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The Power of Giving is No Joke

Adam Sandler
Pictured from left to right: Judy Carter, Adam Sandler, & Shante Lewis
Last Wednesday night was a lifetime dream come true. I was onstage in a magnificent ballroom. Adam Sandler, Sacha Baron Cohen, Kathy Griffin, Rob Moore, Brad Grey, JJ Abrams, Patton Oswalt and Daryl Hannah were in the audience. And they were all laughing.

It was a benefit for a mentoring organization that has become a big part of my life - The Fulfillment Fund. Shante Lewis, the young woman I mentored, and I were asked to speak before they hit up the really rich people there to donate the really big bucks right there on the spot.
Red Carpet
Shante Lewis & Judy Carter being photographed walking down the red carpet prior to events.
They wanted us to tell the story of our relationship and the impact it had on Shante's journey from south-central LA to a Master's degree at Johns Hopkins University and a job as a therapist.

Shante and I spent hours writing and rehearsing a dialogue that condensed 14 years into 10 minutes. The night of the event we ended up sitting next to Kathy Griffin, who gave Shante some last-minute (and much-appreciated) advice.
Kathy Griffin
Judy Carter, Kathy Griffin, & Shante Lewis before dinner.
We took to the stage and it was all I could have hoped for, and more. We got laughs AND tears. The Fulfillment Fund got a lot of scholarship money. And afterwards, Sacha Baron Cohen stopped us to talk and Adam Sandler jumped out of his car to hug us. For real. There were witnesses.

Tom Higgenson, vocalist & guitarist for 
The Plain White T's with Judy Carter.






Patton Oswalt & Judy Carter in the green room.

There is a big lesson here. During my long career as a standup comic I had always hoped for the chance to perform in front of Hollywood's elite. And now I had finally gotten the opportunity to do just that, not because of what I do for a living, but because of what I did as a person -- my volunteer work. I was appreciated not just for my jokes or performance, but for the difference I made in another person's life. Wow.

As performers we spend most of our lives trying to get -- laughs, applause, the next gig. There is tremendous power in reversing that flow of energy and giving to another person or a cause without expecting or wanting anything in return. Sometimes it even makes dreams come true.

Here is an article about The Fulfillment Fund 2012 Stars Gala.
And here are more pictures of the event courtesy of Getty Images.

Tell me about your charity. I'd love to hear about them! 

13 comments:

sukey said...

I literally got chills reading about your even. It's true, the joy in giving -- is giving. sukey

comedian melia mills said...

Congrats, Judy! Love your dress!

Anonymous said...

inspiring

lisa j said...

So proud to know you Judy. You are a truly great woman with a fantastic set of knockers. Happy you are being recognized! love you Lisa J

Dr. Audrey Levy said...

"We took to the stage and it was all I could have hoped for, and more. We got laughs AND tears... and Adam Sandler jumped out of his car to hug us. For real. There were witnesses." Judy, for real, there were witnesses, you had another fucking fantastic success just as you did on the night you shared the staged with President Clinton in front of 8500 people, and just as you did when you dedicated your new book, "The Message of You," to your sister, "Marsha Carter, who, in spite of not being able to speak, was a great communicator." YOU, JUDY CARTER, ARE A GREAT COMMUNICATOR. I'm a witness. It's for real, and best of all, you're for real. Thank you for sharing your real self with all of us.

Terri Langhans said...

Awesome, Judy. This is why I flinch--more like gag--when I hear speakers pontificate about "fee integrity."

I spoke for free to a group called Women Helping Women/Men to Work last month and wrote the first check after hearing the "non-professional" speakers tell their stories.

The world needs to hear you!

Jeanette Brox said...

Congratulations, Judy. You have an amazing spirit and your messages are always inspiring!!! Love the Herve Legere dress; you look beautiful.

Jeanette Brox

Karen said...

You never cease to amaze me. CONGRATS! That is an awesome story. Helping others get a leg up in life is the most rewarding thing we can do. There are so many opportunities to do that.

Anonymous said...

Hey Judy, Great to see the author of The Bible (MY bible) doing the lord's work. Great timing for me too personally-inspiring as i start today mentoring college applicants from the South Bronx - players in the South Bronx United soccer program I help to coach.

Larry Thompson said...

Your books have helped me have a career as a comedian you are my inspiration


Yvonne said...

I have watched you since you did magic at children's parties. I saw you perform your your own play. You
have created a series of professional
careers as well a successful book.
I need to say it: I am so proud of you. Yvonne

Yvonne said...

I have watched you since you did magic at children's parties. I saw you perform your your own play. You
have created a series of professional
careers as well a successful book.
I need to say it: I am so proud of you. Yvonne

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