Vegan Event Raises $1 Million for Inner City Arts

Guests at Russell Simmons’ “Art for Life” event dined on vegan chicken bites and waffles while raising funds to benefit arts programs for children.


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Last week’s 18th annual “Art for Life” event hosted by the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation (RPAF)—founded by vegan music mogul Russell Simmons and his brothers Daniel and Joseph—raised $1.1 million to benefit art programs for children in need. The event’s theme was “Midnight at the Oasis” and featured all-vegan food—including chicken bites and waffles, torta panzanella with smoked vegetables, herbed polenta, and pasta bolognese—created by chef Mark Russell. Proceeds from the event will go toward supporting youth art programs in economically depressed areas of Philadelphia, where RPAF has partnered with the Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, the African American Museum, and Mural Arts program. “When kids struggle, there’s nothing greater than exercising creative muscles,” Russell Simmons said during the event. “The creative process is how we move from step to step in life.” In addition to hosting benefits for children, Russell Simmons—who authored The Happy Vegan in 2015—regularly supports fundraising galas for groups such as animal-rights organization Mercy for Animals.