SEATTLE, Washington — The sitcom format has enthralled audiences since its inception and launched the careers of a plethora of celebrities. However, despite their comedic demeanor, many sitcom stars have used their platform to support, highlight and even found nonprofits dedicated to ending global poverty. This article focuses on five sitcom stars fighting global poverty.
5 Sitcom Stars Fighting Global Poverty
Ashton Kutcher: Beginning his career on “That 70’s Show,” Kutcher has become one of the biggest names in Hollywood, alongside a successful career as a venture capitalist. However, Kutcher deserves credit beyond his impressive resume. He has continuously fought on behalf of the global poor. Kutcher helped found Thorn, a nonprofit which creates technology to fight child sex trafficking and child pornography. Thus far, Thorn software has located 10,081 victims in 38 countries. Kutcher has spoken at a UNICEF forum and gave an impassioned speech to the U.S. Senate to address global human trafficking.
Debra Messing: Messing first rose to prominence in the early 2000’s show “Will and Grace,” where she won multiple Emmys. Since then, she has starred in shows such as “The Mysteries of Laura” and the 2017 “Will and Grace” reboot. However, her philanthropic endeavors are also worth highlighting. Most notable is Messing’s work with the Population Services International (PSI) as their Global Health Ambassador. Through her efforts at PSI, Messing has traveled throughout Africa to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS prevention and spoke at the 2012 AIDS conference in D.C.
Kristin Bell: Bell, the star of the hit show “The Good Place,” is another sitcom star fighting global poverty. In 2013, Bell launched This Saves Lives, a company that sells granola bars with a portion of profits going towards creating malnutrition packets for impoverished children. Thus far, This Saves Lives has distributed 11,208,597 food packets, including 285,000 in South Sudan and 444,900 packets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo— enough food to help more than 3,000 children. Another cause Bell supports is the United Nations Women’s Peace & Humanitarian Fund, where she holds the role of global advocate. In that position, Bell helps raise awareness of the importance of including women in peace-building missions.
Sofia Vergara: Since 2009, Vergara has starred in the hit show “Modern Family.” Vergara has since fought global poverty, particularly in Colombia, where she is originally from. In 2011, Vergara co-chaired the BeLive gala to support four different Colombian nonprofits. In 2012, Vergara used her 40th birthday to raise money for the organization Suenos Sin Fronteras, which helps orphans in Columbia. Since then, Vergara’s charity work has largely focused on raising awareness and funds for cancer research. In 2018, she received the Courage Award at the Women’s Cancer Research Fund. However, Vergara continues to support her native country, where she funds cancer treatments for individual children.
America Ferrera: Currently starring in the show “Superstore,” Ferrera has continuously fought against global poverty. She was named an ambassador for the organization Save the Children in 2008 and made trips to West Africa to raise money to build schools. In 2012, she traveled to Honduras to raise awareness for women in extreme poverty with the ONE Campaign. She also visited India to learn about the New Light Shelter, which provides support to sex workers and their children. In recent years, Ferrera has founded her own organization, Harness, which creates documentaries to highlight specific issues. In 2019, Harness released a documentary about the migrant crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border.
– Chace Pulley