December 20, 2012
History of The Genesis Awards Benefit Gala
Since its 1986 launch, this unique event has celebrated the major media
How it began
In 1986, The Genesis Awards event was launched by animal advocate and actress Gretchen Wyler, under the aegis of The Fund for Animals. Wyler came up with the idea because she strongly believed that rewarding members of the media encouraged them to highlight more animal issues, thus increasing public awareness and compassion toward animals. The first annual event - a luncheon drawing only 140 attendees - quickly grew into a large benefit gala in Beverly Hills, Calif., with more than 1,000 guests.
In 1991, Wyler founded The Ark Trust, Inc., which continued to present the Genesis Awards. In 1990, the event was broadcast as a television special, first on the Discovery Channel and American Life Network, then on Animal Planet. In August 2002, The Ark Trust joined forces with The Humane Society of the United States. Wyler, as vice president of HSUS Hollywood, continued her role as chairperson of the event and executive producer of the television special until her 2006 retirement. Wyler passed away in 2007.
Genesis Awards entries are submitted by the public as well as by media professionals. Categories span television, film, print, radio, music, and the arts. The Genesis Awards Committee - via a process of submission, nomination, candidate selection, debate, and secret ballot - makes all final decisions regarding the winners.
Former Genesis Award winners include films such as "Gorillas in the Mist," "Babe," "Chicken Run," and "Rise of the Planet of the Apes." TV winners have included "The Simpsons," "Everybody Loves Raymond," "Law & Order," "Bones," and "True Blood." Awards for individuals include the prestigious Wyler Award, as well as Lifetime Achievement Awards going to Jane Goodall and Tippi Hedren, among others.
The big event
Genesis Awards are presented annually at a star-studded ceremony drawing representatives from the media, entertainment industry, social, business and humane communities. Recognized as the nation's premier consciousness-raiser of animal issues, the event has attracted a host of celebrities, including Christian Bale, Pierce Brosnan, James Cromwell, Kaley Cuoco, Emily Deschanel, Zooey Deschanel, Kelsey Grammer, Teri Hatcher, Wendie Malick, Rose McGowan, Sidney Poitier, William Shatner, Martin Sheen, Wilmer Valderrama, and Betty White.
The Genesis Awards Benefit Gala also supports the life-saving work of The Humane Society of the United States, with proceeds of the 2013 gala benefitting three of The HSUS's top animal welfare priorities: Pets for Life, Chimps Deserve Better, and Farm Animal Protection.
What you can do
Our members can play a part in the Genesis Awards Benefit Gala: if you've seen any animal-friendly storylines in TV or film, or if you'd like to attend this year's gala, please contact us.
The 2013 Genesis Awards Benefit Gala will take place on Saturday, March 23 at The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif.