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CNN Heroes: Giving takes center stage tonight

Excitement is building for tonight's "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," with celebrities ramping up to salute everyda...

Posted: Dec 18, 2017 8:25 AM
Updated: Dec 18, 2017 8:25 AM

Excitement is building for tonight's "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," with celebrities ramping up to salute everyday people who have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of others.

"I have the honor of presenting at the @CNNHeroes event tonight!! Tune in!" tweeted actor Gaten Matarazzo of the hit Netflix show "Stranger Things."

"So excited to be a part of the @CNNHeroes tonight! Tune in at 8pm on CNN and watch some really extraordinary people get honored!" wrote Brooklynn Prince, young star of the new film, "The Florida Project."

The pair will join actors Christian Bale, Diane Lane, Alfre Woodard, Jim Gaffigan, Christopher Meloni and many more to say thank you to 10 of the finest examples of giving nominated by CNN's audience.

ABC's Kelly Ripa will join CNN's Anderson Cooper to host the show, which airs live on CNN at 8 p.m. ET from New York's American Museum of Natural History.

The hero who received the most votes will be named "CNN Hero of the Year" during the All-Star Tribute and receive $100,000 for his or her cause.

Singer Andra Day and hip-hop artist Common will perform their hit song "Stand Up for Something" during the ceremony.

This year's top 10 CNN Heroes are:

  • Stan Hays, a Grand Champion pitmaster who uses his barbecuing skills to feed people in need during disasters through Operation BBQ Relief.

  • Samir Lakhani, who established the Eco-Soap Bank, which recycles used hotel soap for better hygiene and job creation in Cambodia.

  • Jennifer Maddox, whose Chicago after-school program, Future Ties, provides a safe space for more than 100 children to learn, grow and succeed.

  • Andrew Manzi, whose nonprofit, Warrior Surf, provides free six-week surf camps for veterans and their families, complete with therapy sessions on the beach.

  • Rosie Mashale and the organization Baphumelele, which provide care for more than 5,000 orphaned, abandoned or sick children, many of whom have lost parents to AIDS.

  • Leslie Morissette's project, Grahamtastic Connection, which gives computers, iPads and robots to ill kids so they stay connected to friends, family and school.

  • Mona Patel, who created the San Antonio Amputee Foundation, which offers peer support, education, recreation and financial help for people who need prosthetic limbs.

  • Khali Sweeney, whose Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program provides around 100 Detroit children with training and academic tutoring five days a week.

  • Aaron Valencia and Lost Angels Children's Project, an after-school program that focuses on classic car restoration.

  • Amy Wright, whose popular North Carolina shop, Bitty and Beau's Coffee, employs 40 people with disabilities.

Also being honored tonight are the 2017 CNN Heroes Young Wonders, kids and teens who got an early start with their passion for giving. This group is determined to promote literacy, environmentalism, coding skills, nutrition and compassion.

Beginning at 8 p.m. ET tonight, donations made to the designated nonprofit organization of each Top 10 CNN Hero, via and, will be matched up to $50,000 per Hero.

Now in its 11th year, the Peabody Award and Emmy-winning "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" has profiled more than 300 heroes and has received upward of 85,000 nominations from more than 100 countries.

To learn more, like CNN Heroes on Facebook, follow @CNNHeroes on Twitter and use hashtag #CNNHeroes. Behind-the-scenes images can be seen on the CNN Heroes Instagram account.

And don't forget to watch!

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