How has the rise of the celebrity chef impacted non-profit fundraising? Legendary chef Jonathan Waxman and super fundraiser Billy Harris sit down with host Billy Shore in New York City to talk about celebrity, creativity and how their professional and philanthropic lives came to be intertwined. Waxman was one of the first chefs to use his celebrity on behalf of No Kid Hungry and has continued to do so for 35 years. “The awareness of what you do is so important – a lot of time we ignore the plight of the less fortunate and we kind of put blinders on,” he believes. One of the most sought-after MC/auctioneers in the fundraising world, Harris has hosted more than 200 No Kid Hungry events over the past 15 years and raised more than $100M for various charities. “What I’ve learned is everyone likes to eat and drink and have a good time, and we can all do that and at the same time raise a few bucks for people that are a little less fortunate,” he says.
Waxman was a professional musician before becoming a chef and describes the parallels between the two professions. “I think there’s a lot of loneliness involved with it… At the end of the day, giving back helps assuage part of my loneliness,” he explains. Harris was doing stand-up comedy before he discovered his career 30 years ago and never looked back. “I am not an auctioneer, I’m a funny guy with a microphone that knows how to work a room. I get to be me and do what I love to do and raise money for these organizations,” he concludes.
Listen in as these two long-time No Kid Hungry champions talk about how giving back is central in their lives.