Celebrities and musicians come together to honor the everyday people who make the world a better place.
CNN AndersonCooper and ABC Kelly Ripa are co-hosting the 16th annual “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute,” which kicked off at 8 p.m. ET on CNN. They will be joined by more than a dozen celebrities, including the model and activist Naomi Campbell and actors Adam Scott of “Rupture,” Place Aubrey of “The White Lotus” and Tenoch Huerta of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” who will serve as award presenters.
“We are deeply honored to be here,” said actress and singer Sofia Carson, who will perform a song by award-winning songwriter Diane Warren at the event. “Diane wrote this amazing ‘Applause’ anthem for those who lead, survive and fight and tonight we dedicate this song and this performance to our heroes.”
The 2022 CNN Hero of the Year will be revealed during the live stream, selected by CNN’s audience from the top 10 CNN heroes of this year. The 10 winners receive a prize of $10,000 and the hero of the year receives an additional $100,000 for their cause.
Actor Aubrey Plaza introduced CNN’s first hero, Aidan Reillywho launched his non-profit organization on his way home from college during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“From his pandemic couch, Aidan and his friends co-founded Farmlink Project,” Plaza said. The nonprofit connects surplus food from farms across the United States – food that would otherwise be wasted – to those in need. “In just two years he…moved over £70m,” Plaza added.
Supermodel and activist Naomi Campbell honored Nelly Cheboi, whose nonprofit TechLit has created technology labs with recycled computers for school children in rural Kenya. Cheboi grew up in poverty in Kenya, Campbell noted, but education gave him – and his family – a way out.
“I will never forget the pain of poverty that still runs deep in my community,” Cheboi said as he accepted his award. “The hope that our work can empower people…is the mountain I am dedicated to moving.”
Actor Adam Scott recalled a famous quote from the cardigan-wearing children’s TV host honoring CNN’s third hero of the night: “Remember how Mr. Rogers…we said that in scary times we must seek helpers?” said Scott. “We’ll meet Therese Gray.”
A nurse and paramedic, Gray’s nonprofit Mobile Medics International sends medical teams to natural disasters and refugee crises around the world.
This year, for the first time, CNN Heroes is collaborating with The Elevate Prize Foundation to provide additional awards in the form of nonprofit training, organizational support, and grants to the 10 winners. The CNN Hero of the Year will also be named the Elevate Award winner and will receive additional funding and continued support for their work.
Two teens who are making a difference in their communities were also honored as 2022 Young Wonders:
- Sri Nihal Tammana, a 13-year-old from Edison, New Jersey, started “Recycle My Battery” which keeps used batteries out of the ecosystem through a network of collection bins.
Here are three ways to take part in tonight’s CNN Heroes special:
Tune in to watch the two-hour TV event tonight on CNN, CNN International, CNN en Español or CNNgo, the online streaming platform available on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Samsung Smart TV and Android TV, and on CNN mobile app.
CNN has partnered with GoFundMe to enable donations to the top 10 winners of this year. GoFundMe is the world’s largest fundraising platform that empowers people and charities to give and receive help. Supporters can donate online to CNN’s Top 10 Heroes nonprofits directly from CNNHeroes.com.
Do you know someone in your community who is doing amazing things to make the world a better place? Keep an eye on CNN.com/heroes and consider nominating that person as a CNN Hero in 2023. You can also learn about many of the 350 former CNN Heroes who have helped more than 55 million people in all 50 US states and more than 110 countries across the world.