More Than Me Foundation for Girl's Education Takes Top Prize at American Giving Awards

It was an evening of celebs, music and recognizing those making a difference

By Dmitry Kiper
|  Sunday, Dec 9, 2012  |  Updated 7:24 AM EDT
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Actress Glenn Close received the Leadership Award for her organization's work to end the stigma of mental illness.

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The second annual American Giving Awards, a two-hour prime-time special that aired Saturday on NBC, honored community heroes—charitable organizations that are making a difference.

The biggest financial award, a $1 million grant from Chase Bank, the show’s sponsor, was given to the More Than Me Foundation, which helps get young girls off the street—and into schools—in the slums of Liberia, in West Africa.

Hosted by Joel McHale, from NBC’s “Community,” the American Giving Awards also featured such presenters as Jenna Fischer (“The Office”), Sarah Hyland (“Modern Family”), and Anthony Anderson (“Guys with Kids”).

Among the musical guests were country singers Randy Travis and Darius Rucker, the rock group Lifehouse and the vocal quartet The Tenors.

The Leadership Award was given to actress Glenn Close for her work with her non-profit organization Bring Change 2 Mind, which aims to end the stigma of mental illness. The cause is a personal one, because Close has family members that suffer from mental illness.

In an interview with Sandy Cohen of The Associated Press before the AGAs, Close explained how the award would help her cause: “It's huge. You don't see that many things about mental illness. ... That shows that mental illness is not a comfortable thing for people to talk about, and the fact that they are giving me this award and my family — my sister, two of her children and my daughter are going to come up with me — because I think the image of a family together surrounding and supporting their members who have mental illness, there's no words for it. That's where I'm so moved and honored by this recognition and excited, actually, that we can put that image on television."
 

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