Hand in Hand's text-to-donate campaign, online and donations by phone will begin at the top of the show and will conclude an hour after the show ends.
Apple donated $5 million during the show, Stephen Colbert announced, while Albertsons Cos. and Merck each gave $1 million, Jimmy Fallon said. Houston rap artist Bun B and Scooter Braun, a Hollywood talent manager and founder of SB Projects, are the organizers. The TV channels featuring the benefit include ABC, NBC, CBS, BET, Bravo, CMT, E!, Fox, HBO, iHeart Media, MTV, Oxygen, SiriusXM, Univision and Westwood One. The event will also stream internationally on Facebook and Twitter.
Stevie Wonder opened the telethon with a performance of his hit "Lean on Me" and several stars told emotional stories about those affected by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, which have destroyed parts of the U.S. and Caribbean.
The hourlong special, live from Los Angeles with stages in NY and Nashville, will include performances, appearances, and taped messages from Sean "Diddy" Combs, Ellen DeGeneres, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Drake, Jimmy Fallon, Tom Hanks, Nicole Kidman, Oprah Winfrey, and more.
More than 60 people died during Harvey and 12 deaths have been reported in the USA from Irma.
In a plea for donations, he said, "Now, this is what we can give people with our donations tonight".
The telethon will conclude with a finale performance by George Strait live from his Harvey relief benefit concert at San Antonio's Majestic Theatre.
One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to participating charities assisting in relief efforts.
Though local callers may not be routed here in Mankato, Smith says she hopes those in the community will take part in the nationwide effort.