During the 2016 Power Players Week, some of the nation’s most distinguished entertainers, journalists, writers and politicians put their reputations on the line to benefit the causes most meaningful to them. A year later, we’re tipping our hats to their dedication and bringing you an update on the effect the Power Players and their winnings had on these charities. Here are some of the highlights.
CHUCK TODD: SAMARITAN INNS – $10,000 in Jeopardy! winnings
What They Do: Based in Washington, D.C., this organization provides structured housing and recovery services for the homeless and those about to be homeless, with an emphasis on those with drug and alcohol addictions. “It’s been a very successful program,” said Chuck Todd.
The J!Effect: “The biggest advantage for us was raising awareness,” said Samaritan Inns’ Justin Feltman, who added that the response on social media has been significant. ”I got several emails as well, asking how they can get involved and wanting to learn more about our program. … Our programs are running full, or close to full, and we are working on expanding our Transitional Living Program. A bright past, present, and future seems to be blessing our organization and our mission!”
Find out more about Samaritan Inns at www.samaritaninns.org.
LOUIS C.K.: FISTULA FOUNDATION – $50,000 in Jeopardy! winnings
What They Do: A childbirth injury resulting from a prolonged obstructed labor, a fistula can make a mother’s life both physically and emotionally difficult – in low-resource countries where it is more common, it can cause a mother’s village to reject her. So far, the Fistula Foundation has supported fistula treatment in 31 countries throughout Africa and parts of Asia to help these women return to their lives. Recommended the organization by a friend, Louis C.K. now champions the Fistula Foundation.
The J!Effect: “The night Jeopardy! aired, our website crashed twice from thousands of clicks from viewers,” said Jessica Love, from the Fistula Foundation. “We gained many new donors and broadened our community of folks who want to stay updated about the women we help.” And here’s the kicker: “Jeopardy! and Louis C.K. helped raise nearly $90,000 – critical funds that are helping deliver surgeries to women suffering from obstetric fistula,” Jessica said.
Find out more about the Fistula Foundation at www.fistulafoundation.org.
LARA LOGAN: COMMITTEE TO PROTECT JOURNALISTS – $50,000 in Jeopardy! winnings
What They Do: As a journalist who has been in harm’s way, Lara Logan recognizes the dangers of the profession and the importance of the Committee to Protect Journalists. She cited a specific example where the CPJ helped her bring an Iraqi journalist to the United States for much-needed surgery after an assassination attempt on his life. “I’m a believer in what they do and who they are,” said Lara. “I love this organization.”
The J!Effect: The Committee to Protect Journalists held a viewing party for the Jeopardy! episode, and Lara (as well as some CPJ staff) spoke a bit afterward. “One of the attendees was so inspired that he pledged an additional $5,000!” said Shazdeh Omari, from the CPJ.
Lara’s support proved to be the first of a few big sources of exposure for the organization this past year, which was followed up by Nicholas Kristof’s New York Times piece about donating to organizations like the CPJ in place of holiday gifting, and then by Meryl Streep’s impassioned speech calling for support at the Golden Globes®. “By the end of January 2017, CPJ received almost $500,000 in donations from nearly 3,800 individuals. We also saw a huge spike in our email subscribers and social media followers,” Shazdeh said.
Find out more about the Committee to Protect Journalists at www.cpj.org.
KATE BOLDUAN: FREE ARTS NYC – $10,000 in Jeopardy! winnings
What They Do: Free Arts NYC helps at-risk kids and their families in New York through educational arts and mentoring. “It’s been amazing to be part of it,” said Kate Bolduan. “I’m so excited to do something more than just donate my time. I can now donate a large amount of money as well.”
The J!Effect: “Excitingly, after 19 years, we made the strategic decision to focus on the expansion of our Teen Arts Program and Free Arts Days,” said Diane Conroy, from Free Arts NYC. “This will allow us to meet a real need in our communities for programming that specifically supports teens and young people from the Department of Homeless Services. Ninety-five percent of participants are low-income struggling daily with the educational, housing and health inequalities associated with poverty.
“Working with Jeopardy! not only financially supported this expansion, but helped us gain exposure for this important work in the community.”
Find out more about Free Arts NYC at www.freeartsnyc.org.
ANDERSON COOPER: SPIKE’S K9 FUND – $10,000 in Jeopardy! winnings
What They Do: Spike’s K9 Fund is committed to supporting working dogs in the armed services. “There are a lot of police dogs who are wounded or killed in the field. Spike’s K9 Fund is raising money for ballistic vests for K9s and medical treatment for police dogs and military dogs in retirement,” said Anderson Cooper. “It was started by a guy who’s a hero and friend of mine, Jimmy Hatch, a retired Navy SEAL.”
The J!Effect: “Since the episode of Jeopardy! aired last May, we have helped 141 dogs, and our social media following has increased greatly,” said Emily Soccino, from Spike’s K9 Fund. “We are now at over 106K followers on Facebook, almost 1,000 on Twitter and 3,670 on Instagram. We have helped dogs in 23 different states across the country.” Officer McNiff from Norfolk PD was so thankful for Anderson’s help that when he got a new K9, he decided to honor Anderson Cooper in a special way ... meet “A.C.”:
An officer from Norfolk PD named his newest K9 “A.C.” after benefactor Anderson Cooper.
Find out more about Spike’s K9 Fund at www.spikesk9fund.org.
JONATHAN CAPEHART: SASHA BRUCE YOUTHWORK – $14,800 in Jeopardy! winnings
What They Do: In addition to safely housing young homeless people, Sasha Bruce Youthwork provides training in job and life skills to help them in the future. “Through dedication of our many supporters and the expertise of our staff and volunteers, Sasha Bruce Youthwork continues to offer hope to thousands of young people with nowhere else to turn,” said Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s Jim Beck.
The J!Effect: “In addition to Jeopardy! and Jonathan bringing thousands of new ‘eyes’ to our work, we have been delighted to be featured in a series of articles by Washington Post Metro Section columnist John Kelly,” Jim said. “These articles have also served the purpose of raising funds for our agency.”
Jim made sure to call out the organization’s biggest new development: “The new Drop-in Center is particularly noteworthy as it uses a harm reduction framework to meet the basic needs of unaccompanied ‘street’ youth up to the age of 24,” he said. “It’s an integrated service in which youth frequently transition from street-based contact, to the Drop-in Center, to shelter, to transitional housing.”
Find out more about Sasha Bruce Youthwork at www.sashabruce.org.
It truly was an honor to have the celebrity contestants with us during the 2016 Power Players Week. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank all the competitors for sharing their time and effort, and for calling attention to these worthwhile causes. If you’d like to learn more about all of the 2016 Power Players, check out the 15 Charities of Power Players Week and go to the Power Players Week minisite.