Pencils of Promise, a non-profit that helps to build schools and educational opportunities in developing countries, did not see a scheduled appearance from Justin Bieber at its 10 th anniversary gala in New York Wednesday night, but raised more than $3 million anyway.
Bieber is an honorary chair of the event and longtime supporter of the organization — he has donated a dollar from each concert ticket sold since 2010 — which was founded by Adam Braun (pictured above), younger brother of Bieber manager Scooter Braun, who was also an honorary chair. To date, the organization has built over 480 schools and provided access to education to over 95,000 students throughout Ghana, Guatemala, Laos and Nicaragua.
Attendees at the black-tie event, which was held at the Brooklyn Navy Yard’s Duggal Greenhouse, included rapper Lil Jon, singer Bazzi, dancer Val Chermkovasky, model/actress Damaris Lewis, songwriter/producer Drumma Boy, chef Christina Tosi, celebrity tattoo artist Dr. Woo, Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Alex Soros and many others. Tori Kelly performed two songs during the event.
Bieber sent a video (watch a few seconds below) that was played to the audience at the event in which he said many affectionate things about Adam and the organization.
“I had personal issues and I couldn’t make it,” he said, sporting a thin mustache and a turned-around baseball cap. “But I just want to say how much I love you, how much I miss you. I think you are awesome, I think you’re amazing. You have a beautiful wife and a beautiful family but the coolest thing you do is give back.
“Pencils of Promise is one of my favorite charities in the whole wide world and I am so honored to be a part of it,” he continued. “I can’t wait to go back to some schools. Last time we went we had the best time and we got to meet so many beautiful children and it was unbelievable. We got to give back and it was awesome. You are my true buddy.”
(A rep for Bieber downplayed the “issues,” saying the singer probably meant travel complications or conflicts.)
Bieber also made some references to sharing a bed with Adam during one of those visits and during the night “I think our toes might have touched a little,” to laughter.
Among other donations, Bieber auctioned off two signed guitars from his recent “Purpose” tour for $35,000 each; Lil Jon auctioned off an experience at his residency show at Hakkasan in Las Vegas for $55,000; Dr. Woo auctioned off two consultations and tattoos for $90,000 each.
Video of Justin Bieber’s speech tonight at the Pencils of Promise Gala. (October 24) pic.twitter.com/vm6uEuxKux
— Justin Bieber Crew (@JBCrewdotcom) October 25, 2018