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Harvard names Elton John its Humanitarian of the Year

Part-time Atlantan Elton John has been honored by the Harvard Foundation with its Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award and will give a lecture on Nov. 6.

In a release, the foundation saluted John's "humanitarian efforts to fund and raise awareness about the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS," noting "he has long supported the rights of all people affected by the AIDS epidemic. In 1992, he established the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which to date has raised more than $385 million to support HIV/AIDS-related programs around the world. His philanthropic endeavors were recognized by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, who knighted him in 1998."

John's support of Atlanta organizations includes a very active role with Open Hand. A local nonprofit nutrition agency founded in 1988 to serve persons dealing with HIV/AIDS, its mission has expanded to include area seniors in need.

In 2015, just prior to his performance at Music Midtown, the artist teamed up with Open Hand and personally delivered the agency’s 1 millionth meal. Here's a video of him making the special - surprise - delivery.

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The Grammy, Tony and Academy Award winner also has granted funds through the Elton John AIDS Foundation, and personally contributed to Open Hand’s capital expansion project.

He and husband David Furnish have twin sons who joined their dad at work the other day. Check out this sweet clip:

Past Harvard Foundation honorees include James Earl Jones, chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee Thorbjørn Jagland, U.N. Secretaries General Ban Ki-Moon, Kofi Annan, Boutros Boutros-Ghali and Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, gender rights advocate Malala Yousafzai, anti-child-labor spokesman Kailash Satyarthi, singer Lionel Richie, actor Ruby Dee, athlete Arthur Ashe, musical artist Rihanna and farmworker-rights advocate Dolores Huerta, the release said.



About the Author

Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for

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