The Story of Red Nose Day USA


SEATTLE — Instead of associating the classic red nose with clowns, more and more people are identifying the red nose with a campaign by Comic Relief Inc., a nonprofit organization. The campaign, appropriately called Red Nose Day, draws the public’s attention to the importance of fundraising and global awareness of poverty while using those donations to support programs that help impoverished children.

In 1988, Comic Relief debuted Red Nose Day in the United Kingdom with intention of using entertainment to raise money and encourage participation. In 2015, the fundraising campaign reached the U.S. Globally, Red Nose Day has raised more than $1 billion since 1988. In the three years the campaign has been active in the U.S., Red Nose Day USA raised more than $145 million. Since the launch of the campaign in 2015, Red Nose Day USA sold about 30 million iconic Red Noses.

Red Nose Day USA Enlists Celebrities for National Fundraiser

One of the main actors in raising awareness and media coverage is NBC. Throughout the campaign, there are celebrations for Red Nose Day within various American communities. As the finale, NBC runs a special primetime program starring celebrity advocates and televised entertainment on the last day. Between 2015 and 2018, more than 450 celebrities and influencers have participated in Red Nose Day USA. Among them are Bill Gates, Kobe Byrant, Ellen DeGeneres and Will Ferrell.

“We continue to be inspired by the generosity of Americans, celebrities and corporate partners who have rallied behind this amazing cause,” said Paul Telegdy, President of Alternative and Reality Group at NBC Entertainment in a Red Nose Day press release. “We look forward to . . . keep[ing]the momentum going and make a difference in the lives of children who need it the most.”

Red Nose Day Makes a Global Impact

The funds raised by Red Nose Day USA are used to end child poverty in international communities. The money goes overseas to the poorest communities in 34 Latin American, Asian and Africa countries.

The main mission of Red Nose Day is to end child poverty and ensuring that vulnerable children are kept safe, healthy and educated. Red Nose Day USA achieves this through collaborations with its partner organizations such as Dove and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization has a total of 47 partners helping to provide the needed resources.

These grantee partners work together to provide water, food, medicine, protection and education to impoverished children. For example, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance used funds from Red Nose Day USA to immunize more than one million children in sub-Saharan Africa with vaccines protecting against pneumococcal disease, rotavirus diarrhea, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and Haemophilus influenzae type B.

By using the power of entertainment to gain public interest, Red Nose Day USA shows the undeniable impact of people mobilizing and collaborating as a community that wants to help children in need.

“Red Nose Day makes it fun for people to come together and give back,” Janet Scardino, CEO of Comic Relief Inc., told Global Impact. “[W]e hope to inspire even more people to join us in our mission to end child poverty.”

Red Nose Day USA strives to end poverty, starting with children. This will break the cycle of poverty in communities by giving children the necessary resources and opportunities to achieve more and improve their lives. The funds raised by campaigns such as Red Nose Day USA provide hope for a better future for those in need.

– Jenny S Park
Photo: Flickr


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