President Barack Obama Reflects on Tragedy to Transformation at Sandy Hook Promise Benefit Ahead of 10-Year Remembrance

The organization honored Robert A. Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, with the “Promise Champion” Award for his support of protecting children from gun violence

Matthew McConaughey, actor and just keep livin Foundation founder, delivered speech about his commitment to protecting youth following the shooting in hometown of Uvalde, TX

Robin Roberts, Co-Anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” served as event emcee

NEW YORK, Dec. 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — On Tuesday, December 6, Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) hosted a benefit evening at the Ziegfeld Ballroom in New York City to commemorate the 10-year remembrance of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy. More than 450 supporters, advocates, and business leaders joined the event to honor the lives taken that tragic day – and celebrate the lifesaving impact of Sandy Hook Promise’s Know the Signs programs.

President Barack Obama and Matthew McConaughey speak at the Sandy Hook Promise 10-Year Remembrance NYC benefit event

President Obama delivered an emotional and stirring speech as he reflected on the decade since the tragedy, underscoring the lives saved since and the work left to be done to protect children from gun violence in the US.

“When we were together back in 2012, I said that Newtown would be remembered for the way you looked out for each other, the way you cared for one another, the way you loved one another. And, in fact, for a decade now, you have looked out for and cared for each other. But more than that, you’ve also looked out for other children, other families, all across the country – making a solemn promise that you’d do everything in your power to make sure they never have to experience what you and your loved ones did.”

“Through this organization [Sandy Hook Promise], you’ve upheld that promise in such a remarkable way: not by teaching kids to be fearful or suspicious of their classmates, but by showing them from a young age how to be friendly and welcoming, how to empathize with one another, how to be inclusive members of a community. By helping prevent the kind of social isolation that can lead to violence, Sandy Hook Promise is not just making schools safer today. You’re creating better people, better citizens, now and for generations to come.”

Actor and just keep livin Foundation founder Matthew McConaughey gave an impassioned speech about investing in protecting the lives of children after the devastating school shooting in his hometown of Uvalde, TX, sharing: 

“When Camila and I went to Uvalde, the parents of the children who were killed asked us for ONE thing — and they weren’t just asking Camila and I, they were asking ALL of us: Americans, fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, students, teachers, young and old – they asked us to ‘Make their lives matter.’ There’s no better way to make the lives of the children killed in Sandy Hook

, Uvalde, and in so many other mass shootings MATTER, than to INVEST in saving the lives of more innocent children in the future.”

Robert A. Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company, was honored at the event for his strong personal support of SHP’s Start With Hello program and creating safer communities for America’s children, noting:

“Preventing gun violence before it happens should be among our highest priorities as parents and grandparents, as teachers and educators, as citizens, and as a nation. That’s what our children need and deserve.”

Ron Conway, investor, philanthropist, and the Event Chair for the evening, presented Iger with the “Promise Champion” award, and Robin Roberts, co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America,” served as the event’s emcee.

This year’s Benefit Committee included Willow Bay, Richard Buery of Robin Hood Foundation, Blair Effron of Centerview Partners, Elizabeth Elting, Valerie Jarrett, Karlie Kloss and Josh Kushner, Peter Land of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Scott Rechler, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, Robert Wolf, David Zaslav of Warner Bros. Discovery, and many others.

They were joined by New York City Mayor Eric Adams; New York City Attorney General Letitia James; Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH); Chris Licht, Chairman of CNN, OShane Ximines, NY Giants; Victor Cruz, former NFL champion; Stefanie Dolson, New York Liberty; Sofia Hublitz, actress; Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman; Kate Snow, NBC News Correspondent; Tim Armstrong, former CEO of Oath, Inc.; Anthony Scaramucci, former White House Communications Director; Doris Burke, sports commentator, Wyc Grousbeck & Emilia Fazzalari; among others.

The funds raised at the benefit will directly impact SHP’s proven and no-cost school shooting and violence prevention programs. 

About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) envisions a future where all children are free from school shootings and other acts of violence. As a national nonprofit organization, SHP’s mission is to educate and empower youth and adults to prevent violence in schools, homes, and communities. Creators of the life-saving, evidence-informed “Know the Signs” prevention programs, SHP teaches the warning signs of someone who may be in crisis, socially isolated, or at-risk of hurting themselves or others and how to get help. SHP also advances school safety, youth mental health, and responsible gun ownership at the state and federal levels through nonpartisan policy and partnerships. SHP is led by several family members whose loved ones were killed in the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. 

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