Sunday, October 24, 2010

Celebrities and Charities

by carol

The best thing about celebrity-charity relationships is that they are mutually beneficial liaisons. There may be personal reasons for a celebrity’s support of a cause or a charity may solicit a star to become their representative.

A "ripple effect" occurs from celebrity involvement with a charity – people interested in the celebrity become interested in the charity. The idea behind that is our stored up appreciation, admiration, or affection for that celebrity will (subconsciously or consciously) lead us to donate to the cause they endorse.

Time, Talent, Fortune. Celebrities offer one or more of these to a charity. Angelina Jolie is an example of a star who offers all three. A goodwill ambassador for the United Nation’s refugee agency UNHCR since 2001, she has visited refugee camps in well over 20 countries and in one year alone personally donated more than $13 million to non-profit organizations, including $1 million to Human Rights Watch.

I am pleased to report that the stars of one of my favorite shows, Hawaii Five-0, are involved with a number of worthy causes.

Several years ago Surfers Healing was doing an event in Malibu which invited families with autistic children to come and surf. Instructors put the kids on the front of their boards, paddled out and helped them stand up in the waves.

Scott Caan was at the same beach that day. There were only six or seven Surfers Healing instructors for 120 kids. The instructors asked a couple of the local surfers to take some of these kids out. Scott volunteered, and has been doing it every year since then.

“A lot of autistic kids don’t like to be touched and are initially timid about getting into the ocean. But I would say six times out of 10 times, kids who were kicking and screaming not to get into the water are pleading to surf once we take them back to shore. They’re like, ‘One more. One more. One more.’” 
Scott works with two other organizations, TheraSURF and Life Rolls On. Other celebrities who work with these groups include Simon Baker of CBS’s The Mentalist, Jane Seymour, Robin Williams, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, Benjamin Bratt, and Robert Hays.

Alex O’Loughlin admits he takes his work home, but he also takes his work to heart. While shooting Moonlight, he became a spokesperson for blood donation with the American Red Cross. O’Loughlin says that one of the first things he considered when working on his last show,Three Rivers, was the potential for community service. He began to work with Donate Life America, an organization promoting organ and tissue donation. In 2010, O’Loughlin was named Person of the Year by Donate Life Hollywood for his efforts.
“I was always an organ donor, but to be honest I didn’t really know exactly what that meant. Now that I’ve learnt and become intimate with this cause, it’s been with great pleasure that I have become a spokesperson and an official ambassador for Donate Life.

“Any chance to give back I think is really important, especially from people like us who have a really great job and are in the public eye.”
O'Loughlin is also an example of a fanbase becoming involved. Inspired by O'Loughlin, fans have organized blood drives and organ donation sign-up campaigns in his honor.

Daniel Dae Kim often comments on his affection and commitment to Hawaii, its people and its culture. His connection to the community has motivated him to donate his services to charities such as the local chapter of the American Red Cross, the Alana Dung Foundation, a battered women’s shelter, ARTafterDARK, and Kamehameha Schools. He also has worked with drama students at the University of Hawaii and speaks at local high schools about his life and career as an Asian-American actor.

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