Actors Who Worked With Woody Allen Donate Salaries to Anti-Abuse Charities

Three young actors who worked with Woody Allen have chosen to donate their salaries to anti-abuse charities.

Rebecca Hall, Timothée Chalamet, and Griffen Newman have put their money where their mouths are. Photo: Shutterstock

In this sweeping wave of seeing pundits and celebrities laid low by abuse victims coming forward to report their crimes, it seems a little strange that Woody Allen—who’s been accused of sexual assault by Dylan Farrow, his adopted daughter, for more than 20 years—was just awarded a multi-million dollar contract with Amazon. (That decision was made by an Amazon exec who has, since then, been suspended himself over misconduct allegations).

Allen’s latest movie, Wonder Wheel, was released December 1, 2017. His next one, A Rainy Day in New York, is in production now, and the internet has been loudly wondering just who would choose to work with Allen in this climate.

Rebecca Hall, Timothée Chalamet, and Griffen Newman are three young actors who made that choice, and they’ve all publicly expressed wishing they hadn’t. But they’ve done more than just give lip service to their regrets; all three have put their money where their mouths are. Rather than profit from their association with Allen, they’ll be donating all of their pay from their roles to anti-abuse charities.

Hall, who plays a small part in Rainy Day but nearly won a Golden Globe for her role in Allen’s 2008 film Vicky Christina Barcelona, will be donating all of her Rainy Day wages to Time’s Up, a legal fund supporting victims of workplace harassment. On her Instagram, she apologized for siding with Allen and contributing to the culture of ignoring victims.

Castmate Timothée Chalamet will be supporting his entire salary to Time’s Up, RAINN, and the LGBT Center in New York City. He doesn’t “want to profit on [his] work in the film.”

First to speak up, actor Griffin Newman will also be donating his entire salary to RAINN.

Farrow was seven years old when the alleged sexual assault happened. Allen has never been tried, because a state’s attorney in Connecticut declined to press charges, despite saying publicly that he had “probable cause” to prosecute, in order to spare “a child victim” from a trial. A judge found Allen an unfit custodian.

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To Celebrate New Series, NBC Donates Grants to High School Drama Programs

NBC is making $10,000 grants to 50 U.S. high schools to celebrate the premiere of a new program, "Rise."

NBC is making $10,000 grants to 50 U.S. high schools to celebrate the premiere of a new program, “Rise.” Photo: Shutterstock

NBC’s new series Rise, based on a true story, is about a high school drama teacher tackling the prejudices and systems of a small, poor town. It’s about the cultural ecosystems of small towns, and how to make change happen within them. It’s not perfect—the writer consciously made the main character straight, despite the actual teacher it’s based on being openly gay—but judgment will have to wait until it actually comes out in February.

In honor of the show’s debut, NBC has announced that they will be donating $10,000 to each of 50 high schools as grants to benefit their theater programs. They’ve named their grant initiative R.I.S.E. America for Recognizing and Inspiring Student Expression. Partnering with the Educational Theatre Foundation to administrate the process, they began taking applications from schools on January 10. Eligible high schools should apply at NBC.com/Rise before the closing date of February 6. Winners will be announced in March.

“This program is incredibly personal to me as someone whose own life was changed by a high school theatre program,” said Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment to Variety Magazine. “I wholeheartedly support the work of the ETF and have seen the effect of their initiatives on thousands of students. I’m proud that Rise will be more than just an uplifting show about a high school drama program, but, through this initiative, will also have an impact on the lives of real students in 50 high schools.”

The ETF is a national nonprofit to honor student achievement in theatre and enrich their theatre education experience.

Winning schools can use the grant money for their drama department at their discretion, including things like master classes, production expenses, and student travel. Drama is an expensive department in many high schools, sees few returns, and has less popular support than sports or IT.

African Wildlife Foundation Donates Land to Help Rare Mountain Gorillas

The African Wildlife Foundation has donated land to help continue the restoration of the population of rare mountain gorillas.

A donation of land will help to save the rare mountain gorilla. Photo by Porco Rosso on Unsplash

On Wednesday, January 10, a wildlife conservation organization donated nearly thirty hectares of land to Rwanda’s largest national park to help the country grow their habitat for mountain gorillas. It seems a small donation, against the 16,000 hectares already invested in Volcanoes National Park, but the new territory is an established home to some of the rare gorillas, and the park has been shrinking, not growing, in its 93 years of existence. According to the Rwandan Development Board, it is only 46 percent of its original acreage.

African Wildlife Foundation, the organization who donated the land, bought it last year from local developers with this donation in mind. They handed it over on Wednesday morning in the town of Kinigi, in the foothills of the volcano mountains in northern Rwanda. The ceremony attracted thousands of attendees, including Benjamin Mkapa, the former President of nearby Tanzania.

There are fewer than 900 mountain gorillas known to be left today, with a little more than 60 percent of those in the Rwandan borders. That represents a significant rise in their population in recent years, which the Rwandan Development Board attributes to “stringent conservation measures.”

“Rwanda has taken great steps in gorilla conservation. Its most notable gorilla naming event has led to an increase in the number of gorillas hence becoming a major tourism attraction to the country,” said African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya at the event.

“AWF recognizes that if mountain gorillas are going to survive in the long term, this park must be strategically protected, and we are committed to supporting Rwanda in conserving these endangered species,” Sebunya also said, adding that Rwanda is proof that conservation and development do not have to be mutually exclusive.

Gorilla tourism is a major part of Rwanda’s development, making the crux of their tourism industry. Nearly 30,000 people a year visit the Volcanoes National Park alone just to see them, and gorilla tourism has produced over 100 million USD in Rwanda in the last nine years.

Fundraiser for Bronx Apartment Fire Victims Is Growing Slowly but Steadily

 

A group of locals is raising funds for the victims of the December 28 fire in a Bronx apartment building that took the lives of 12 people.The Bronx apartment fire on December 28, 2017, that killed twelve people was the deadliest fire since 1990, more than twenty-five years ago. The five-story blaze took 170 firemen all night to douse, according to authorities. One of the deceased was less than a year old. The fire was started by a 3-year-old playing with a stove on the first floor.

In the wake of this, a team of Bronx locals put together a GoFundMe to support the families of the victims, the rest of the fourteen displaced households who can’t yet return to the 25-unit building, and the four people still in critical care.

The fundraiser, earmarked for covering funeral and medical expenses but with hopes for a larger scope, began on December 29 with a goal of $120,000. As of January 3, it hadn’t quite reached 10 percent of that. Funeral expenses in New York City are high, averaging above $8,000, which doesn’t include the cost of a burial plot.

Actress Alyssa Milano, with roots from nearby Brooklyn, helped draw the national eye to the fundraiser on January 2 with her own donation and a tweet. “I donated. Will you?”

In their statement on the GoFundMe page, the fundraisers state that all money raised will be given to the victims and their families. They don’t say how the distribution will be determined, but the donations have been trickling steadily in. Most donors contribute between $25 and $50. So far, 243 people have contributed, and hopefully many more will.

Those raising funds include New York State Senator Gustavo Rivera, New York City Council member Ritchie Torres, Ischia Bravo of Community Board 7, and a handful of local business owners and entrepreneurs. Shanequa Charles, the voice of the group, also organized a candlelight vigil on January 1 and has been collecting material donations for the displaced survivors.

Photo by Daryan Shamkhali on Unsplash

Cruzin’ For Life Raises Big Bucks for Cancer Charities

Cruzin' for Life has donated $1 million and more to charities for cancer patients, their families, and cancer research.

Photo by joojoob27 / Shutterstock.com

Cruzin’ For Life is a fundraising organization which was created in 2004 in Santa Maria, California. Its founder, Clifford Labastida, put his passion for cars to work in raising funds for organizations which fight cancer. Raising money with car shows, benefit dinners, and silent auctions, the fundraising organization donated $15,000 after their first event, to the American Cancer Society.

It’s 2017 now, as we all know, and this year, Cruzin’ For Life has grown considerably. Labastida didn’t intend to continue the charity beyond its first event, but with his community of volunteers and board members, he’s never found a reason to stop. And his newest milestone is yet another reason to continue.

This year, with a $150,000 check written to Marian Cancer Care, Cruzin’ For Life reaches a round $1 million donated to programs under the umbrella of Mission Hope Cancer Center.

“It was exciting,” said Kara Cole, a board member for Cruzin’ For Life. “It was something we looked forward to all year. It was in the back of our minds the entire year and that was the motivation to keep us going, so to see it happen was huge for us.”

They also donated another $26,000 to the American Cancer Society and Make-A-Wish Foundation. Cruzin’s total sum of donations over the last 14 years currently exceeds $1.4 million.

These donations came from funds raised during Cruzin’ For Life’s September fundraising events, which encompassed a whole weekend, peaking in a dinner and auction.

“When you come to these events, you’re not pulling teeth to get people to donate at these auctions,” said Dr. Robert Dichmann, medical director for Mission Hope. “The hands are flying up and people are coming there with the intent of having a good time and with the intent they’re going to donate and help the cause.”

Exciting and a good time. Both aren’t usually ways one describes fundraising for cancer. Best wishes for the future of Cruzin’ For Life.

Charitable Aid Coming to the Philippines After Tropical Storm Ravages Islands

The Philippines has been ravaged by a tropical storm, and aid is coming from home and abroad.

The Philippines, which are still struggling to rebuild after 2013’s Super Typhoon Haiyan, recently endured yet another blow. We’ve got some information about how you can help. Photo: Richard Whitcombe / Shutterstock.com

Tropical Depression Kai-Tak spent several days scraping itself over the eastern Philippines the weekend of Saturday, December 16. On the island of Biliran, heavy rains, flash flooding, and landslides have left at least 50 people dead or missing, according to officials there. Nearly 90,000 have been forced out of their homes, while rough seas and damaged bridges have made ferrying them to safer islands impossible. At least 15,000 vacationers are also stranded on the island. As of Wednesday, December 20, the island still has no power and limited water.

Rescue efforts are being hampered by the damaged infrastructure, in an area that was still recovering from the disastrous 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, which killed more than 5000 people. But while the Philippines and Biliran have low international visibility, some help is forthcoming. The Philippine Navy is set to bring a massive delivery of goods and services, but had not yet arrived as of Wednesday.

The Chinese embassy in Manila has donated over 5.1 million in Philippine Peso (P5.1 million is approximately equal to $101,000 US) from the Red Cross Society of China to the Philippine Red Cross, to be used to strengthen disaster relief efforts. Counselor Sun Yi, the Chinese representative in Manila, has said that more will be coming. China has a history of providing aid to thee Philippines in times of disaster.

For those who would like to render aid themselves, the government of the Philippines has set up a channel through the Department of Social Welfare and Development. Details are published in the Philstar here. Affected areas, which include the province of Biliran and the townships of Kananga, Carigara, Tanauan, Ormoc, and Tacloban in the neighboring province of Leyte have been declared to be in a state of calamity, which freezes the prices of fuel and basics and gives them access to emergency funds.

8-Year-Old Boy Gathers Christmas Presents for Puerto Rican Children

Jayden Perez is eight years old, a third-grader in New Jersey who has Puerto Rican branches on both sides of his family tree. Just after Thanksgiving, when Christmas is on everyone’s mind, he came to his mother with a wish to give to those in need in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

“He came to me and he was concerned that it’s Christmas and they’re not going to have toys,” said his mother, Ana Rosado, to HuffPost. “It started out with him telling me he wanted to donate his toys to the children in Puerto Rico.”

Since his own stock of toys didn’t seem like enough, the boy decided to ask the other people in his football team to help him out, and then expanded his efforts with an emotional video posted to Facebook.

In the video, he stands in front of a stack of toys already donated, holding a cardboard sign he made and illustrated himself.

Kids lost a lot of their toys, and now they don’t have any. So can you donate one toy, from the bottom of my heart and the bottom of your heart?”

Thousands in Puerto Rico are still homeless, with mismanagement and further flooding keeping restoration efforts at a near-standstill. Many children from Puerto Rico have been shipped north into the United States, since there’s no estimate as to when they will have schools open again. But plenty remain, unable to leave despite damaged homes and injured cities.

After the video and a toy drive brought in hundreds of donations, Rosado decided that merely mailing the toys off wouldn’t be enough. Jayden’s family will instead be flying to the island in January, spending four days on the island around Three King’s Day, a traditional gift-giving holiday in the Caribbean.

“I think it’s a great experience for Jayden to see what these kids have gone through and the smile that he’s going to bring to them when he gives them the toys,” said Rosado to the Huffington Post.

College Student’s Charity Fundraiser Goes Viral

College student Danni Messina's holiday fundraiser went viral, and now she's on the hook for $200,000 in donations.

Photo: Shutterstock

For college student Danni Messina, Thanksgiving this year was good. She went home to spend the holiday in the comfort of her family. But a conversation with her friend reminded her how many people didn’t have such a simple luxury.

“I was talking to my friend on Thanksgiving and he told me that he was spending his Thanksgiving in the hospital with his grandmother,” Danni told local news 1010 WINS in an interview. “From there, I thought about how it was such a reality for people to spend their holidays in the hospital, and how fortunate I was to not have to. I personally didn’t need anything this holiday season but so many other families do, so it was time for a change.”

She thought the change she was making would be small. She pledged a donation on her twitter, to go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“This time of year is about giving – this year, I am giving back to St. Jude & the families who are supported by their amazing services

“every favorite: $.25

“every retweet: $.50

“go give. go St. Jude!!”

Messina was planning on her friends and contacts sharing it amongst themselves, and planned to donate about $1,000 as a result, with that amount matched by her mom.

But the internet works in wild and mysterious ways. Her little tweet went viral. In just a few days, she had over 400,000 favorites. Honoring her pledge now would cost her over $200,000.

Knowing that to be outside her reach but not wanting to default on the promise, Messina began a GoFundMe page. As of this writing, it’s earned almost $95,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital, donated by more than 1,500 people.

While there’s been some backlash from people castigating Messina for ‘writing a check she can’t cash,’ with her original tweet, most of the conversation about her fundraising has been glowing, with people sharing pictures and stories of their encounters with St. Jude. Messina’s campaign is trending and growing, so hopefully, she’ll be able to reach that $200,000 with a little more help.

Why Charity Art Auctions Are Harmful for Artists

I’ve written articles before on creative ways to raise money for charity. What I haven’t discussed, however, is how some of those ways are unethical.

Art museums, for example, will often solicit artists to donate work that can later be auctioned off for the museum’s benefit. In theory, it sounds like a good idea. But in practice, it’s exploitative and puts artists under enormous pressure to create work that will “sell” rather than something created from the heart.

This is particularly damaging to college students, who are young, impressionable, and susceptible to being taken advantage of. The beauty of higher ed institutions like Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) is that they are incubators of creativity, where students are free from the pressure to sell their work and can instead focus on developing pieces that are imaginative and exploratory. And that’s the way it should be across the board.

But as it stands now, museums are encouraging artists to abandon their inner muse and instead develop works that have mainstream appeal. That goes against everything that art stands for: originality and authenticity.

And to make matters worse, artists who do decide to donate their work don’t even receive the proper acknowledgement. As sculptor Joel Shapiro points out, “The problem is that they recognize the individual who writes the check, not the individual who gives the work. You’re a go-between, a lure, a honey pot. You feel somewhat used.”

Talk about a slap in the face. And as if that’s not bad enough, philanthropic artists have to face yet another unfortunate reality: the only part of their donation that is tax deductible is the cost of the materials.

This problem reflects a much wider cultural phenomenon in which art as a whole is vastly undervalued. It’s regrettable that museum, of all places, are perpetuating this vicious cycle.

Man Creates Free ‘Vending Machine’ for Homeless

Huzaifah Khaled has created "vending machines" to donate basic supplies to homeless people.

“Rough sleepers,” or those without any kind of shelter, will be a priority when it comes to dispensing vending machine cards. Photo: Shutterstock

A young man named Huzaifah Khaled, in Nottingham, England couldn’t help but be struck by the increase in homelessness he saw in his hometown. Looking into their daily lives, he saw how difficult it was for many of them to get food, clothing, and other basics. Shelters and charities had limited resources and even more limited hours.

Being the sort of person who tends towards problem solving, Khaled came up with an economical solution to some of these matters: a vending machine for basic supplies. Through his charity, Action Hunger, the machine will be stocked with water, fresh fruit, sandwiches, socks, toiletries, and books. (Because man cannot survive on bread alone.) It will be placed somewhere accessible all hours, and it will be free to those in need.

Action Hunger will work with the Friary, another homeless-aid organization, to provide those who need anything with key cards. Anyone holding a key card can take three items a day from the dispenser. The cards will be traceable to prevent abuse.

The Friary will be prioritizing “rough sleepers,” those homeless who don’t have cars, a couch to surf, or anywhere to store personal possessions.

“Not everyone who visits us is a rough sleeper,” said Sam Crawford, CEO of Friary. “Some are homeless in other ways, such as those in temporary accommodation.”

Khaled has been working on his vision for a year, and he first vending machine will be installed downtown in Nottingham this December. He hopes to expand nationwide with his idea, and has been reaching out to charitable organizations across the U.S. and Europe.

“My ultimate hope for Action Hunger is for our idea to take root in cities all over the world and for the homeless to have a lifeline to rely on while government policies work towards ending homelessness for once and for all,” Khaled said.