Water.org: Bourne of an Objective
Aiming to tackle the water and overall sanitation problem in the developing world, Water.org hopes to untap partnerships with other sectors to affect long-term change. Founded by Matt Damon and Gary White, Water.org’s objective is to have safe water and toilets available for all people, and a sea change is beginning to take place. The organization has transformed hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America. Hygiene education programs have reduced sick days for students and encouraged families to improve their sanitation facilities. Pictured: Damon and White play with students at a school near Chennai, India.
Their Clout Is Simply Omaze-ing
Breaking the mold of traditional auction-based charity programs, Omaze mandates small, uniform donations from supporters. Participants enter a raffle, and each entrant has an equal chance to win the item up for auction. Past auctions have included such extravagances as an evening on the town in LA with George Clooney to benefit the Satellite Sentinel Project, and a guest spot in Star Wars: Episode VII to benefit UNICEF. Entry opportunities are earned through garnering support for the charities. A follow on Twitter, a retweet, and a Like or Share on Facebook each garner points toward bidding on high-profile auction items and events. The company also provides a film crew to record the experience, once it has been won, to share on social media. Started as a graduate school project by Matt and Ben (they favor a first-names-only basis), Omaze is a new approach to charitable giving.
The Mission Behind the Music
The Made in America music festival, which took place Labor Day Weekend in Grand Park, featured more than a dozen charities, including Festival Founder Jay Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation, Skid Row Housing, Dogs Without Borders and Imagine Dragons’ Tyler Robinson Foundation. Tween favorite American Eagle Outfitters served as a prominent sponsor, furthering efforts to create custom apparel, with proceeds from T-shirt sales going to the United Way, whose president and CEO, Elise Buik, expected the organization to raise $500,000 between proceeds and on-site donations.
Building a New Foundation for Change
Pritzker Prize–winning architect Frank Gehry and his firm Gehry Partners have signed on to design a campus for the Children’s Institute, Inc. CII, based in Los Angeles, is a social nonprofit organization that provides youth development and education programs and other family support including clinical services. The campus will occupy a two-acre lot six blocks from the Watts Towers. Gehry has undertaken charitable projects before, including Culver City and New Orleans, the latter in association with actor Brad Pitt. In announcing the new campus, Gehry Partners released the statement, “Our firm is always interested in projects which can help give back to our local community here in Los Angeles. We believe in CII’s mission and their goals for reaching and helping children and families in the community of Watts.”
A Stand Up Broadcast
It’s a sobering statistic that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. In a unified demonstration of solidarity toward the cause, on Sept. 5, no less than 33 networks aired the Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) one-hour special live, with no commercial interruptions. The telethon raised $109 million, more than five times its goal. Nielsen ratings put viewership at 10 million for the four major networks alone; Hulu and Yahoo also streamed the broadcast live. Hundreds of viewing parties were held throughout the country, many of which were hosted by cancer resource organizations, tethering together the goals of fundraising, research, and resources. The event itself was co-hosted by Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow, with Katie Couric and Pierce Brosnan among celebrities who shared moving personal stories during the telecast.