberg

Sir Ben Kingsley

Barbara Walters

Elie and Marion Wiesel   

"Not only will this hospital save lives, it will give children the right to be cared for and to receive advanced medical treatment, irrespective of their social or economic status," said Sibongile 'Bongi' Mkhabela CEO, Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust.

About Legacy of Hope Foundation
The "Legacy of Hope" Foundation, formed on August 16, 2012, is the union of three registered 501(c)(3) medical foundations that provide life-changing surgeries, healthcare, and medical training programs in under-served areas of the world through international collaboration. The partnering of The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital Trust, Operation of Hope Worldwide, and FM World Charities was expressly formed to aid in the creation and awareness of The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital. The Nelson Mandela Children's Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, groundbreaking is slated, 2015. The chosen site is at the Wits College of Education campus in Parktown adjacent to the Wits Medical School and Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital. The backbone of this campaign is based on the commitment and values of Mr. Nelson Mandela and our goal is to bring his dream of free and accessible healthcare for the children of Southern Africa to reality.

For more information about Legacy of Hope, please visit: http://www.legacyofhopeconcerts.org

SOURCE Legacy of Hope Foundation