The Vampire Diaries fandom is an amazing force for good, with fans pulling out all the stops to contribute to projects like Vampire Support and the Ian Somerhalder Birthday Project (you can read about this past weekend’s Bash on the Bayou event, in support of St. Tammany Humane Society, over at Vampire Diaries Online).
Recently, Ian Somerhalder has been tweeting about setting up his own foundation. We can confirm that this is a very real undertaking and there are big things ahead next month in preparation for the Ian Somerhalder Foundation’s launch. If you’re (somehow) unfamiliar with Ian’s passion for the environment or animals, or you’re wondering what exactly this venture will encompass, read on. He was kind enough to answer a few of our questions about the project, including new information about the established non-profit organizations he will be closely working with, his upcoming contest, and how YOU can get involved with the Foundation.
Vampire-Diaries.net: What are the short term and long term intentions for/goals of the Ian Somerhalder Foundation? Is there a guiding “mission statement”?
Ian Somerhalder: The Foundation’s long-term activities will aim to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects that positively impact the planet and its creatures. Long-term goals will focus on habitat and biodiversity, clean energy and animals, with specific projects in reforestation, biodiversity, extinction and species-specific sterilization methods of domestic pets. Short-term goals are inviting everyone to get involved, creating teams of passionate volunteers, and fund-raising.
What organizations have you chosen to work with? How did you decide on them and will the Foundation’s relationship with them extend beyond donations?
Conservation International (CI) is one, actually; the IS Foundation was inspired by and partly modeled after CI’s mission. Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature, our global biodiversity, for the well-being of humanity.
National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) [@nrdc] [is] an immensely important organization that gathers the facts to encourage legislation to pass in order to protect and properly use our natural resources while finding alternative means of green business and energy practices.
Go Green Mobile Power: They are working to create and use green energy technology harnessing the power of solar, wind and biomass fuels to make clean energy with the impact reducing our carbon emissions globally.
National Wildlife Federation [@nwf] inspires Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. The IS Foundation will strive to protect fauna especially in human-made disasters, as we recently experienced with the BP Gulf Oil spill.
New Leash On Life: This incredible organization rescues dogs and trains them as assistance and therapy dogs for people and children in need. They also are an enormously important partner in assisting the IS Foundation fund and finish research for distribution of species-specific sterilization drugs that will make stray and unwanted animals something of the past.
St. Tammany Human Society [@HumaneStTammany]: One of the largest no-kill shelters in my home of Louisiana. Saving not only stray animals but also assisting in crisis-stricken wildlife management, this humane society is dedicated to saving stray animals and promoting spay and neuter campaigns and laws.
Any organization, business or person committed to creating positive change is invited to reach out and partner with us.
What do you identify as the primary challenges you need to overcome to meet the goals you’ve set for the Foundation and how do you plan to address them?
The primary challenge will be engaging and empowering people, primarily youth, to overcome environmental and legislative challenges that prevent the evolvement of green initiatives, which perpetuates destruction. The other challenge that “change making” foundations are presented with is funding. We will have our first fund-raising campaign appearing in the next two weeks. Every year, I receive so many heart-warming gifts from all the incredible fans; this year, my only birthday wish is to create a well planet. Instead of gifts, if people truly feel like giving, we hope they’ll give to the Foundation. Giving me the best gift possible, a chance to make change… and to make that change alongside fans, amazing.
In order to solve the interconnected issues facing humanity, we must work in full collaboration with other organizations and government bodies to create and provide tangible solutions that will empower people to protect their health and the environment. Someone needs to make change OPEN SOURCE. So if you are as passionate as I am about our planet and its creatures – get involved! Let’s combine passion, skills and action to create an ever-evolving team of hearts willing to create a future where we live in balance with Mother Nature.
How involved will you continue to be with the nuts and bolts of the Foundation after its launch?
I will be very involved in the nuts and bolts, my passion and reverence for all life is what truly launched this foundation. The Foundation creates a platform where I can be active in this passion; a platform that invites people from all walks of life to collaborate. Because of my natural tendencies, I am excited to bring strong strategic alliances to the Foundation, ensuring that not only are our goals met, but that the solutions are sustainable.
Not only will I be involved in the nuts and bolts of the foundation, we aim to invite others to be involved in the nuts and bolts, starting with our branding and logo creation. Understanding that art and creative expression is an invaluable element of transformative work, we’ll host our first contest for our logo development. We will communicate more on this through Twitter [@iansomerhalder], and keep your eyes open for more invites of ways you can get involved. I don’t want to do this alone and I can’t, so I hope to join hands with all of the fans, and really, that’s what excites me most.
You obviously have a very loyal fan base. How do you extend the Foundation’s message beyond them? Why should someone who isn’t familiar with Ian Somerhalder care about what you’re trying to accomplish with the Ian Somerhalder Foundation?
The message most certainly extends beyond my wonderful and loyal fans. What we are currently doing to our planet affects all life either walking or growing on the face of this planet. WE are at the most pivotal time in the history of Earth and this generation has the ability to stop the extinction of 50% of all species, which, by the way, is expected to happen in the next 50 years.
Rather than be Generation Extinction, the youth of today could become Generation Green. Our mission strives to transform – with every willing person, organization and government body – our destructive relationship with our planet into one that is a true symbiotic relationship.
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