Kutcher, Perry help unveil campaign

NY mayor Michael Bloomberg, stars join program launch

NEW YORK -- Director Tyler Perry, Ashton Kutcher and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg were among the star-studded crowd that gathered in Times Square mid-day Thursday to unveil the "I PARTICIPATE" initiative that calls on Americans to re-commit themselves to serving the country through volunteering.

First Lady Michelle Obama first announced plans for a multi-year service initiative.

EIF's multi-year "I PARTICIPATE" will get support from all the major broadcast networks. Its centerpiece this year is a week-long TV event running Oct. 19-25 that will see ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC as well as other networks putting the spotlight on the themes of service and volunteerism via popular scripted programs, special segments and PSAs.
Among the hit shows participating are "American Idol," "Private Practice," "Ugle Betty" and "The Good Wife."

The initiative follows EIF's "Stand Up to Cancer" event last year. Its PSAs feature such Hollywood stars as Gwyneth Paltrow, Matthew McConaughey

Thursday's kickoff also featured other big names from the broader entertainment world, such as Randy Jackson, Tim Daly, Michelle Trachtenberg, Christine Baranski, Katie Couric, Fran Drescher, fashion guru Kenneth Cole, Lee Ann Womack and Tony Award Winner Bernadette Peters, plus more than 100 volunteers. The organizers said the music industry and Broadway will also play a role in the initiative to motivate volunteers.

In a related initiative, the mayors of 15 major cities - from Bloomberg to LA's Antonio Villaraigosa and Chicago's Richard Daley - were at hand Thursday to launch their "Cities of Service" campaign that will try to harness citizens' volunteer energy.