Categories
Donation The Power of Giving

Angelina Jolie Donates to Kids’ Lemonade Stand Raising Money for Displaced Yemenis

Ayaan Moosa and Mikaeel Ishaaq, two best friends in London, are both six years old. Over the summer, their homes were filled with news of Yemen, and the latest developments of the civil war that has been raging there since 2014. While filtering the news of tens of thousands dead, their parents still made sure they understood at least some of the scope of what the people there are going through, with millions displaced into camps, having lost their homes to airstrikes.

“They have nothing, like, the things you need to survive. They have no water, food, oil. And we have all of those things and that’s why we help them,” said Moosa in a phone interview with NBC News.

To help educate their sons about charity, the two families collaborated on a lemonade stand in August. Together, the two little boys sold fresh-squeezed lemonade for £2 a glass to people passing by their east London home, with a big sign announcing that all proceeds would go to Yemen.

Then one day, a letter came in the mail, with a check.

“Thank you,” the letter read, “for what you and your friends are doing to help children in Yemen. I’m sorry I’m not able to buy a lemonade from you, but I’d still like to make a donation to your stand.”

The letter was signed by Angelina Jolie. The family has not said how large her donation was, except to call it ‘substantial.’ The boys, who are after all only six, didn’t know who the actress is, but their parents did.

Since 2012, Jolie has been appointed by the U.N. as a Special Envoy to displaced populations, using her platform and often her physical presence to raise awareness of refugee situations around the world, including Yemen.

“To get the recognition of somebody who genuinely cares, that really meant a lot to us,” said Shakil Moosa, Ayaan Moosa’s father.

Source: NBC News

Editorial credit: Denis Makarenko / Shutterstock.com

Categories
Advice

The Double-Edged Sword of a Celebrity Spokesperson

A celebrity spokesperson can be a huge boon for a nonprofit organization, but on the other hand, they can also be a huge roadblock. Take Tom Hiddleston, for example. Hiddleston recently earned the wrath of the Internet for expressing pride that a show he worked on was appreciated by medics from Doctors Without Borders.

Twitter users accused the actor of being a “white savior” because he was trying to bring attention to humanitarian efforts in the South Sudan. The whole debacle was taken out of context and blown way out of proportion. But that’s not the point.

Because he now has some negative press about him, so does the United Nations Children’s Fund (the nonprofit organization that he was serving as spokesman for). It goes to show that high-profile allies can and will be criticized for everything they do, and any affiliated organizations will have to suffer those consequences as well.

Angelina Jolie is another good example. She has done a great deal of good work with the United Nations since 2001. However, if social media worked then like it does now, that career would have been cut short because at some point she probably would have said or done something that the Internet could jump all over.

Social media is a powerful tool, but it’s far too often used to bully people, famous or otherwise. When a nonprofit teams up with a celebrity, they have to carefully consider what kinds of social media fallout they might have to face.

While there are some celebrities who are obviously not worth working with, there are others who would make for excellent spokespeople. The downside is that it’s impossible to predict the future and what could happen down the line at an awards show or red carpet event.

In considering whether or not to partner up with a celebrity, it’s important for nonprofits to have an eye on social media, which is where any little mistake is going develop into a full-blown scandal. The cult of celebrity status is much more fragile now that news spreads like wildfire. It’s important to think ahead, and be ready for “damage control” should something go wrong.

Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore at Flickr Creative Commons. 

Categories
Profiles

Angelina Jolie: American Actress, Director, and Humanitarian

Angelina Jolie: American Actress, Director, and Humanitarian
s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

Angelina Jolie is a name familiar to most people in the United States. An award-winning actress, director, screenwriter, and author, Jolie has been in the public limelight after her first Hollywood film, Hackers, was released in 1995. Her subsequent roles in George Wallace and Gia won her serious recognition in the acting world. Known for being just the opposite of a “Hollywood darling,” Jolie possesses a dark elegance reminiscent of her youth, when she struggled with depression and experimented with drugs.

While filming Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in Cambodia in 2001, Jolie for the first time encountered a war-torn country in the midst of a humanitarian crisis. She stated that this experience opened her eyes to the world, and since then she has become known as one of the biggest philanthropists in Hollywood, visiting more than 30 countries on field missions.

To read more about Angelina Jolie’s philanthropic and humanitarian work, check out her profile here.

Categories
Organizations Profiles Resources

Malala Fund Receives First Donation

Malala Yousafzai
IMG: via The Malala Fund

Malala Yousafzai is fifteen years old. Last year, the Taliban, who sought to silence her from speaking up for Pakistani women’s education rights, shot her in the head. They shot to kill, but Malala was stronger than they had reckoned—and she survived.

“Here’s what they accomplished,” said Angelina Jolie, who spoke at the recent Women in the World Summit in New York City. “They shot her point-blank range in the head—and made her stronger. The brutal attempt to silence her voice made it stronger.”

Malala, who was moved to England for recovery after she was shot, now attends school in Birmingham. But she hasn’t forgotten what it was like when she was in Pakistan. She formed Malala fund, an educational charity designed to help more women and girls become empowered and educated in Pakistan and around the world.

On Thursday, April 4th, Malala announced the first donation to the fund—$45,000. “Today I am going to announce the happiest moment of my life, and that is the first grant of Malala Fund,” Malala said in a recorded video announcement that played at the Women in the World Summit. “I invite all of you to support Malala Fund and let us turn the education of 40 girls into 40 million girls.”

The video was presented by Angelina Jolie, who pledged to give an additional $200,000 to the charity. The first grant will be given to a group in Malala’s homeland, the Swat Valley in Pakistan. It will help to educate forty girls between the ages of five and twelve who would otherwise be forced into domestic labor. By giving the girls a safe place to study as well as providing financial support to their families, Malala Fund paves the way for women’s education and empowerment in Pakistan. .