As of April 26 ‘Idol Gives Back’ has raised over 60 million and counting for Charity Projects Entertainment Fund. (CPEF) In the United States, CPEF has selected Save the Children, America’s Second Harvest – The Nation’s Food Bank Network, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Children’s Health Fund. In Africa, funds will be dedicated to The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, Malaria No More, Nothing But Nets, Save the Children and The U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Not bad at all, considering that in 1985 the GLOBAL total for Live Aid was 30 million pounds. In 2006 the Global Fund received US$ 500 million over five years from the Bill & Melinda Gates foundation (With 40 million dollars more, IDOL and the American public can achieve Gates super – philanthropist status)
I was one of those people inwardly cringing every time an excerpt of miserable Africa kids and families came on the screen. The image of Ryan Seacrest giving bananas to an (starving) African woman (or was it a child) is seared into my retinas.
I imagine every single one of my non-profit colleagues gasping in horror at the insensitivity and absurdity of the footage chosen for the viewing American audience. But I find myself thinking…. this raised 60 million very much needed dollars. Dollars that are NOT coming out of the US government as it should do.
Does the means justify the ends? As I ride the subway on the way to work…I see numerous Darfur, AIDS/HIV psa’s. Suddenly it seems msm (main stream media) has become aware of the rest of the world and its problems. MTV is launching a pro-social site aimed at American youth. Nickelback’s If Everyone Cared was viewed on YouTube 922,497 times and has been on the charts for 63 weeks . All digital sales for the song donated to Amnesty International the International Children’s Awareness Canada. (They are Canadian after all) Let’s look at the movies in the past year (Blood Diamond, Last King of Scotland, Syriana, The Constant Gardner). Bono and Bob Geldof have apparently passed on the activist torch to a host of new celebs all waving flags for all kinds of causes and issues in the US and more importantly abroad.
Do people even know where Darfur is? (And for that matter, why are we all Africans?) Does it matter when 10$ CAN SAVE A LIFE? Its all so easy, pick up the phone and call (or text). Hell, buying a song (or a phone) nowadays can save a life. So why should I complain? I think that perhaps all this is in part a changing of the consciousness of America. It’s a start and perhaps people will actually take the time to read up on exactly what it is they are contributing to and WHY 10$ does make a difference.
I’d like to think that the new ‘US Citizen 2.0’ generation sees beyond the US borders and perhaps will take more interest in what’s happening around the world and even come to the realization that they have a stake in the present and future of humanity. Perhaps it will not be the United Nations but the MySpaces, MTV and Idol that will make the dream of a global community a reality.
That said: Take some time to read about the issues on One.org