Matthew McConaughey, Ashton Kutcher Help Encourage Volunteerism
First Published: October 8, 2009 6:44 PM EDT Credit: Getty Images
NEW YORK, N.Y. -- Actors and executives representing the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) joined New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and 15 mayors from around the country, numerous celebrities, and key service groups to launch two new initiatives aimed at fostering a new era of volunteerism: EIF’s I PARTICIPATE and the mayors’ Cities of Service coalition.
EIF is mobilizing the entire entertainment community around the ground-breaking, multi-year I PARTICIPATE, which will promote a new way of thinking about service and seek to persuade millions more Americans to volunteer regularly.
To jumpstart the campaign, Entertainment Industry President and CEO Lisa Paulsen, Tyler Perry and Ashton Kutcher announced its 2009 centerpiece: a week-long television event running from October 19-25. Matthew McConaughey recently filmed a PSA for the initiative. Additionally, all four major broadcast networks will participate: ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox.
“Most people know that volunteering can have an enormous, positive impact on their communities, but they often don’t realize how much volunteering benefits the person who does it,” said Lisa Paulsen, president and CEO of EIF. “We’re trying to broaden the collective national conversation about service; volunteering is rewarding, but it’s also energizing and fun. It can even be a great way to meet people.”
“We think hearing that from the cast members and characters on shows like Mercy, American Idol, Private Practice, Ugly Betty and The Good Wife will help millions of viewers consider volunteerism,” said Tony Award Winner Bernadette Peters. “I think it’s important to help people and causes that need our help. The I Participate campaign will ultimately involve all segments of the entertainment community including film studios, the recording industry, Broadway and others.”
“These two efforts complement each other superbly,” said Paulsen. “Through I PARTICIPATE, the entertainment community will generate new enthusiasm about volunteering, and when people look for ways to do that in their own communities, the Cities of Service coalition will provide them.”
Demonstrating the power of social media activism, Ashton Kutcher joined Mayor Bloomberg and those gathered at Times Square, sending a message to his 3.5 million Twitter followers, urging them to volunteer on September 11th a way to honor the memory of the victims of the terrorist attacks.
A giant screen in the Square projected Kutcher’s request, “2Day, I activate my citizenship by participating. I Participate! Do u? www.iparticipate.org”, and some of the instantaneous replies to it as they began to pour in.
The rate at which Americans volunteer regularly has not increased in 40 years and has generally remained around 26%, according to a survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nearly half of all people who currently volunteer started because they were asked by someone they know.
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