11:12pm PT by Chris Gardner
Emma Stone, Jeremy Strong and Kelly Ripa Turn out for Child Mind Institute Gala
The Child Mind Institute — an independent, national nonprofit dedicated to helping children and families struggling with mental health and learning disorders — pulled off its 11th annual benefit Tuesday night by going virtual amid the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing a slew of celebrities along for the digital ride and raising $6.3 million in the process.
The total tally, made up of $3.2 million pulled in from the gala and an additional $3.1 million in accelerated support from donors, will go toward supporting the Child Mind Institute’s clinical financial aid, school and community programs, and science research on the developing brain.
The benefit honored Child Mind Institute clinicians for providing essential care during the current crisis. It also featured appearances from Child Mind Institute board member Emma Stone, Kelly Ripa, Jeremy Strong, Gabrielle Union, Jeannie and Jim Gaffigan, NBC News' Kate Snow, First Partner of California Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Andrew Barth Feldman. A pre-show program featured panels moderated by NBC's Cynthia McFadden, ABC's George Stephanopoulos and wife Ali Wentworth.
“For 10 years our child advocacy award dinner has been a celebration of the inspiring friends who helped build the Child Mind Institute,” said Dr. Harold S. Koplewicz, president and medical director of the institute. “This year, a year like no other, we’re doing something different. We are honoring the clinicians of the Child Mind Institute, a group like no other. They have taken the challenge of 2020 and soared. They launched a fully online clinical program. They’ve reached millions of parents through social media. They doubled the size of our school and community programs. ... They are heroes to so many this year."
Succession Emmy winner Jeremy Strong, who stars in Netflix’s Trial of the Chicago 7, kept it light by saying that character Kendall Roy and his dysfunctional family “could benefit from some therapy,” before getting serious. “As a husband to a child psychiatrist and a father to two small girls, I am in awe of the work that the Child Mind Institute does not only in providing gold standard treatment but also in seeking to understand the causes of childhood mental health disorders.”
The Gaffigans appeared together to praise the work of the institute while revealing a little bit about what life has been like in their home. “Like your family, we’ve been in quarantine, together with our kids, for nine months. after we solved every puzzle and played Monopoly until the board fell apart, we needed something else to keep from falling apart," said Jim, as Jeannie also noted how prolific the institute's social media channels are by posting daily content aimed at helping families with various issues. The org also promotes many clips featuring big-name talent talking about how they overcome depression, anxiety and mental health struggles.
"They helped us have hard discussions with our children during an incredibly stressful time for our nation," Jim continued. "Throughout the toughest of years, the Child Mind Institute has helped families feel like they’re not alone.”