ATLANTA (AP) — R&B singer Usher said he was overwhelmed with gratitude by the amount of supporters at his New Look Foundation’s 15th anniversary luncheon.
Boxer Sugar Ray Leonard, Tony-winning director Kenny Leon and producer Jermaine Dupri were among more than 450 attendees at foundation’s luncheon Thursday in downtown Atlanta.
“This is a passion fuel for me,” Usher said. “All I wanted to do is inspired them. I was probably more intimidated by them than they were of me when we first started.”
An auction was held during the ceremony, raising more than $98,000 for the youth development organization founded by the Grammy-winning singer.
The goal of New Look has been to educate young people to speak in public, make presentations and develop their talents.
Rapper Ludacris hosted the event. He joked about being a better dancer, losing a $10,000 bet to Usher and spoke about his admiration of the singer’s charitable endeavors.
“It’s not what he’s done, but it’s about what he’s going to do,” Ludacris said of Usher.
Josh Kaufman, season six winner of NBC’s “The Voice,” also performed a rendition of Nico & Vinz’s “Am I Wrong” during the two-hour ceremony.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed was presented with an award for his support of youth education. Former President Bill Clinton paid praised Usher’s foundation in a video.
“I was able to take kids who probably would not have left their own state or country,” Usher said. “This luncheon has been an amazing experience.”