“Putting aside the value to society, I really believe that with education comes dignity,” DreamWorks CEO Stacey Snider told the audience gathered for Variety’s Power of Women event on Friday. “That’s what we’re all entitled to.”
Jeffrey Katzenberg introduced the event, hosted by director Adam Shankman, at the Beverly Wilshire hotel. The gathering honored Snider, Mary J. Blige, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Eva Longoria and Lea Michele for their charitable work and contributions to female empowerment.
Each woman came as a representative of a charity close to their hearts. Snider came on behalf of City Year, while Longoria repped “Eva’s Heroes,” which helps young adults with special needs. Longoria, who has a developmentally disabled sister, co-founded the charity in 2006.
“She’s always been my hero because every day, since the moment she was born, the entire world was an obstacle for her to overcome,” Longoria said from the podium.
Wilde came on behalf of Artists for Peace and Justice, which the thesp says donates 100 percent of its proceeds toward helping impoverished residents of Haiti.
“I take pride in being able to tell people that their dollars are going to the right place,” she said during her speech.
Michele came representing PETA, which has helped her bring attention to the treatment of horses used in many New York City carriages.
“If there’s a lesson to be learned from today, it’s that we all have a voice,” Michele told the audience. “Now, I’m very familiar with this because I’m from the Bronx where everyone has a voice and it’s usually very very loud.”
Bening came on behalf of the Actor’s Fund, an organization that’s been serving entertainment professionals since 1882.
“It’s wonderful to be able to say that we take care of our own,” Bening said.
Guests mingled at each charity’s booth before and after the luncheon, which closed with Blige.
A child of abuse herself, the singer told the audience how she propelled her own experience into music. Blige eventually co-founded Ffawn to help young women ” … never for vanity but just for yourself … you cannot carry a dress or a hairstyle if you don’t feel great about yourself inside.”