Leonardo DiCaprio, one of (if not the biggest), forces in environmental activism, just crushed his own fundraising record.
On Wednesday evening, the 40-year-old "Revenant" star returned to Saint-Tropez, France, to host the second annual Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation fundraising gala. Last year's inaugural event brought in more than $25 million with more than 500 guests paying between $7,000 to $130,000 to attend. This year, thanks to a number of generous auction bids, DiCaprio and his deep-pocketed friends managed to raise over $40 million.
“We’ve decimated our forests, wild lands, polluted and over-fished our rivers and oceans — all the key ecosystems that not only serve as a home to our planet’s biodiversity, but also make life here for us possible,” DiCaprio said in his opening speech, noting that much of the money raised would go to save tiger, rhino, shark and mountain gorilla populations. “I’m incredibly proud to be part of a night that will allow us to do so much to protect the planet.”
Celebs in attendance included Naomi Campbell, Orlando Bloom and Kate Hudson, as well as performances by Elton John and John Legend.
To understand how the foundation soared past $40 million, you only have to know about the items offered up for auction. These included:
1. Two private concerts offered by Elton John that raised $3 million.
2. $2 million in artwork by Andy Warhol and Bansky from DiCaprio's private collection. The actor even auctioned off the Rolex he was wearing.
3. $11 million for one of the estimated 45 estates DiCaprio is offering for sale on his private island in Belize, Blackadore Caye. As noted earlier, the actor is currently turning the island into the "world's greenest private resort."
4. $2 million for a limited "re-edition" of Rodin's "The Thinker."
All this, plus exclusive excursions to a remote diving location, expeditions to the Arctic, film set visits, jewelry, and much more added up for a record-breaking evening for the environment.
Just last week, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation donated $15 million to more than 27 organizations focused on conservation and environmental initiatives around the world. With his coffers once again filled, it won't be long before we hear of similar large gifts.
“The destruction of our planet continues at a pace we can no longer afford to ignore,” DiCaprio said. “I am proud to support these organizations who are working to solve humankind’s greatest challenge.”
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