Monday June 18, 2012

MALIBU, Calif. -- In an elegant white tent at her oceanfront Malibu compound, Barbra Streisand sang and former President Bill Clinton spoke to a crowd gathered to raise funds for women’s heart health.

Guests paid as much as $100,000 per couple to support the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at the intimate fundraising dinner Thursday at the home Streisand shares with her husband, James Brolin.

The singer donated $10 million to create the research and treatment facility at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and solicited million-dollar donations from wealthy friends she called personally.

Streisand said she was motivated to contribute to women’s heart health because she "can’t stand inequality, whether it’s about civil rights, gay rights or gender discrimination."

Heart disease kills more women each year than all cancers combined, but most of the research on the disease for the past five decades has been conducted on men.

"Even in scientific research, women are still treated as second-class citizens," Streisand said, "and to me, that’s just unacceptable."

So she raised her voice and opened her wallet, and invited her friends to do the same.

"It’s kind of a selfish thing, because it’s actually very fulfilling, to do something like that that’s larger than me or my career," she said, acknowledging that her fellow donors must feel the same way.