Jessica Seinfeld’s GOOD+ Foundation Benefit Raises Nearly $2 Million

Jerry Seinfeld, Jessica Seinfeld, and Common attend the 2018 GOOD+ Foundation Event -Getty-H 2018
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Seth Meyers, Michael Strahan, John Legend and Tiffany Haddish were among the stars who hit Carnegie Hall for the event, where the talk focused on putting families back together and building better communities for children.

Carnegie Hall was filled with stars and philanthropists for Jessica Seinfeld’s GOOD+ Foundation’s "An Evening of Comedy and Music" benefit hosted by Michael Strahan and Seth Meyers.

The star-studded evening's performers included Jerry Seinfeld, Common (who performed with band August Greene), Leslie Jones, John Legend, Gad Elmaleh and Sebastian Maniscalco. Among the guests were Tiffany Haddish, Ali Wentworth, George Stephanopoulos, Jason Biggs, Chris Harrison and others. 

The GOOD+ Foundation, founded by Jessica Seinfeld in 2001, is dedicated to providing low-income families with the necessary tools to build a better life for their children. But in the years since the foundation began, Seinfeld says she realized that a huge issue within the families it helped out was the absence of fathers. The foundation has since shifted to focusing on educating fathers on how to be active parents, as well as providing them with essential goods, such as diapers, a crib, or anything else they may need. 

“I feel very happy to have figured out this new way to support families in this country, through fathers, which isn't really being done. You know, fathers are sort of, not a joke, but there's always jokes about fathers being incompetent, and when a father has grown up without a role model or their own father, it's not that funny,” Jessica Seinfeld told The Hollywood Reporter. “We want to help put families back together that way, and even if the relationship isn't going to work, at least the child has access to their father, and the father is anchored by that child, and then the mother is being supported.” 

Jerry Seinfeld, who was the comedic headliner for the night, expressed his support towards Jessica. “This is my favorite way to support, because this is what I'm good at — she's really good at the organization, and figuring all this out, and this is the best way I can help,” he said of his wife's cause. 

Common and his fellow August Greene members Karriem Riggins and Robert Glasper, who performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time at the event, discussed the importance of carving out a space for hip-hop in the renowned venue, as well as doing so for a good cause. “There hasn't been a lot of hip-hop in this venue, so [you’ll] experience hip-hop with dynamics, a lot of instrumentation in the way we're doing it,” says Glasper. 

“I think for us, to be able to use your art for a good cause — to be able to do music, and do things that really are changing people's lives, and put your own gifts into helping improve the world, is a win-win situation because you're supposed to take your gift and share it with the world, and if you can use it to make good in the world, then that's the best of life to me,” added Common. “One of my favorite things to do is perform, and to perform with them for a foundation that's helping fathers is a blessing.”

The night kicked off with a performance by August Greene, opening with “Black Kennedy,” which was combined with their take on “Livin' On a Prayer.” Common ended their set with a freestyle about the foundation, shouting out to the Seinfelds.

Jessica Seinfeld took the stage to thank attendees for their support, followed by a video showing interviews with fathers whose lives have been changed by the foundation. 

Gad Elmaleh was the first comedian to perform, with a set focused on his time in America and the hardships of being single. Leslie Jones followed, walking onstage with a knee brace and telling raunchy stories about how she’s changed throughout the past four decades.

“If my comedy can help and make people happy and get all this money and help all those families, I'm going to be super happy. It's about friendship, helping others, and doing comedy. Doing jobs tonight. Helping with our jokes,” said Elmaleh.

Afterwards, John Legend took the stage, performing his hits “Love Me Now” and “All of Me,” ending with a cover of “Dancing In the Dark" and talking in between his set about fatherhood and the importance of contributing to help out other fathers. 

Common appeared again, telling the story of Luis, one of the fathers that the GOOD+ Foundation helped, before the night shifted back to comedy, with Sebastian Maniscalco joking about the ludicrous aspects of fatherhood.

Jerry Seinfeld followed, with a set that touched on everything, from buffets to fatherhood. Following his set, it was announced that this event also served as a way to celebrate Jessica’s birthday. With the help of host Seth Meyers (Michael Strahan left his hosting duties early), Jerry presented his wife with a bouquet of flowers and encouraged the audience to sing her “Happy Birthday.” 

The benefit, which raised nearly $2 million, culminated with a performance by Legend and August Greene, accompanied by a choir onstage to sing “Glory,” their Academy Award-winning song from Selma

Though the show was over, the party didn't stop as attendees made their way to the afterparty at the Zeigfeld Ballroom, where they were greeted with beet daiquiris and a grapefruit and thyme cocktail. Amy Schumer, Chris Rock and Michael Rapaport joined the festivities, with Schumer and Common taking the dance floor with friends.