Tuesday night’s (Sept. 12) "Hand in Hand" telethon can certainly be counted as a success. The star-studded, one-hour primetime televised event--organized by superstar manager Scooter Braun and Houston rapper Bun B--helped to raise over $44 million as of this morning for those affected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to ABC News.
The show featured appearances from luminaries across the entertainment spectrum including Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder, Cher, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Justin Timberlake, Dave Matthews, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey, Matthew McConaughey, Reese Witherspoon, Justin Bieber, Gwen Stefani, George Clooney, Chris Paul, Stephen Colbert, Billy Crystal and many more.
As Billboard pointed out, Colbert announced that Apple would be donating $5 million while both Albertsons Cos. and Merck would donate $1 million. Houston Rockets star point guard Chris Paul also added that the NBA Players Association would be donating $500,000 on top of his $20,000 donation and would match any other players donation up to $20,000.
The show also featured performances from musicians across the country. Usher and Blake Shelton sang “Stand By Me” from Nashville while over in San Antonio George Strait, Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen, Miranda Lambert and Chris Stapleton sang “Texas” and “I Believe.” Other performers included Tori Kelly, Brad Paisley, Demi Lovato, Darius Rucker, Cece Winans and Dave Matthews.
The funds raised will be distributed by the nonprofit Comic Relief USA to organizations like Rebuild Texas Fund, Feeding Texas, Habitat for Humanity and United Way of Greater Houston. While $44 million is a great start, there is still a lot of work to be done. Damage caused by both hurricanes is estimated to be around 440 billion in Texas and Florida alone. According to Billboard, donations are still being accepted by phone. You can find more information on how to donate here.