Jennifer Garner Hosts Save the Children Illumination Gala

Noam Galai/Getty Images for Save The Children
Jennifer Garner

Scooter Braun, David Muir and more received honors at the sixth annual event.

Jennifer Garner on Wednesday night hosted the sixth annual Save the Children Illumination Gala at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The actress has been a trustee since 2014 with the organization, which supports early childhood education, disaster relief efforts, and ending preventable infant and maternal death. 

Garner walked onstage with a young boy named Jakob, with whom she also walked the red carpet with another child, Sophia Ramirez. (“I’m with the coolest kids in America!” the actress said to photographers.) Garner crouched next to Jakob to ask about his experience in the head-start program, and he responded with a series of yeses as the actress carried the conversation.

“In the video you said that you might like to be a…” Garner said.

“Fireman,” Jakob said.

“That is so brave, Jacob. Do you think that you might like to live in California?” Garner asked.

The actress shared her experience visiting Save the Children programs across the U.S. in an impassioned plea for attendees to support and fund the organization’s efforts. “Because I have visited kids in every one of these programs in the last year, I can tell you their homes are silent, they are isolated from neighbors and life and any hope of a preschool or a Mommy and Me or even a grocery store,” Garner said. “They are isolated by the price of gas, by drug addiction, abuse and, basically by being there and sensing it with your own senses, the stress and crush of poverty.”

The event opened with a performance from Yale’s a cappella group The Whiffenpoofs, and a children’s choir performed “This Is Me” from The Greatest Showman. MILCK also performed.

The evening included a live auction, as well as an awards presentation. Christine McGrath accepted the Visionary Award on behalf of Mondel─ôz International, Save the Children’s philanthropic corporate partner.

Rapper Bun B presented Scooter Braun with the Humanitarian Award for his work on the Hand-in-Hand Telethon for Hurricane Harvey. Braun worked with Bun B, who was the telethon’s executive producer, on the effort and insisted that the two share the honor.

“I am going to be the father of a new baby girl very very soon, and I have two little boys at home who are 4 and 2 years old, so my wife and I move fast,” Braun said. “One of the reasons why I’m excited to be here today is because I’m looking at all these pictures of children, and I think that in today’s world where we as adults witness every single day divisiveness, hatred, anger, and if you know my client list, you understand that I know stress. …When I come home at night and I see my two boys, Jagger and Levi, and they don’t know what I do for a living, they just know daddy’s home and they smile, everything else doesn’t matter. That’s the gift a child gives an adult.”

Kelly Ripa presented David Muir, anchor ABC’s World News Tonight, with the Voice Award for his work with children internationally as a journalist.

“I came from a broken home and I often don’t talk about that because I recognize that everybody in this room carries something from childhood and actually in our childhoods that mold us to be who we are as adults," said Muir. "And it’s what you do, what happened to you during childhood, that can give another child a voice.”