by Michael dEstries
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bpitt.jpgThe NY Times is running a wonderful in-depth article on celebrity activism — with everything from Natalie Portman’s involvement with Finca to George Clooney’s latest role as an “UN Ambassador of Peace” under the microscope. If you’re looking for some interesting history on philanthropy in Hollywood, I can’t think of a better way to catch up. Particularly intriguing are the back stories of how some of today’s largest charity efforts came to be. Some started under the simplest of circumstances. Take for instance a dinner party at Brad Pitt’s home in 2004. From the article,

“In 2004, Brad Pitt invited Bono to his home to address a group that included Tom Hanks, Sean Penn, Julia Roberts, Justin Timberlake and the architect Frank Gehry. Bono offered a potent magic: you could write a kind of song, or make a kind of movie, that would save children in Africa. And there was Africa itself — the real thing, the continent of suffering and want, as against the glittering bubble of wealth and fame in which celebrities live. In 2005, Bono enlisted Hollywood’s leading figures in an advertising campaign to promote increases in development assistance for Africa.”

Those are some pretty powerful dinner parties. And then there’s the moment when George Clooney was asked to butter up first lady, Laura Bush, to help with aid in Africa. Clooney was overheard saying, “I just don’t feel it’s right for me to meet the first lady. I’ve been very critical of her husband in public; I think there’s something unmanly about meeting with his wife first.”

Check out the rest of the article here.

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • Karen

    That dinner party in 2004 was hosted by both Brad and his wife, Jennifer Aniston. How come you most conveniently did not include Jen?

  • michael

    Because the article didn’t mention it.

    Who cares? Why does everyone think there’s this giant media conspiracy against Jennifer Aniston?

  • jenn

    It’s true that she is a celebrity and she co-hosted it. Maybe you didn’t realize she lived there and probably had a big part in planning the whole thing…or maybe you are part of the big conspiracy. ^___^