Posts Tagged ‘Matt Damon’

Celebrities Gone Good

It’s that time of year when every form of publication and broadcast is doing round up pieces…the best of…the top ten…of the year gone by, or predictions for the year beginning. has, on their Celebs Gone Good pages, an article that points up the charitable work of the famous among us—it’s a list I love. It is the Top 20 celebrities and their charitable work throughout 2010. The usual suspects are here: Ellen (in addition to her commitment to ending hunger, shining a spotlight on bullying and the amazing work of The Trevor Project), Oprah ($40 million to charities), Matt Damon (, Alicia Keys (Keep a Child Alive)…and a few that really stepped up, perhaps for the first time, in the past year—Lady Gaga (Hands Up for Marriage Equality), Justin Bieber (Pencils of Promise), Sophia Bush (advocacy and awareness of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster), Nick Jonas (Change for the Children Foundation and his tireless work for diabetes treatment and awareness)…

And you! Celebrate the great work you did in 2010, and plan to ramp it up even more in 2011–our commitments to the world grow because we grow…and we grow because of our commitments.

George Clooney Challenges You, Me, and Hollywood

Did you watch the Emmys? I missed them, sitting in a car on the way home from the airport, but I have always had a l0ve/hate relationship with awards shows. Hate the endless nature of the shows with brainless filler and even more brainless skits and poorly shot musical numbers. I do, however, kinda love the gathering of folks in an industry to which we tend to feel more connected than most. We feel like we know celebrities more than we actually do since we’ve seen them in our living rooms or blown up to 40 feet tall during intimate and vulnerable moments. Flip the coin again and I kinda hate rambling speeches and music playing people off before they’ve even begun to be gracious.

I was pretty darn pleased with George Clooney‘s speech at Sunday’s awards, that I just watched online this morning. When accepting the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, the always inspiring Clooney (who created so much of our awareness–still too low–of the genocide in Darfur, also created Not On Our Watch with Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, and Jerry Weintraub, and jumped in with his fame muscle power to initiate America: A Tribute to Heroes in the wake of 9/11, Tsunami Aid: A Concert of Hope in 2005, A Shelter From the Storm: A Concert for the Gulf Coast following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and most recently, the Hope For Haiti Now telethon.

His speech was brief, irreverent, and inspiring…like the man. “It’s important to remember how much good can get done because we live in such strange times where bad behaviors suck up all the attention in the press and the people who really need the spotlight, the Haitians, the Sudanese, the people in the Gulf Coast… Pakistan, they can’t get any [press].

When the disaster happens, everybody wants to help, everybody in this room wants to help, everybody at home wants to help. The hard part is seven months later, five years later, when we’re on to a new story…honestly, we fail at that, most of the time. That’s the facts.

I fail at that.

So here’s hoping that some very bright person right here in the room or at home watching can help find a way to keep the spotlight burning on these heartbreaking situations that continue to be heartbreaking long after the cameras go away. That would be an impressive accomplishment. Thank you.”

Ben Affleck-Eastern Congo Initiative

I’ve just returned home from Boston–a city in which I’d never spent any time, and would genuinely like to spend more time there to get to know it better. Because of Good Will Hunting, Boston always puts me in mind of Matt Damon and Ben Affleck–they were so young then, and now are such leaders in philanthropic causes. Damon is, of course, the crown prince of clean water charitable work with his particularly present this week, during World Water Week.

Also this week, on March 22, Affleck has launched the Eastern Congo Initiative, “the first U.S. based advocacy and grant-making initiative wholly focused on working with and for the people of eastern Congo.”

ECI is working to create economic and social development projects that benefit the communities of the region, focusing specifically on: sexual violence victim support; assimilating child soldiers back into their communities; community-level peace programs; increasing access to health care and education; and promoting economic opportunity.

Returning from the Congo, Ben said, “The situation in eastern Congo has been neglected for far too long — it is one of the worst humanitarian tragedies in the world. I brought together this unique collection of partners in order to bring their experience in humanitarian relief and sustainable development to bear as we focus like never before on local solutions to challenges in this region. Right now, the attention paid to this crisis doesn’t match the needs of those affected by it. We will raise that attention level, and work with the extraordinary Congolese people who are making a positive difference in their own communities.”

Lend your help and voice:

Matt Damon is All Wet

RTS_imageI’ve had this DVD for a while and have been meaning to watch it, but didn’t get to it until today on the airplane. Running the Sahara is a terrific documentary, produced and narrated by Matt Damon, about three friends who run, without a day off, for 111 days across the entire Sahara Desert, covering the equivalent of more than a marathon, sometimes MUCH more than a marathon’s distance, each day. Crossing the continent of Africa on foot is a huge undertaking and takes a huge toll. It is a great film filled with outstanding imagery and an inspiring tone about believing you can do what ought to be impossible. I really recommend it.

The three runners (not all elite athletes, by the way) then created, a clean water initiative, also co-sponsored by Matt Damon (he’s the water guy), to create global awareness of the water crisis in Africa and practical support for projects getting clean water to change lives and health for thousands up0n thousands.

Damon’s aqua-efforts are widespread. Here is a video from the One Foundation where he thanks One Members (you are one of them, aren’t you? Click the link above and Look into it) while he is in India working on projects, with your support, that will bring water to millions of people.

We think we know drought…and we surely do in many places where we live and work, but few of us ever have, nor even know someone who has died from dehydration—yet it happens all the time.

You can help water, quite literally, save lives.