An awards show for the selfless

Updated 11:58 AM EST, Fri November 30, 2012
The top 10 Heroes of 2012 attend a welcome reception Thursday night in Los Angeles.
Jeremy Freeman/CNN
The top 10 Heroes of 2012 attend a welcome reception Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Story highlights

"CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute" will air at 9 p.m. ET Sunday

The live global telecast will be held at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles

The annual show honors the top 10 CNN Heroes of the year

One will be named CNN Hero of the Year and receive $250,000 for their cause

CNN —  

For the past six years, CNN has been honoring everyday people who are changing the world.

The tradition continues Sunday night, when the top 10 CNN Heroes of 2012 will be recognized at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

“CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute” will air live at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on CNN’s global networks. The show, hosted by Anderson Cooper, celebrates the year’s top 10 CNN Heroes, who each receive a $50,000 grant for their extraordinary efforts to improve the lives of others.

At the end of the show, Cooper will announce the CNN Hero of the Year. That person, one of the top 10 Heroes, has been selected by a public vote that ended Wednesday on CNN.com. He or she will receive an additional $250,000 to continue their work.

Many celebrities will be joining CNN to help tell these Heroes’ remarkable stories at Sunday’s show. This year’s celebrity presenters include movie stars Susan Sarandon, Adrien Brody, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Harvey Keitel and Josh Duhamel; athletes Jeff Gordon and Cullen Jones; and hip-hop artist 50 Cent. Television stars Rainn Wilson (“The Office”), Rico Rodriguez (“Modern Family”), Jane Lynch ("Glee”), Miranda Cosgrove ("iCarly”) and David Spade ("Rules of Engagement”) will also be in attendance.

And during the show, three-time Grammy Award winner Ne-Yo will be performing, as will “American Idol” winner Phillip Phillips.

“As we enter the season of giving thanks, we are grateful to these talented and caring entertainers who are joining us in this celebration of the human spirit,” said Kelly Flynn, senior executive producer for the CNN Heroes initiative and “CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute.” “We appreciate the time they’re taking to raise awareness for the life-changing work of this year’s CNN Heroes.”

One hour before the tribute show, CNN will air a special presentation, “CNN Heroes: Sharing the Spotlight,” that features exclusive interviews with Ne-Yo, actor Ben Stiller and model Christy Turlington Burns.

Pushpa Basnet, a Nepalese woman who supports children so they don’t have to live behind bars with their incarcerated parents, was named the 2012 CNN Hero of the Year on Sunday night.

Here are the top 10 Heroes of 2012, in alphabetical order:

Pushpa Basnet
Pushpa Basnet was shocked to learn that many children in Nepal have to live in prisons with their parents. In 2005, she started a children’s center that has provided support, such as housing, education and medical care, to more than 140 children of incarcerated parents.

Wanda Butts
Wanda Butts lost her son in a drowning accident six years ago. In his memory, she started the Josh Project, a nonprofit that taught nearly 1,200 children – most of them minorities – how to swim.

Mary Cortani
Mary Cortani is a former Army dog trainer who started Operation Freedom Paws, a nonprofit that helps war veterans train their own service dogs. Since 2010, she has worked with more than 80 veterans who have invisible wounds such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

Catalina Escobar
Catalina Escobar is helping young moms in Colombia, where one in five girls age 15-19 is or has been pregnant. Since 2002, her foundation has provided counseling, education and job training to more than 2,000 teenage mothers.

Razia Jan
Razia Jan is fighting to educate girls in rural Afghanistan, where terrorists will stop at nothing to keep them from learning. She and her team at the Zabuli Education Center are providing a free education to about 350 girls, many of whom wouldn’t normally have access to school.

Thulani Madondo
Thulani Madondo struggled as a child growing up in the slums of Kliptown, South Africa. Today, his Kliptown Youth Program provides school uniforms, tutoring, meals and activities to 400 children in the community.

Leo McCarthy
In memory of his daughter who was killed by a drunken driver in 2007, Leo McCarthy started Mariah’s Challenge. The nonprofit gives college scholarships to teenagers who pledge not to drink while they’re underage. Nearly $150,000 in scholarship money has been awarded.

Connie Siskowski
Connie Siskowski is helping young people who have to take care of an ill, disabled or aging family member. Since 2006, her nonprofit has provided assistance to more than 550 young caregivers in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Scott Strode
After beating his addiction to drugs and alcohol, Scott Strode found support through sports. Since 2007, his nonprofit, Phoenix Multisport, has provided free athletic activities and a sober support community to more than 6,000 participants in Colorado.

Malya Villard-Appolon
Malya Villard-Appolon is a rape survivor dedicated to supporting victims of sexual violence in Haiti. In 2004, she co-founded KOFAVIV, an organization that has helped more than 4,000 rape survivors find safety, psychological support and/or legal aid.