The Vampire Diaries star Ian Somerhalder isn’t just an incredible actor, his is also an inspiring philanthropist — giving his time, energy, name, and money to try to change the world for the better. This is why he started the IS Foundation: “to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.” For his 35th birthday, which falls this week on December 8, he has a wish that one million people will share $35 with the charity. Here are five reasons why one of those people should be you.
The foundation’s scope is expansive
The ISF Foundation has some ambitious goals and, because of that, donations made go to fix so many of the world’s problems. As Ian writes on the website, “All donations big and small fuel our resources to continue expanding and making change for the voiceless of this planet: our skies, seas, energy, habitats and of course our furry friends.” The IS Foundation recognizes that the problems of the world are interconnected, and that hope lies in building generational support to solving those problems. It’s hard not to get behind that!
Works to make the world a greener place
One of the many specific problems the IS Foundation works to fight is the devastating effects of deforestation seen around the world. The IS Foundation is working on “creating awareness that global deforestation can be seen as a national/international and global security risk.” Word. Other ways the foundation spends its money is in the funding of global conservation and green energy development. It ain’t easy being green — but that doesn’t mean we can’t do it!
Gives power to kids
One of the coolest things about the IS Foundation is that it recognizes that adults aren’t the only ones who can work to solve the world’s problems. Last month, Ian tweeted about the youth empowerment program IS Foundation sponsors that was blowing his mind. The vid shows the IS Foundation organizers working with an inspiring group of kids hoping to make a difference — through passion projects like starting an eco-friendly accessories business that gives a percentage of its proceeds to local and global charities, or by coming up with ideas about how to treat cancer while still in high school. These kids — and the U Factor program that supports them — is pretty cool.
Works to end pet overpopulation, animal cruelty
If you’ve ever been to Ian’s Twitter page, then you know how passionate he is about ending animals. This manifests itself in the IS Foundation through the aims of ending animal cruelty, promoting “species specific sterilization drugs” to help tame pet overpopulation, and working towards creating more sustainable “no-kill shelters” for the animals that fall through the cracks in the mean time. Basically, Ian loves his “furry friends.”
Because it’s his birthday wish
If you want to recognize Ian’s birthday, this is the perfect way to do it! According to the actor, though he treasures the cards and gifts he gets in the mail, “my heart tends to break a little when I think about the impact behind those items… the materials, manufacturing, packing, shipping, etc. The generosity of your time, ideas, collaborations, donations, and accomplishments is really the gift that knocks me off my feet.” Give the birthday boy what he wants!
The Vampire Diaries airs on Thursdays at 8 p.m. on The CW.