Edward Norton
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Will the crowd please rise for Edward Norton?

by Georgia Van Cuylenburg

You may know him as the Hulk, Derek Vinyard in American History X or Smoochy the Rhino. But here is a secret about Ed Norton you may not know:

Edward Norton has a problem – a big problem. He is addicted to philanthropy. After years and years of obsessing over fundraising, boards of directors and gala events, he realized he needed to deal with his problem and he also needed his money, time and effort, and his rich friends’ money, time and effort to not be wasted on the old school model of charity where 50% goes to the cause and the other 50%… well, who really knows.

So he and his then girlfriend-now wife, Shauna Robertson (producer of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad) launched Crowdrise, an amazingly innovative for-profit website that uses crowdfunding to encourage smart fundraising and creates a crowd around your cause.

They joined with two of Shauna’s childhood friends and the four of them created a website that could make the most of their A-list rolodexes. They hit up their celebrity friends to start fundraising campaigns and promote the site to a wider community of users. The result is like an ‘always on Jerry Lewis telethon for the Twitter era.’

Today, Crowdrise, is full of ridiculous fun and unique fundraising campaigns – some made and backed by celebrities, some just made by an Average Joe with a cause. Since its 2010 launch, the site has hosted hundreds of thousands of campaigns and raised more than $150 million for nonprofits, with another $100 million anticipated by the year’s end. In the four short years Crowdrise has been in the philanthropic space, it has become one of the top options for online fundraising campaigns and, in my humble opinion, definitely the funnest. (If you have a spare 5 minutes, I recommend checking out the silly and wonderfully effective campaigns people are running.)

An example of some of the celebrities that have engaged Crowdrise to raise money for their causes are:

Kristen Bell – boosting funds for the human rights organization, Invisible Children, and the Art of Elysium.

Elizabeth Banks – supporting LA’s BEST (Better Educated Students for Tomorrow) After School Programs and Partners In Health.

Seth Rogen – promoting Kick Alzheimer’s In The Ass and The $10 To End (Malaria) Project.

crowdrise-hollywoodjournalIf you are interested in hearing Norton talk about Crowdrise and philanthropy, click here.

In case you were thinking – “well that’s nice he created a company with his wife and it’s helping raising millions of dollars for charity… but what else?” Here is what else:

Norton also serves on the Board of Trustees of the Enterprise Foundation, which works to move families up and out of poverty and transform low-income communities through the development of decent affordable housing and social service networks.

Norton is also on the Board of Friends of the High Line, an advocacy group that worked to convert an abandoned freight rail line into a unique and spectacular park. Running over two miles through Manhattan’s industrial West Side, the High Line is one of the largest additions of public space in the history of New York City.

Norton also ran the 2009 New York City Marathon with a team of Maasai warriors and celebrities in support of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust raising over $750,000, much of it donated by fans as a result of an innovative twitter giveaway campaign.

I should probably remind you that Edward Norton is a very successful, Academy Award nominated actor who doesn’t ‘need’ to be doing any of this incredible work that takes up a huge portion of his life. But the fact that he chooses to, and with such passion and determination, makes him a true Hollywood Soul Angel.

Georgia Van Cuylenburg

About Georgia Van Cuylenburg

Georgia is a comedian, writer and actress who started her production company to create work that makes people laugh and makes a difference. Through her entertainment and philanthropic work she is committed to sharing her personal trials to help others, and to having children around the world believe in their magic. Follow Georgia on Twitter @georgiavanc and YouTube

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