“Saturday Night Live’s” Emmy nominated cast member Cecily Strong hosted the event. Tony, Grammy and Emmy award-winning singer and actor Audra McDonald hosted the pre-show and performed “Go Back Home” (from the musical “Scottsboro Boys”) as well as a medley of “Children Will Listen” (from “Into the Woods”) and “You’ve Got to Be Taught” (from “South Pacific”) during the gala.
Other celebrity guests included Liev Schreiber, Mena Suvari, Rob and Marisol Thomas, Nathan Turner, Dylan Lauren, Katie Sturino, gala chair Georgina Bloomberg and Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States.
To the Rescue! took place in an innovative 3D environment where guests were taken through a fantasy setting of flowery meadows, glamping-style yurts, and a backyard barn stage to watch the event. An online auction included an opportunity to pitch your business idea over Zoom to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a once in a lifetime trip to the Canadian winter ice floes where mother seals give birth to their pups. The event also featured an engaging virtual photobooth that transported guests inside the virtual environment.
The gala benefited the continued work of the HSUS to end the cruelest practices towards animals with a spotlight on the organization’s animal rescue initiatives, farm animal protection and puppy mill campaigns and global initiatives to stop the dog meat trade. The HSUS has operated in crisis response mode since the first days of the pandemic lockdown, helping vulnerable animals survive and delivering aid to communities where people and pets are struggling.
The virtual gala was produced by Eventique. Georgina Bloomberg was the chair. The 2020 Leadership Committee included Susan Atherton, Ian Bass, Wendy and Howard Berk, Jennifer Faga, Wayne S. Flick, Allison Friedberg, Kimberly Handler, Gretchen Jelinek, Cathy Kangas, Jennifer Laue, Patrick McDonnell and Karen O'Connell, Sharon Patrick, Terry Rakolta, Debra Shore, Alanna Tarkington, and Marisol Thomas.
This year’s gala was sponsored by Moroccanoil, Mutts, Stray Dog Capital, Liberty Mutual Insurance, TJX, PVH Corp, Hallmark Channel’s Adoption Ever After, Chapman Cubine Allen + Hussey, ROI Solutions and Merkle Response Management Group.