Elie Wiesel and his wife, Marion, established The Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity soon after he was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace. The Foundation describes this award as follows: ‘The Humanitarian award was created to recognize outstanding individuals who dedicate their time to fighting indifference, intolerance and injustice and whose accomplishments are consistent with the goals of the Foundation.’ Ellen DeGeneres would be a great candidate.
Ellen And Animal Cruelty
Ellen DeGeneres fits the award description. When it comes to fighting against indifference, DeGeneres has gone beyond anyone else in Hollywood to make a difference in the lives of animals that are discarded by society. Her efforts to fight apathy about animal cruelty include supporting The Gentle Barn (a home and hospital for animals that have been abused), as well as The Halo Pet Foundation, educating people on responsible pet ownership, eliminating animal abuse and reducing the overpopulation of uncared for pets. She is actually on their Board of Directors. DeGeneres launched a Facebook Game that raises money to help real animals. “I’ve always said I like speaking for animals, because they can’t talk for themselves,” DeGeneres said. “And now I’m going on Facebook for them because my cat can never remember her password. Joy Kingdom is fun, and I’m excited about how many animals we’re gonna help” (ecorazzi.com).Through Halo, she has a line of all natural pet food called Purely for Pets and participates in donating an estimated 1.5 million meals to shelter animals each year. In addition, DeGeneres is a large supporter of the Humane Society.
Ellen And Fighting Intolerance
When it comes to fighting intolerance, no one has been more public than DeGeneres in the struggle for the rights of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) risking her career and future. Prior to the 21st century, these concerns have not been hugely publicized, are now clearly both political and sociological issues. In 1997 DeGeneres ‘came out’ as a lesbian on The Oprah Winfrey show and subsequently on her program Ellen. Many show sponsors pulled their support of her show. In several episodes afterwards, gay themes were addressed and, throughout the remainder of the season, DeGeneres and ABC executives faced a storm of criticism. But the show also received rounds of applause from gay-friendly activists—including DeGeneres’s mother, Betty DeGeneres, who appeared on numerous talk shows in support of her daughter.
Despite a supportive audience, an Emmy Award for the coming-out episode and the show’s groundbreaking place in television history, Ellen was canceled in 1998. Returning to television in 2003, DeGeneres became a big hit with daytime viewers with her self-titled talk show, Ellen. Since its inception, the show has won nearly a dozen Daytime Emmy Awards and numerous People’s Choice Awards (biography.com).
The Ellen Show has not hesitated to address LGBT intolerance on air. On towleroad.com, an article Gay Iconography featured Ellen’s impact on the mainstream. Writer Bobby Hankinson explains her impact, “Ellen isn’t afraid to take a stand either, and that’s what makes her such an important media figure. She’s an adorable agitator who can talk about bullying, the Boy Scouts of America and same-sex marriage to a huge mainstream audience. She awarded Constance McMillen (the teen whose school canceled prom instead of allowing her to bring her girlfriend) a scholarship for $30,000, praised Jason Collins, and often discusses her marriage to actress Portia de Rossi. She’s also spoken out against organizations that have attempted to boycott her work or otherwise displayed intolerance.”
There have certainly been others fighting against intolerance in this arena. Political figures, military personnel, athletes, artists, and entertainers have all participated in the battle, but no one has had the media clout of Ellen DeGeneres. Her talk show has received over 38 Daytime Emmy Awards. As host of last year’s Academy Awards, viewership of the event was 43.7 million people, up 8% from 2013, and her popularity continues to gain momentum (rollingstone.com).
Ellen And Helping The Needy
DeGeneres is outstanding in her awareness of those in need.It is in the ‘how’ that Ellen gives which makes her exceptional in compassion and kindness. Today.com reported “Leave it to Ellen DeGeneres to end the week on an uplifting note. On her Friday show, DeGeneres presents a free car to a waitress she’d earlier rewarded for picking up the check for two furloughed soldiers, leaving the grateful woman weeping, and thrilling the studio audience.” Prezi.com wrote the following, “Ellen DeGeneres has made a positive impact on the world by helping cancer patients. Ellen DeGeneres helped Talia Castellano with her last dying wish, which was to become a make-up artist but Ellen did something better, she made her an honorary cover girl and gave her a $20,000 check just months before she died.” Additionally, nearly on a daily basis. She provides to those in need: a car for a family that lost everything to Hurricane Sandy.A new car and $15,000 Sam’s Club gift card to a family that mortgaged and sold anything necessary to have the money to adopt four boys from Ghana, and a new car to a struggling single mother. These are just a few of the thousands of people in need that Ellen has helped.
Small Change Campaign
Her charity work is exemplary. According to Looktothestars.org, she supports 44 charities and 30 causes. With Ben Affleck, DeGeneres launched the”Small Change Campaign” to benefit the Feeding America program, which aids Americans that cannot afford food. Ellen continues her support of the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund through the American Red Cross. Fundraising for breast cancer is the focus of the Ellen for the Cure campaign, run during October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month on her television show. It has raised millions of dollars for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Organization.
Schools In Crisis
Nationwide, our school system is suffering, and DeGenereshas took action to become involved. Ellen.tv encourages visitors to help fund advocacy groups that work to stop the relentless bullying that takes place in our schools nationwide. Her passion for helping eradicate this injustice is evident. She has had multiple episodes discussing the horrors taking place in our school, interviewing parents of teens that committed suicide due to bullying, encouraging viewers to see the movie Bully, and has three major advocacy groups on her website to get the public involved.DeGeneres has also been sensitive to schools with underprivileged students. Las Vegas Sun.com reported a story about Ellen learning about the work of Principal Sherrie Gahn in Las Vegas. “The principal of Whitney Elementary School has been featured on CNN and CBS News, and virtually every media outlet in town. They talk of Gahn’s selfless drive to help her students, many of them homeless, the majority of them poor.” DeGeneres flew Gahn out to be on her show and presented her with a donation from Target for $100,000 to help start an after-school program and provide a new library for the school. Ellen DeGeneres has helped many people, including these kids by getting a better learning experience.”
DeGeneres efforts to help the homeless are substantial as well. Fox News first reported the story of Derrick Walton last February. He went from being homeless on the streets of Detroit to feeding thousands of homeless people. After their initial story, DeGeneres heard about it and brought him to appear on her show where he received a $10,000 check and pledged to keep his operation going. The Walton story is just one of many stories in which DeGeneres has lent a helping hand to the homeless and made a huge difference.