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Some of Hollywood’s most popular actresses were honored at Variety’s fifth annual Power of Women luncheon, an event that celebrates the charitable efforts of female celebrities. Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, and Amy Poehler were just some of the many women recognized for their philanthropic work during last Friday’s event.
Theron became emotional as she accepted praise for the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach project, an organization that promotes HIV/AIDS prevention in South Africa. The Young Adult star thanked her mother for proving her with an example of a strong and powerful women, the Associated Press reports.
Washington was acknowledged for her membership in the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. The Scandal star works as an arts ambassador in underprivileged schools and advocates to keep the arts in the classroom.
“From a young age, the arts allow you a window into a world other than your own,” Washington said to Variety.
However, it was Poehler’s acceptance speech for her Lifetime Impact honor that brought both tears and laughter to the luncheon.
Poehler invited the audience to close their eyes and think about their children or themselves as a child. She asked them to focus on the warmth that these memories brought them.
“Now I ask you to open your eyes and to realize there are so many children in the world that have nothing,” Poehler said choking back tears. “They have nothing. They have no one who lights up when they walk into a room, and they have no clothes and safety and food.”
The Parks and Recreation star is an active fundraiser and arts ambassador for the Worldwide Orphans Foundation. This nonprofit offers support to orphans and helps them integrate back into their community.
“Who are we to be in this room and to be living this life without helping them?” Poehler asked during her speech.
At this year’s Emmys, Poehler threw an "Emmy Losers" after party with Mad Men star Jon Hamm. Emmy winners were asked to make donations towards the Worldwide Orphans Foundation upon entering the party. The comically named event raised more than $30,000.
Hopefully with examples like Poehler and the other women honored at the Power of Women luncheon more people will be motivated to help others in need.
Poehler promises some amazing benefits to philanthropic work. “Remember, giving to charity is good for your skin and makes your ass smaller!”
Click below to watch the entirety of Poehler’s witty and moving speech.