Publisher's Letter

updated 03/29/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/29/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

AS JOURNALISTS, WE LIKE TO BELIEVE that the weekly practice of our craft makes an intangible contribution to society. But sometimes the opportunity arises to make a literal contribution as well. This was the case with the recent PEOPLE special issue devoted to the late Audrey Hepburn. We are deeply pleased to be able to donate the first $100,000 from sales of that newsstand-only issue to the U.S. Committee for UNICEF, the children's relief agency for which the film star worked so diligently and with such compassion in her later years.

At a March 10 luncheon at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, we presented a check to the Today show's Katie Couric, the 1992 National UNICEF Day chair, who accepted it on behalf of UNICEF. In all her travels for the organization, Couric said in a heartfelt speech, Hepburn was "always a caring participant, never a detached observer." Special guests at the ceremony included Boutros Boutros-Ghali, secretary general of the U.N., and Hugh Downs, cohost of ABC's 20/20 and chairman of the U.S. Committee for UNICEF. "The money PEOPLE has donated will be used to support UNICEF's work with Africa's most vulnerable children," says Downs, who had been a friend of Hepburn's. "It will benefit children caught in the cross fire, children on the streets, working children, children orphaned by AIDS. Your generosity will have a direct impact on thousands of young minds and bodies."

For the staff who turned out the 80-page Hepburn special issue in just nine days, scanning thousands of photographs and culling vivid anecdotes about the star was a bittersweet endeavor. "She was truly an inspiration to so many people," says managing editor Fanny Jones. "She stood for causes larger than herself. It's nice to know that after her death, her impact continues. We're pleased to be able to contribute to that."

Readers may send donations of their own to the Audrey Hepburn Memorial Fund, U.S. Committee for UNICEF, 333 East 38 Street, New York, N.Y. 10016. Phone: 1-800-FOR-KIDS.

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