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Jalen Rose to Join Larry King & Other Stars During Telethon Today

June 21, 2010

CNN’s Larry King Hosts Special Two Hour Larry King Live Telethon Monday, June 21… “Disaster In The Gulf: How You Can Help” from 8 to 10pm Eastern.

Star-Studded Fundraiser Benefits United Way, National Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy Providing Immediate, Direct Support for Families, Residents and Wildlife Affected by Gulf Oil Spill.

Jalen Rose will be joining other special guests including; Justin Bieber, Ted Danson, Cameron Diaz, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Randy Jackson, Kerry Kennedy, Lenny Kravitz, Jenny McCarthy, Tim McGraw, Alyssa Milano, Edward James Olmos, Victoria Principal, Robert Redford, Ian Somerhalder, Sting, Melania and Ivanka Trump, Pete Wentz with Ryan Seacrest Hosting Special Online Social Suite and More

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Soledad O’Brien, Kyra Phillips and Rob Marciano Report Latest Updates From the Gulf During Live Special

(LOS ANGELES) June 18, 2010—CNN original Larry King hosts a special two-hour Larry King Live telethon this Monday, June 21, “DISASTER IN THE GULF: How You Can Help,” from 8 to 10pm Eastern, a star-studded effort to raise funds for United Way, The National Wildlife Federation and The Nature Conservancy, organizations working directly with the families, individuals and Wildlife affected by the Gulf oil spill.

“The Gulf oil spill is a disaster both national and natural in scope, and the point of this effort is to get immediate relief to the people and Wildlife who are in urgent need,” says longtime CNN Larry King Live Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker. “The telethon’s proceeds go directly to the relief organizations who are working on the frontlines to do just that.”

King comments, “I understand bureaucracy and that some things take time, but when you’re out of work, you don’t need help tomorrow, you need help today. I’m grateful so many friends and colleagues are coming out to support our June 21st telethon. We’re going to raise all we can to help the people and also the Wildlife that need it now.”

Guests include Jalen Rose, Justin Bieber, Deepak Chopra, Cameron Diaz, Philippe Cousteau, Ted Danson, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, Randy Jackson, Kerry Kennedy, Sammy Kershaw, Lenny Kravitz, Jenny McCarthy, Tim McGraw, Alyssa Milano, Aaron Neville, Edward James Olmos, Victoria Principal, Robert Redford, Gloria Reuben, Tyson Ritter, Richard Simmons, Ian Somerhalder, Sam Trammell, Melania and Ivanka Trump, Pete Wentz, with a special performance by Sting. Guests talk with King on set and via satellite and also participate in the program’s telephone banks taking viewer calls, or in a special online Social Suite—hosted by Ryan Seacrest—for participants using internet social media such as Facebook and Twitter. Celebrity guests post live Facebook updates during Monday’s telethon and the hashtag #CNNHelpGulf is used for viewers and online participants wanting to join the conversation on Twitter.

CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Soledad O’Brien, Kyra Phillips and Rob Marciano provide the latest news from the Gulf throughout the 2-hour live telecast, with reports from locations including New Orleans, Grand Isle, and other areas throughout the region.

King also welcomes 11-year old special guest Olivia Bouler from Islip, New York, who made news with her effort to protect birds in her native Southern Alabama by providing original watercolor paintings of regional birds to anyone who donated to organizations working to protect Gulf wildlife. She has raised over $20,000 to date through her efforts benefiting groups such as the Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Weeks Bay Foundation, Mobile Bay Estuary Program and the National Wildlife Fund. Bouler paints a picture during Monday’s telethon to auction for viewers, with proceeds going directly toward the evening’s fundraising efforts.

CNN.com/ImpactYourWorld offers users and viewers ways to help, with highlights from organizations seeking volunteers, links for direct donations, tips for helping for those who can’t travel to the Gulf, iReporters’ solutions for the cleanup, a live on-page update of what people are saying in the Twitter world on #CNNHelpGulf as well as celebrity videos and more. CNN also offers the option of mobile giving for telethon viewers with individuals able to give via mobile phone text message to the United Way, The National Wildlife Federation or The Nature Conservancy. Text message donation codes for the organizations involved are announced during the CNN telethon.

United Way’s Worldwide CEO, Brian Gallagher, said, “The situation in the Gulf has created real and immediate needs for families whose livelihoods have been affected.  Calls are coming in now for food, rent and utilities assistance.  We are also preparing for the extensive long-term needs that will arise. United Way will remain on the ground after the immediate response, working side-by-side with Gulf Coast residents to build more resilient communities.  This includes helping people as they re-imagine their lives and livelihoods, take care of long-term health and mental health issues, and learn how to become more financially stable to face any future challenges.”

“The impact this disaster is having on people and wildlife in the Gulf region is unthinkable,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “This tragedy is unfolding in the heart of spring migration, nesting season and calving season in the open water.”

Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy, commented, “The Gulf of Mexico is a national treasure that millions of Americans across the country depend on for their livelihoods, food, recreation and inspiration. This precious resource has suffered from decades of neglect and damage, all of which has been dramatically compounded by this catastrophic oil spill. We need a comprehensive effort to protect and restore the Gulf, one that is built on innovation, collaboration and a shared vision of a healthy and vibrant natural system. We must act on this now. We simply can’t wait another day.”

Walker and King recently orchestrated another Larry King Live telethon, Haiti: How You Can Help, which benefited UNICEF and the Red Cross, organizations working directly with those affected by the devastating earthquake in Haiti earlier this year. The two-hour special featured a wide-ranging list of celebrities, opinion leaders and tastemakers and raised some $10 million for the earthquake relief effort.

Transcripts, still photography, video clips and web video clips will be made available upon request after air.

For more information on the three organizations involved in this initiative please visit the following:
United Way – www.liveunited.org
National Wildlife Federation – www.nwf.org/oilspill
The Nature Conservancy – www.nature.org/restore

For more information, visit www.CNNPressroom.com.
CONTACT: Ryan Jimenez/Los Angeles 323.993.5120 – ryan.jimenez@cnn.com

CNN’s Larry King Hosts Special 2-Hour Larry King Live Telethon Monday, June 21st from 8 to 10pm Eastern

Before they’re ready to listen to how they can help, a lot of people want to know why they should help.

Generosity in response to natural disasters is one thing.  Calls to aid the victims of earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis are almost always answered by an outpouring of monetary donations and other kinds of assistance.  But when catastrophes are man-made – when there are individuals, corporations, or governments to blame for creating a problem or making it worse – most people expect those responsible to step up and fix the damage they’ve done.

President Obama says the government is holding BP and all other responsible parties “accountable” for what’s become the worst environmental disaster in U.S.history.  He also says he’s “absolutely confident” BP will be able to meet its obligations to the Gulf Coast and to the American people.

BP CEO Tony Hayward says his company will “not rest until we make this right.”  He also maintains “no resources will be spared.”

The trouble is:  Even if these pledges of “accountability” and “making things right” are completely fulfilled, it’s going to take time.  And time is something theGulf Coast is very, very short on right now.  Help is needed immediately – if not sooner.  And it’s going to keep on being needed for a lot of years.

Philippe Cousteau – grandson of Jacques Cousteau and CEO of EarthEcho International – has been to the Gulf Coast in recent days.  He’s witnessed the disaster there, firsthand, including diving down into the oil-contaminated water.  He frames the urgency of the Gulf’s need in the context of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill:

“After the Exxon Valdez event, incidents of domestic violence and suicide rose sharply and this crisis is no different.  People and the environment are suffering now.  We cannot wait any longer for the government to process these large sums of money and wait for them to trickle down to the people…”

It should be noted:  Litigation arising from the Exxon Valdez spill took more than two decades to sort out.  So long, many of the claimants died before their cases were resolved and the award checks were written.

The United Way (one of the designated beneficiaries of the Larry King Live telethon) reports it’s already seen a “spike” in calls to its 2-1-1 lines in the Gulf and expects the number will keep climbing.

Says United Way’s Worldwide CEO Brian Gallagher:

“The situation in the Gulf has created real and immediate needs for families whose livelihoods have been affected.  Calls are coming in now for food, rent and utilities assistance…”

Adds United Way spokesperson Sal Fabens:

“There are many people whose lives were devastated by Katrina, who were just beginning to rebuild and are now out of work, or somehow traumatized by a major disaster not quite five years later.  The impact on lives is enormous and needs like mental health help are already growing quickly…”

The National Wildlife Federation is another designated recipient of the LKL telethon.  “Unthinkable” is the word its president and CEO uses to describe the environmental impact of the Gulf oil spill disaster.  Larry Schweiger underscores the urgent need for immediate assistance by noting:

“This tragedy is unfolding in the heart of spring migration, nesting season and calving season in the open water.”

While the latest tally of the Gulf wildlife dead – 725 birds, 324 sea turtles, 39 mammals – seems astonishingly small, experts warn the huge size of the spill means they probably will never be able to find more than a tiny percentage of the dead animals.  There’s also the fear that the cycle of damage is just starting – there may be far worse to come.

A grim hint of that “far worse” may be found in the 20th anniversary Status Report of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council.  In that report, the Council – set up to oversee the restoration of the ecosystem of Alaska’s Prince William Sound – lists only 10 of the 31 injured resources and services they monitor as “recovered.”  What’s more, the Council says that thousands of gallons of spilled oil still persist in the once pristine area.

Mark Tercek is president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy – the third designated recipient of funds raised by the LKL telethon.  He offers this pointed perspective on the national scope of the impact of the Gulf disaster and why it requires an immediate national response:

“The Gulf of Mexico is a national treasure that millions of Americans across the country depend on for their livelihoods, food, recreation and inspiration… we need a comprehensive effort to protect and restore the Gulf, one that is built on innovation, collaboration and a shared vision of a healthy and vibrant natural system.  We must act on this now.  We simply can’t wait another day.”

President Obama has described the Gulf Coast community as “resilient.”  According to Kerry Kennedy of the RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights, a resident of this community named Louise Bosarge responded to Mr. Obama’s observation this way:

“We bounce back.  We always bounce back.  Bouncing hurts.”

Our immediate assistance in the face of the Gulf oil spill disaster – be it in the form of donating money or supplies, volunteering time, making environmentally responsible choices as consumers or working to raise public and political awareness – won’t heal the hurt right away.  But it will help ease it.  And it may prevent future pain to our people and our environment.