Michael Jackson's halftime appearance at the Super Bowl created a stir, but it was all for a good cause.
Jackson, who performed with lots of children dressed in costumes of various nationalities, received no compensation for his performance.
Instead, his Heal the World Foundation got a $100,000 contribution from the National Football League, said Pat Harris, a spokeswoman representing the foundation in Los Angeles. The NFL also donated a 30-second TV spot during the game to plug for contributions to the foundation's new effort, Heal L.A.
But the question in many minds is: What is Heal L.A.?
Heal L.A. is Jackson's effort to raise money to help a variety of programs and services for youngsters in the riot-torn East Los Angeles area, Harris said.
Jackson also has pledged proceeds from the sale of his "Heal the World" single and video to Heal L.A. Total funding committed to Heal L.A. exceeds $1.5 million, according to a press release outlining the new effort.
In a full-page advertisement that ran in USA Today last week, Jackson pushed for contributions to Heal L.A. by providing the toll-free number, (800) HEAL-123, and a coupon that could be clipped and mailed in along with a contribution. Those donating $35 or more to the cause were promised a Heal the World T-shirt.
"I started Heal the World Foundation to improve the conditions for children throughout the world," Jackson said in the ad, which showed him kissing a baby.
The ad also said that former President Jimmy Carter had agreed to serve as co-chairman of Heal L.A. A spokeswoman at the Carter Center in Atlanta confirmed that Carter is part of the effort.
Heal L.A. is part of Jackson's Heal the World Foundation, which he started last year to try to improve the lives of poor children. To maximize its effectiveness, the foundation gives money to established organizations so that the foundation can eliminate excessive overhead and keep administrative costs to a minimum, Harris said.