Hand in Hand telethon raises $14M for Harvey, Irma victims

Hand In Hand A Benefit for Hurricane Relief

Hurricane Harvey: Beyonce, George Clooney and Oprah Winfrey to take part in telethon for victims

During the hour-long telethon, there will be performances and celebrity appearances, from 8 - 9 p.m. ET/PT time delayed.

Before leading a gospel choir on "Lean on Me", however, Stevie Wonder couldn't resist making a slight dig at climate change deniers.

"We're here to raise money, lift some spirits", said Jamie Foxx, standing with actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

The telethon was broadcast on four networks, and featured celebrities, including Justin Timberlake and Drake, speaking of the importance of helping each other and advocating for unity.

The combined star power of the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Country Music Awards pulled together for a nationally broadcast telethon Tuesday night to raise millions of dollars to help survivors of devastating Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. By the following afternoon that number climbed to north of $44 million in contributions.

To boost the morale of the victims and to give them hope that there's a brighter future waiting for them, Oprah, Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Cher and Hilary Duff shared some survival stories from victims of previous hurricanes.

"One morning it just hit me - this is a national disaster", said Bun B, a Houston native.

The telethon was based in Los Angeles, with stages in NY and Nashville. They don't care if you're an immigrant, black or white, Hispanic or Asian, Jewish or Muslim, wealthy or poor. "It's even more fantastic to see us come together to help as best we can", he said.

During the telethon, CBS' Stephen Colbert announced that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) was donating $5 million and NBC's Jimmy Fallon said supermarket giant Albertsons and pharmaceutical giant Merck (NYSE:MRK) each donated $1 million.

Several organizations will benefit, including United Way of Greater Houston, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Direct Relief, Feeding Texas and The Mayor's Fund for Hurricane Harvey Relief.

Matthew McConaughey spoke live from San Antonio, Texas, where Miranda Lambert and George Strait sang Strait's song "If It Wasn't For Texas". The next step was getting in touch with people "who could get the most eyes and ears on what we were trying to get done".

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