Denzel Washington sure knows how to make a statement.
At last night's well-heeled 1st annual Steve Harvey Foundation Gala, the two-time Academy Award-winning thespian didn't only show up to collect his award for his philanthropic efforts, he also brought his checkbook.
The recent Tony Award nominee donated $1 million to Harvey's eponymous foundation, which aims to mentor young men from underprivileged backgrounds.
"We don't usually make announcements about what we do, but we are going to put $1 million toward your organization," Washington told a stunned audience, shortly after accepting his award. "What this man and his wife are doing is too important. ... Anything we can do, I will be there. And anything we can do financially, we will do."
"We love and appreciate the work you guys are doing. Thank you for honoring me, but we came to honor you," Washington said before encouraging the audience – which included the likes of Common, Sherri Shepherd, Rev. Al Sharpton, boxing promoter Butch Lewis, Malik Yoba, BET honcho Debra Lee, Island Def Jam chief Antonio "L.A." Reid and Nicole Ari Parker– to do what they can.
On receiving Washington's donation, Harvey said, "I am stunned, but at the same time I'm not, because this gift exemplifies Denzel and [wife] Pauletta. Giving comes real easy to them and although that's surprising to a lot of people, it's not surprising to us."
The event took place at Cipriani Wall Street and was hosted by entertainer Steve Harvey and Robin Roberts of 'Good Morning America.' Sponsored by Neiman Marcus, Neiman Marcus Charitable Funds and Essence magazine, the inaugural affair also honored the groundbreaking educator Geoffrey Canada, of the Harlem Children's Zone, and Pam El, of State Farm Insurance, for their commitment to mentoring.
Grammy-winning singer Toni Braxton, who released her album 'Pulse' today, performed at the intimate event, which raised more than $1.3 million for the Steve Harvey Foundation and its mentoring programs.
"[We] are so grateful, and will use this money in the spirit it has been given -- to change the lives of young men around the world."
Hosting the inaugural Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men during Father's Day Weekend in 2009, Harvey brought 100 teenage boys and their guardians from around the country to his ranch in Dallas.
The program's success inspired the best-selling author and renaissance media personality to expand his mission nationwide and create 10 satellite mentoring programs this year in, among others, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington D.C.
This year's Steve Harvey Mentoring Weekend for Young Men will take place in Dallas, June 17-20, with sponsorship from American Airlines, State Farm, The Home Depot, Hillshire Farm, Glory Foods, Sam's Club, Budget, FBI, Choice Hotels, 21st Century Foundation, Soft Sheen Carson, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Kmart.