For all the ways in which Edward Norton continues to make the world a better place, please refer to our previous articles on Crowdrise (his social fundraising website), his support of Ecuador’s Yasuni nature reserve, his hot-off-the-press UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity appointment and his work as president of the US branch of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. The twice-nominated Oscar caliber performer has made a significant difference to the Maasai people of East Africa by raising funds that facilitate sustainable development, wildlife/eco-system preservation and the establishment of basic resources such as schools and medical facilities. Following Norton’s 3 hour 48 minute run in last year’s NYC Marathon, he and his fellow Maasai charity hoofers donated roughly $763,000 to the cause, and now his philanthropic vibe has rubbed off on another person of note in the entertainment industry.
Do you recall seeing the movie Once or listening to its Oscar-winner song, Falling Slowly? Both featured the musical stylings of Glen Hansard, an accomplished songwriter who toured with The Frames and now The Swell Season. Following a trip to Africa at the encouragement of Norton, Hansard was so inspired while living, singing and eating among the Maasai that he wanted to do something to help them. When he learned that they really needed reliable transportation (specifically a Landrover truck), which — due to lack of funds and very high taxes, was not a possibility for them – the Irish born performer took to the Crowdrise site with his “Maasia Villagers Need A Truck” announcement.
Between performing benefit concerts and appealing to the generosity of the public, he’s raised close to $50,000 of the total $70,000 purchase price necessary for two vehicles. He’s also documented the progress of fundraising efforts via Twitter, recently announcing: “We got one of the jeeps. It’s in the village now. Thank you, thank you!” and “We all did this together! And we’ve almost enough for a second one! You guys are incredible!” Since Hansard and Norton are just $20,000 shy of their total fundraising goal, if you discover that you have a little extra cash tucked away in a coat pocket, please consider helping them out. You might even be surprised to learn that Norton is quite the comedian — take a look at his explanation of their association and shared interest in helping the Maasai below.