August 31, 2012 § Leave a comment
I picked up a Conde Nast Traveller magazine on a public table today, and read into a curious article. They were highlighting people they saw as “Visionaries in 2012.” One of these persons was actress and fashion model (there were a few of those on this list) Olivia Wilde, who has raised money to build the ‘first’ free high school in Haiti (I haven’t verified if this is truly the first). Now, I’m quite happy that a number of children in Haiti will have a high school to attend, which was designed and built by a completely Haitian team, but I couldn’t refrain from feeling awkward about this (quote taken from the website):
“Classrooms [at the high school] carry name plates: Russell Crowe, Daniel Craig, Barbra Streisand, Sean Parker, Penélope Cruz—all of whom made enormous pledges of financial support [note: the print magazine specified “$70,000 a year, usually for seven years”]. Wilde hopes to spark young activists. “I’m really excited about the next generation,” she says. “Philanthropy is no longer just for the rich.”
After reading this, I had to question:
Why do we need the nameplates again?
And how do celebrities giving 70 times the Haitian PPP (GDP per capita) inspire the non-rich to be philanthropic?
(And, as a side note, why the silent film of model shots?).
I’m not a complete hater when it comes to celebrity activism and giving. I don’t pay much attention to it, but there are obviously some celebrities who have joined a cause with a sense of awareness, propriety and needful humility toward those more seasoned in their fields of interest. I’ll refrain from judgment on Olivia Wilde (who I, admittedly, had not heard of before this article)….but I certainly don’t think it was a shining moment, to say the least.