George Clooney hosted a charity event Aug. 26 for “Not On Our Watch,” to raise money for victims in Darfur.
The event was expected to raise $2 million, said Manuele Malenotti, the executive director of the Italian clothing company Belstaff, which sponsored the event.
“Not On Our Watch” has raised more than $7 million to help victims both of the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Sudan and the cyclone in Myanmar, according to executive director Alex Wagner.
The charity, which was started last year by Clooney, Brad Pitt and some of their “Ocean’s Thirteen” colleagues, uses their celebrity appeal to bring attention to human rights abuses but it isn’t so easy to get even two of the founders together because of filming and family demands, Wagner conceded.
“Scheduling is very difficult. Two of them happened to be in Venice at the same time because of the ‘Burn After Reading’ premiere … so there was a brainstorming session,” Wagner said.
One recent grant by the group was $500,000 in March to keep helicopters and airplanes flying aid into Darfur region of Sudan.
“We sent out a press release one day saying we were on the verge of closing it down and the next day we had $500,000,” said Bettina Luescher, a spokeswoman for the World Food Program at U.N. headquarters in New York.
The air service is critical given deteriorating security, which makes road convoys vulnerable. Nearly 100 World Food Program food trucks have been hijacked this year.
Clooney has spoken for several years about the crisis in Darfur, where more than 200,000 people have been killed and about 2.5 million people displaced in three years of fighting between African rebels and government troops allied with Arab militia.