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Kevin Costner, Wife Christine Honored at OmniPeace Foundation Event


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OmniPeace Foundation, a nonprofit organization that builds schools in Africa, honored Kevin and Christine Costner with the Legacy Award at a Los Angeles event on Tuesday.

Mary Fanaro, founder of Omnipeace — which has established nine schools in four countries (Senegal, Mali, Malawi and Rwanda) and has educated over 30,000 children in extreme poverty — presented the couple with the award, remembering the support they offered her in the early days of the organization.

“I would go up to their house on the weekends when all of this was churning and I was sure that they would look at me like I was crazy, like what’s going on, what party do we have to go to next, what T-shirt do we have to put on next?” Fanaro said of her close friends. “But they believed in me, they never stopped believing in me, and sometimes when you’re trying to make a difference it’s the people that believe in you that make all the difference in the world. That is why they’re getting this award tonight.”

Taking the stage at the event, hosted at Vibrato Grill Jazz, Kevin Costner joked, “Mary’s probably the most expensive friend we have,” before noting how “she’s forced us in her own way to care about what she cares about and that’s the nature of friendship.”

“I’m sure Mary had a long list of who have helped her and we happened to be on it, so that feels good,” the Yellowstone star told The Hollywood Reporter of receiving the honor. “To see this steady transformation that happened to our friend who started leaving the continent to a place she didn’t know, coming back a fuller person and a fuller person … when you see a transformation in someone it’s amazing and makes me want to know what that’s about.” Christine Costner added, “Mary has had some challenges, she’s sober and she’s had stage three ovarian cancer and beat that and she’s beat all the odds — she’s just so committed, it’s really become a calling for her. She wakes up thinking about it every day.”

Hosted by emcee Billy Harris, the event featured a performance by Ghanaian musician Rocky Dawuni and an auction benefiting OmniPeace Foundation. The organization is currently focused on training the first generation of Rwandan music teachers, with a goal to place a music teacher in every primary school in the country.

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