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Brooklyn Nine-Nine Creators, Cast Donate to Protester Bail Funds

During the protests over police brutality in the United States after the death on video of George Floyd, the police arrested over 10,000 protesters across the country in just the first two weeks, and they haven’t stopped. Some of the arrests for looting and violence, but others have been plainly unjust, such as the arrest of Evan Hreha, who was arrested for “unlawfully discharging a laser” by a mob of cops while walking his dog a week after his footage of a 7-year-old child screaming in pain after police pepper sprayed him directly in the face went viral.

Hreha was released without bail after 43 hours, but many have not been so lucky. A variety of charities have been launched to provide bail funds for the hundreds of protesters who are still awaiting charges or trial. For many, waiting in a cell is life-ruining. Every hour they remain inside, they risk losing a job, custody of their children, or their apartment, and they’re made less able to participate in their own defense.

The cast of “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” a comedy show which satirizes the police and has an excellent track record of not shrinking away from the either issues of police corruption or the risks they face, has been vocally on the side of the protesters since this began.

“The cast and showrunner of ‘Brooklyn 99’ condemn the murder of George Floyd and support the many people who are protesting police brutality nationally,” tweeted Dan Goor, the show’s co-creator. “Together we have made a $100,000 donation to The National Bail Fund Network. We encourage you to look up your local bail fund: the National Bail Fund Network is an organization that can lead you to them. #blacklivesmatter.”

Stephanie Beatriz, one of the show’s lead actors, also made a personal donation of $11,000 to support bail funds, and said she regards it as her moral responsibility.

“I’m an actor who plays a detective on tv,” Beatriz tweeted. “If you currently play a cop? If you make tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars a year in residuals from playing a cop? I’ll let you do the math.”

The Brooklyn Nine-Nine donations is just the latest in a series of large donations to Black Lives Matter and related causes. K-pop group BTS and its fans donated millions, and Bank of America pledged $1 billion to address racial inequality.

Photo: A June 2020 Black Lives Matter protest in Washington, D.C.

Credit: Kalen Martin-Gross / Shutterstock.com

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News

Hollywood Isn’t Donating Like It Used To

Los Angeles, despite being home to numerous very wealthy, sometimes generous people, is in a bit of a charity slump. There are a lot of reasons for why that is, but chief among them is that celebrity donors aren’t donating as much as they did before 2008. A lot of charities suffered during the financial crisis, and following that, people seem to be more interested in seeing how their donation is spent.

That’s reasonable, and something that is common for educated donors. But there are other issues as well, which may not be as unique to L.A. There are currently 35,000 501(c)3s. That’s 12% more than there were a decade ago. As a result, there is a lot of overlap, with multiple charities working towards the same goal. And while that may sound like a good thing, it actually isn’t. New charities are hard to start and maintain, and at scale are more expensive than large, established charities. But people keep starting new charities, when what they could be doing is donating that money to established organizations, or establishing funds to raise money for others.

Part of the problem with having so many charities is that it’s hard to tell which are worth supporting, which is part of the reason they tend to not survive for very long. It takes time to gain the trust and support of donors, which can be difficult with that many causes and charities to choose between. A streamlined non-profit scene would be ideal, but it’s not really fair to ask a bunch of charities to close up shop, nor is it really all that practical. It is safe to say that L.A. doesn’t need any more charities, it just needs to focus on what it has, and get people motivated to invest in those organizations.

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Organizations Profiles

Audrey Hepburn and UNICEF

Audrey Hepburn Wax Figure
Audrey Hepburn Wax Figure
Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com

Audrey Hepburn is one of the most adored Hollywood icons of all time. While many know her for roles in dozens of beloved American films, Hepburn was as much of a passionate humanitarian as an actress throughout her adult life.

Hepburn has said, “I feel so strongly that’s where it all starts, with kindness. What a different world this could be if everyone lived by that.” This principle influenced how she lived her life, and is what led her to pursue remarkable humanitarian work. One of her most notable humanitarian roles was with UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund. This organization works in more than 190 countries to save and better children’s lives by providing basic necessities such as medicines and immunizations, clean water and sanitation, nutrition education, and emergency relief. The organization’s ultimate goal is to “achieve a day when zero children die from preventable causes,” and to provide safety for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Hepburn took direct part in these efforts while serving as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, a position she was appointed to in 1988. According to UNICEF, the goal of the Goodwill Ambassador program is to allow celebrities who have shown a dedicated interest in the cause use their fame to draw attention to important issues. When Hepburn became a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador she informed international media outlets, celebrities, governments and the general public of the atrocities she saw while visiting underdeveloped countries where children were in danger due to risk of starvation, violence, and unsanitary living conditions.

Through her passionate work with UNICEF she not only raised public awareness about issues targeting underdeveloped parts of the world, but also experienced delivering water, food, and medicine to children first hand. Her time spent in Africa, Turkey, South America, and elsewhere irrevocably changed Hepburn, and ignited a desire to devote the rest of her life to helping children. Hepburn is prime example of a person who has used their celebrity to promote important causes in hopes of creating change and bettering the lives of others.

Even years after her death, Hepburn has left a legacy that inspires others to do good in the world, and fight for others’ basic human rights. She was a role model, a kindhearted activist, and a true philanthropist.

To learn more about Audrey Hepburn’s relationship with UNICEF, and the organization’s continual work to better the lives of children around the world, visit UNICEF’s official website.