Last night, Christie’s in New York and actor Leonardo DiCaprio made history by auctioning off more than $38 million in art—with all proceeds going to charity. The money will all be donated to the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which works to fund various conservation projects around the world.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation supports projects that vary from creating and maintaining sanctuaries to protecting natural habitats of endangered species. The money raised at the recent auction will go a long way in helping many more projects like that succeed.
Thirty-three works of art were sold at the auction, which was entitled “The 11th Hour Auction.” Most works sold for much more than expected, making the auction even more valuable than anticipated.
Currently, less than 2% of philanthropic dollars support global conservation projects. Each year, 140,000 animal and plant species become extinct. If we don’t do something now, we will soon find ourselves facing extinction.
“We are facing a tipping point of environmental crisis unprecedented in human history and our very survival is dependent on protecting nature,” said DiCaprio in his opening speech. “There are less than 3,200 tigers left in the wild, we’ve lost 90% of the world’s sharks, and it looks like we might lose the African elephant entirely in the next 10 years if we don’t take action.”
Leonardo DiCaprio is well established as a committed environmentalist, and it was he ho convinced many of the artists and collectors to contribute or bid on works. He donated some of his personal collection as well. He purchased a piece called “Monokome” for $700,000, which was specially commissioned for the auction.