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Stars Support Artists for Peace and Justice, Making Long-Term Commitment to the Future of Haiti

One-day effort raises 4 million at Haiti Relief brunch hosted by Paul and Deborah Haggis

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/24/10 -- Award-winning director and screenwriter Paul Haggis - straight off a flight from Haiti - hosted the Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) Haiti relief brunch this morning. At his home, Haggis and friends raised four million dollars for Haiti through APJ, the charity he founded in 2009. The brunch had two purposes: first, to get emergency relief to the children of Haiti and second, to raise money for long-term relief so that Haiti will not once again be forgotten as soon is it is out of the news. One hundred friends and supporters of APJ pledged to support the disaster-stricken nation over the next five to ten years, committing funds to building and funding schools, in a country where most children don't have access to basic education. Guests included APJ advisory board members, Josh Brolin, Maria Bello, Olivia Wilde, Charlize Theron, Jimmy-Jean Louis and Madeleine Stowe. Moby, Sheryl Crow, Macy Gray and Jackson Browne each gave live performances. Over the past year, APJ has been working with doctor and community organizer Father Rick Frechette who has been making real change in the lives of the people of the slums of Port-Au-Prince for over 22 years, long before this most recent disaster struck. Frechette and his team are working night and day in their beautiful paediatric hospital, St. Damiens, perhaps the only hospital that escaped major damage. They are providing medical supplies, tents, beds, food and water to earthquake survivors. Haggis and his wife personally pay all the expenses and overhead of APJ, so that every penny raised will go directly to the relief efforts and long-term reconstruction of the people of the slums of Haiti.

"I am so grateful to this wonderful group of people who came out today and gave so generously to support the children of Haiti through Artists for Peace and Justice," says Haggis. "Our organization is committed to sending 100% of all donations directly to emergency relief on the ground including medical supplies and much needed vehicles to reach those who require medical care."

The APJ Haiti Relief Brunch was also attended by Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig, Demi Moore, Robert DeNiro, Milla Jovovich, Pierce Brosnan, Chris "Ludacris" Bridges, AnnaLynne McCord and many more.

Attendees were asked to make a minimum donation of $5,000. A live connection was established at the event that gave guests the opportunity to chat with doctors and relief workers on the ground in Haiti, allowing them to hear first-hand about the progress being made.

In addition to the $5000 minimum donation, guests contributed not only dollars towards the current relief effort, but also pledged to support Haiti in the long-term. Penelope Cruz gave $50,000 per year for five years toward building schools. Javier Bardem pledged $10,000 per year over 10 years and AnnaLynne McCord matched the donation. As host Haggis shared his accounts of his past week in the disaster zone and talked about APJ's commitment to building a sustainable future for Haiti, many were moved to support Haiti well beyond the current crisis. Gerard Butler, Simon Barker and his wife, Rebecca Rigg, Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig were just a few of the attendees who each pledged to give $50,000 per year for five years toward building the future of Haiti.

What is Artists for Peace and Justice?

Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ), established in early 2009, is a fundraising effort founded by Paul Haggis and friends that encourages peace and social justice and addresses issues of poverty and enfranchisement in communities around the world. Over the past year, APJ has directed its efforts to raising enough funds to fully sponsor three schools in Haiti in support of the initiatives of Father Rick Frechette and his team. These schools aren't just a place to learn but provide for a hot meal, clean water and a chance at the future to children who desperately need it. Following the devastating earthquake in Haiti, APJ has focused its efforts on raising much needed funds for emergency relief efforts in the ravaged country that is only a few hours from our shores.

About Father Rick Frechette

For the past 22 years Father Rick Frechette has worked in the slums of Haiti. He came to the country as a priest and soon saw that what they needed more was a doctor. He began studying for his degree and continued working in the slums of Port-au-Prince on the weekends. The earthquake has devastated many of Father Rick's projects including both of his hospitals and an orphanage. Details are still coming in but for a country that suffers so much, these losses are devastating beyond belief.

Artists for Peace and Justice Advisory Board

Paul Haggis, Maria Bello, Josh Brolin, James Franco, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Natasha Koifman, Diane Lane, Michael Stahl-David, Oliver Stone, Madeline Stowe, Charlize Theron, Peter Tunney and Olivia Wilde.

For more information on Artists for Peace and Justice, please visit www.artistsforpeaceandjustice.com.

For additional information or to arrange an interview with
a spokesperson for Artists for Peace and Justice,
please contact:
Natasha Koifman, NKPR Inc.
(416) 365-3630 ext 23 or (917) 691-7262
[email protected]

Stefani Ralph, NKPR Inc.
(416) 365-3630 ext 22
(647) 502-7833
[email protected]

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