Updated Sep 27, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Four former presidents join forces to celebrate volunteers

 Former Presidents George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama address the audience during a 2017 concert at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas. Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images
Former Presidents George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama address the audience during a 2017 concert at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas. Photo: Gary Miller/Getty Images

All four living former presidents came together as honorary co-chairs for a virtual event Saturday night to honor philanthropists and celebrate everyday volunteers.

Details: In a show of bipartisan strength, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton delivered recorded messages at the event for the late President George H. W. Bush’s global nonprofit, Points of Light. Jimmy Carter lent his support as an honorary co-chair.

What they're saying: In the video, Bush, Obama and Clinton pay tribute to individuals who give up their time to help others, with even those who undertake small actions providing "points of light in the darkness" that can have a "profound" impact.

  • Bush notes the world faces "formidable" challenges, but "you have the power to change the world."
  • Obama says that "in these difficult and uncertain times, we find hope" among those "focused on empathy and action," while Clinton speaks of the "timeless values of duty and sacrifice."

The big picture: Points of Light recognizes "distinguished leaders and everyday people who demonstrate remarkable service, especially on global issues such as the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice and equity movement, and economic crisis," per an emailed statement.

  • The George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards is a chance for us to recognize these individuals who are tackling some of society’s challenges — big and small — to move us towards safer, more sustainable communities," Points of Light president and CEO Natalye Paquin said in a statement.

Of note: The nonprofit's highest accolade, the George H.W. Bush Points of Light Award, went to Chobani founder and CEO Hamdi Ulukaya, Time co-chair Lynne Benioff and her husband, Salesforce co-founder and chief executive Marc Benioff, who is also a Time co-chair. All three are known for their philanthropy.

  • Also receiving the award were sisters Shreyaa Venkat, 17, and Esha Venkat, 14, founders of the community nonprofit NEST4US, and Captain Sir Tom Moore, who raised over $40 million for charities supporting Britain's National Health Service earlier this year.
  • The George H.W. Bush Points of Light Awards celebration was co-hosted by sisters Barbara Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, along with their cousin Wendy Stapleton. Singer Reba McEntire presented the Inspiration Honor Roll Spotlight to recognize the work of several volunteers, activists and community leaders.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the video and remarks by Obama, Bush and Clinton.

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