It’s no secret that celebrities use their fame to help causes they hold dear. They allow themselves to be in commercials or host contests to raise money by auctioning off clothes or scripts or souvenirs from set. And this is good. It’s great even. A celebrity who doesn’t just think about themselves is the kind of person who might actually be worthy of all that fame and adoration. Red Nose Day in the UK is a great example of a group of celebrities and networks coming together for a larger cause.
Recently, I’ve noticed a trend in celebrities organizing their own fundraisers to get money and attention on a problem that is important to them, and they’re using T-shirts. The celebrities who give back to charity are too numerous to mention, but I first noticed this trend with Stephen Amell (“Arrow”) last September.
Amell went to Facebook and asked his followers to submit an idea for a t-shirt that he could use to start a campaign to raise money to support “F**k Cancer.” His mother battled and beat cancer so Amell wanted to give back. On F**k Cancer’s site, you can see his final design which was was printed on t-shirts, hoodies, tank tops, and sweatshirts. Amell used Represent.com, a new site which allows celebrities to crowdfund merchandise.
The original campaign raised about $974,000, so Amell relaunched it to in an effort to get to a million. It probably helped that along with a T-shirt random buyers of the shirts received a Skype one-on-one with Amell himself and that 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale of Stephen Amell’s shirt on Represent go to the charity.
What’s genius about this idea? Well, it’s just a t-shirt. The most expensive option, the hoodie, was still only $35. If you are anything like me you want to give back, but sometimes you feel like the poorest person in the world after your rent, insurance, and student loans are paid. You know you will buy a t-shirt sometime soon or go out to eat. This kind of campaign allows you to donate and get to say you were a part of something special without breaking your bank.
Since Amell’s first campaign he has launched two more. His “sincerously” campaign benefits two charities: Stand for the Silent, an anti-bullying advocacy group, and Paws & Stripes, a non-profit that partners military veterans with service dogs. He also created the “Amell vs. Stardust” shirt to commemorate his participation in WWE’s Summerslam, which went to Emily’s House, a hospice for children.
Amell isn’t the only star to start a t-shirt campaign. Jared Padelecki and Jensen Ackles’ (“Supernatural”) “SPN Family,” “Always Keep Fighting,” and “Moose and Squirrel” campaigns benefited To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA). There is a whole wiki dedicated to following the cast’s various T-shirt campaigns (of which there are many).
Nathan Fillion (“Castle” & “Firefly“) recently launched a campaign to benefit KUSEWERA whose mission is to empower and educate children in impoverished countries through active and creative play. Fillion also encourages his fans and follower to donate to Charity Water every year on his birthday.
Five days ago, Beyonce relaunched a T-shirt campaign called #BeyGood. The special relaunch went to aid Haiti in honor of World Humanitarian Day. The limited edition #BeyGood t-shirt originally launched in 2013 with profits going to Saint Damien Pediatric Hospital in Haiti. Now, after another humanitarian trip to the Haitian hospital in May, Beyonce re-released the design for a second campaign.
Lena Dunham lent her name and her design skills to Planned Parenthood to design a limited run shirt for PP. According to the website, the shirt was designed in support of Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s 2014 Women are Watching campaign. The Action Fund is the electoral and political arm of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Gabrielle Union, Scarlett Johansson, and Natasha Lyonne also designed their own shirts for this campaign. You can still buy these shirts online now.
Anytime a celebrity promotes a cause is important, and anytime we can get involved and help is fantastic. So if you haven’t already, keep an eye out for these celebrities while they launch new campaigns. For other celebrities—well, we found a way you can give back.
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