President Zelensky Calls for Continued Support of Ukraine at Sean Penn’s CORE Gala

President Zelensky Calls for Continued Support of Ukraine at Sean Penn’s CORE Gala

The war in Ukraine was front and center at Friday night’s CORE gala. There, founder Sean Penn raised funds to support the nonprofit’s crisis response efforts all around the globe in front of a powerful audience that included Eric Garcetti, President Bill Clinton , Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, and stars Sharon Stone and Patrick Stewart

CORE sends teams into the world’s biggest disaster zones to provide aid and assistance, including Haiti after its 2010 earthquake and Ukraine after the Russian invasion.

Penn is an active leader of the organization and has spent many months in disaster areas. He was also warned to leave Ukraine, where he was filming documentary, because he was too close the fighting.

When asked about his dedication to these causes, Stone told The Hollywood Reporter at the L.A. event, “Sean has a vocation. This is different from a cause. He is a dedicated human being in all he does. He is a vocation in acting, and he is a vocation in caring for other people. He is a good man. He is a decent human being who tries to be present at all cost. He’s my friend .”

, and I’m proud of him.

In addition to raising funds to support their mission, the evening also honored Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Frank Giustra, philanthropist and businessman, and Francesa Dutton, for the time, money, and work they each have contributed to CORE.

A live auction raised millions for the organization, with one guest bidding $225,000 for a painting of Queen Elizabeth by artist Chris Levine and another bidding one million dollars to have a private, in-home concert by John Legend. Penn even offered selfies for $1,000 donations.

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Bill Clinton, John Legend and Sean Penn
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CORE

When asked about his relationship to Penn, Bill Clinton said that he was good at all he does but that he is best at being warm-hearted and calm. He is able to find ways to do things faster, better, and at lower costs to save more lives, build better futures, and make things better .”

Penn himself remembered going to Haiti in 2010, when his team’s housing was wiped out by a storm and they didn’t have a way to get relief.

“I extended out everything on my credit card and we hadn’t got our 501C status yet and there were two people that worked with me: President Clinton and [CAA’s] Bryan Lourd,” Penn said. “They saved our lives on faith because we hadn’t proven ourselves yet. They saw something I didn’t see. When I walked into this building today, I wondered “How the heck did that happen?” ‘”

There were many musical performances for entertainment. Legend entertained the audience with a cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” Josh Homme, the Queens of the Stone Age lead vocalist, also performed briefly.

Penn ended the night by introducing, via video, President Volodymyr Zelensky, who received a standing ovation from the hundreds of guests in attendance. He thanked Penn for bringing awareness to his country’s problems and asked that Americans support Ukraine’s struggle for freedom.

“We have been resisting for 107 days in a row. We can stop it together. The leader stated that Ukraine supports the entire world and that Ukraine should be supported. “Fight for Ukraine, because Ukraine is fighting to the whole world for democracy .”


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