Alum Billy Harris Fights Childhood Hunger with Quips, Hard Work
LOS ANGELES TIMES -- After getting a theatre degree from San Francisco State, he moved to New York City to continue acting and started hosting events and emceeing banquets. When the auctioneer at a school fundraiser fell ill, the friend who was doing the event told him, “You’re funny, you’re loud, you talk fast. You can do this.” As Harris puts it now: “Since I now auction at 50 to 60 fundraisers a year, this was probably an important moment.”
He’s a conduit and professional friend, the guy who brings folks together because after 20 years of events he knows everybody and because he’s doing this for a reason. Sure, you get to have April Bloomfield or Roy Choi cook you dinner, but you also fund dinner for kids who often don’t get it at all.
“Through his blend of persuasion, humor, passion and advocacy, he’s able to take our message beyond the usual activists who care about childhood hunger,” says Billy Shore, who with his sister Debbie founded Share Our Strength in 1984. “The relationships he’s forged with so many of America’s best chefs is like an asset that merits protection at Ft. Knox.”
Share Our Strength estimates that just the auctions Harris has done over the past decade, at more than 100 No Kid Hungry events, have raised more than $10 million.
Photo courtesy of Billy Harris