By Amy & Nancy Harrington, Pop Culture PassionistasCelebs were spreading the good vibes this week. A “Desperate Housewives” star was spotlighted for her good deeds on NBC Nightly News, primetime network anchors joined forces to Stand Up to Cancer, two musicians launched charity auctions. Oh, and the Dalai Lama went on a whirlwind tour of the Big Apple–including his first ever appearance on “The Today Show” and a return to the stage at Radio City Music Hall. Here are this week’s most inspirational moments in pop culture.Eva Longoria Is “Making a Difference”This week NBC Nightly News was turning the spotlight on celebrities who are “Making a Difference.” It’s actually fairly hard to throw a stick in Hollywood without finding a star with a foundation that has his or her name on it. But some have really personal reasons for joining the fight for a particular cause.Such is the case with Eva Longoria, a glamorous TV actress with an NBA All-Star husband, Tony Parker. But when the “Desperate Housewives'” cameras stop rolling and the paparazzi are done snapping photos, Eva is grounded in a very deep connection with her family– especially her oldest sister.Lisa Longoria was born intellectually disabled. While some siblings might find that an overwhelming struggle, Parker has always viewed it as a blessing. She explained to NBC, “I always said Lisa’s my hero. And in growing up just seeing the challenges she’s faced and how she faces them with such a beautiful spirit and optimism and amazing strength.”To honor her sister, Longoria founded the charity Eva’s Heroes. Among its events and activities, the organization offers a very special program near Corpus Christi, Texas. Eva’s Heroes Executive Director Christiane Perkins-Garcia described the opportunity for kids near Corpus Christi between the ages of 14-21, “I saw the need for just a fun place for kids to go while Mom and Dad are still at work. But in a supervised and safe setting where we have staff trained to handle the special needs that are students have.”To learn more about Eva’s Heroes visit their website and click here to see the other celebs like Ben Affleck, Sally Field, and Usher who are “Making a Difference” in the NBC Nightly News series.The Big Three Newscasters Stand Up to CancerBy night they are fierce competitors challenging each other for the best ratings from the anchor desk. By day the have joined together to fight a disease affecting them all directly.Brian Williams, Katie Couric, and Diane Sawyer stood together this week to announce they will be co-hosting the September broadcast of the Stand Up to Cancer charity event.All three networks, and some cable channels, will air the TV special to raise money for cancer research. Last year’s fundraiser took in $100 million and was hosted by Williams, Couric, and Charlie Gibson. This is Sawyer’s first year joining the effort.All three evening news anchors have been affected by cancer in recent years. Sawyer is standing up to cancer in memory of James Bogdanoff, a “Good Morning America” editor and close friend.Williams lost his mother to non-Hodgkins lymphoma and his sister to breast cancer. In a promotional video for the event he said, “Two years ago when this came up, it was the fastest decision I’ve ever made and I can’t wait to go back to work for the cause.”Couric lost her husband Jay to colon cancer, and her sister Emily to pancreatic cancer. She said, “I really want to spare other families and other people from having to go through this… If we can help these scientists come up with better treatment and even a cure for this one day people like Emily and Jay can live long healthy lives and live to their fullest potential.”Stand Up To Cancer will air on September 10 at 8PM on ABC, NBC, and CBS and several cable channels. The promised star-studded cast has not yet been announced.Bette Midler’s Auction for a Restored New YorkBette Mildler has been working to clean up public spaces for decades. She used to sponsor efforts to clean up parts of the famed Laurel Canyon Boulevard and even adopted part of an L.A. highway years ago.After returning to New York in the late ’90s, Midler found the New York Restoration Project. The organization turns vacant lots (55 so far) into community gardens and plants trees (over 250,000 to date).In her latest effort to clean up Manhattan, she’s turned to some famous friends and asked them to donate items to a celebrity auction. And it seems no one wants to turn down the Divine Miss M when she needs a favor.Among the items up for bidding are a double dinner date with John Stamos, a tennis match with John McEnroe (we assume yelling is included in the winning price), and a meet and greet with Cher at her Caesars Palace show in Las Vegas. “Billion Dollar Baby” fans can hit the links with Alice Cooper, and aspiring meteorologists can win an appearance on “The Today Show” with Al Roker during a weather segment.Bidding for most of the big name packages start around $2,500-$2,750 but there are some bargains on Bette’s block. If you want a brush with fame but don’t have big bucks, you can put your money towards a meet and greet with Carrot Top for just $500.See all the items up for auction for NYRP at the Charity Folks website.The Dalai Lama Rocks Radio CityThe Dalai Lama is in the middle of a three day speaking engagement at Radio City Music Hall. He gave his speech from a throne surrounded by monks. We just have one question. Did they all break out into a kickline at the end?After a quick stop at “The Today Show” with Ann Curry, the spiritual leader of Tibet went to Radio City and spoke about the Heart of Selflessness and two lucky Tweeters were there to watch. A pair of tickets were given away on Twitter @MSGnyc. We guess even religious leaders need to use social networks these days. Some accounts claim the monk set up his own account after the Thursday morning session.He said that he does not believe in capitalism or making a profit, which seemed odd given the $360 package price for tickets. When questioned, the Dalai Lama replied that the organizers set the price and keep the profits. He takes no fee himself and asks promoters to donate at least portions of the proceeds to charities like hunger relief.Flea Gives Back to SilverlakeIn 2001 bassist Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers started a charity in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles. Silverlake Conservatory of Music offers lessons, instruments, and summer camps to kids from the area. All programs are very affordable and the conservatory offers scholarships for qualified students.This week SCM announced a charity auction for a brand new Fender guitar amp that comes with presets and loops from some serious rockers including Nils Lofgren, Dweezil Zappa, Phil Collen of Def Leppard, and Frank Bello of Anthrax. Flea told CNN, “In high school and after high school, I was heading for disaster. I was on drugs; I was robbing people’s houses; I was wild on the street. But lucky enough, through the public school system, I had been able to have some music education, and that gave me something to focus on, and discipline–like a family to feel part of. There was a healthy family.”After visiting Fairfax High School, his Alma Mater in Los Angeles, and seeing there were no instruments and no music classes offered, he decided to launch the Conservatory. Currently 25% of the 900 students attend the school on scholarship. And donations come in from stars like the Police’s Andy Summers to Metallica and local businesses and anonymous donors. Flea said, “Anyone who wants to go can go. I was lucky enough to have the dough, and this place is flourishing.”For more on the Pop Culture Passionistas, visit their website

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