Auctioning off artwork from Leonardo DiCaprio’s personal collection, Wyclef Jean’s guitar and a trip to Rio for a private concert with singer Anitta helped Sean Penn’s disaster relief organization, CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort), raise over $1 million in just a few hours on Wednesday night in Miami.
Held at Soho House Beach and timed to the annual Art Week, which blankets the city with celebrities, socialites, art collectors and their major spending power, DiCaprio, Jared Leto, Soleil Moon Frye, Nyle DiMarco, The Webster’s Laure Heriard Dubreuil and Aaron Young, Patricia Velasquez, Diplo, Rande Gerber and many more, all turned up to support the boots-on-the-ground network, founded in 2010, that first responds to crisis around the world.
Relief efforts in Haiti and Ukraine grabbed the spotlight. Haitian-American actor Garcelle Beauvais hosted and Wyclef Jean performed. Beauvais shared with the crowd how she first became aware of CORE after the 2010 earthquake in her native Haiti.
“Everyone kept asking how they could help—and then a group and a man showed up. That group was CORE and that man, Sean Penn. I’ll never forget the image,” she said. “Plenty of global organizations raise money. With CORE you know where it’s going. It’s going to the people that need it the most. Over a decade later, CORE is still in Haiti. They did not forget my people. This year, they’ve been in Ukraine and neighboring countries providing humanitarian relief to those devastated by the fatalities and war.”
Volodymyr Zelenskyy sent a video message thanking CORE. “Mister Sean Penn has seen firsthand this evil. I thank CORE and all the participants of their charity for democracy for freedom and life.” Earlier this year, Penn gave Zelenskyy his OSCAR to keep until the war is won.
While Penn was not in attendance, he sent a letter which was read by co-founder Ann Lee. She said the actor had already FaceTimed her twice and had major FOMO that he couldn’t be there.
“I have seen a lot of good and bad in the world, but there is nothing I have found worse than apathy,” Penn wrote. “We can all do something, no matter how small. I know this from meeting our global CORE team, who come from the communities under siege in Ukraine in Haiti, Pakistan, Venezuela, Brazil, India. They are former teachers, IT specialists, stay at home mothers, a scrappy group of people who have stepped up to become heroes. And they are changing thousands of lives and communities from the inside out.”
Lee called out board member and “ride or die” Frye, who tearfully recalled only two months ago that she, along with other CORE team members, were walking across the Polish border into Ukraine to see the organization at work. “It is such a juxtaposition [with] this joyous, beautiful room [tonight],” Frye said.
For the auction, DiCaprio donated an artwork by Harmony Korine, which went for $60,000. A private magic show with David Blaine went for $35,000.
DiCaprio kept a low profile and sat in the middle of the room in a black baseball cap. Leto snapped photos with his hand-held camera of Isa and David Grutman. Rande Gerber sat alongside Desiree Gruber. Diplo worked the room, while Mia Moretti did the DJ work during the cocktail hour.
The intimate night with only about 200 guests is known to be a favorite for its relaxed beachfront vibe thanks to event production company JWP. Art Week, while dripping in commerce, vanity and excess, also balances out with charitable components. On Nov. 28, Alexander McQueen’s Sarabande Foundation, held a fundraiser at The Standard. Celebrating its 20th year, Art Basel, the international art fair that spring-boarded Miami Art Week, continues on until December 4.