Ed Norton starts new social networking charity site

Ed Norton has co-founded a new social networking charity site, Crowdrise.com, that allows members to recruit friends to donate their money and time to worthy causes. It’s an easy to use and compelling site with a great purpose. I found myself fascinated while browsing the causes, which include Gulf Coast Oil Spill cleanup and raising money to buy a truck for Maasai villagers. Norton started the project for the website about nine months ago, explaining he wanted to create an easy tool for people to fundraise. Celebrities with memberships include Will Ferrell and Seth Rogan. Will Ferrell is helping cancer survivors afford college, and is even giving away novelty sun tan lotion featuring photos of himself “nude” for every $17 donation. Here’s more from USA Today:

Crowdrise.com is not your typical charity site.
Its slogan is “If you don’t give back, no one will like you.” Dollars raised earn donors such titles as Doctor, Tsar, Sir and Dame.

And donating $17 toward scholarships for cancer survivors earns you a bottle of Will Ferrell’s “Sexy Hot Tan” sunscreen, emblazoned with the likeness of his Speedo-clad body.

Created by actor and activist Edward Norton, producer Shauna Robertson (Superbad, Knocked Up) and Robert and Jeffrey Wolfe (founders of the quirky online retailer Moosejaw), Crowdrise is harnessing the appeal of social networking to make giving go viral.

It’s “about getting people who are not sure their little bit makes a difference to feel persuaded that they can make a difference,” Norton says, and this “micro-giving” is the backbone of Crowdrise. The charity, which has been operating unpublicized since February, officially launched in May.

Users build a profile (called a “Charitable Life”), create project pages linked to their favorite registered non-profit organizations, encourage their social networks to donate and get other users to join them and raise money of their own, amplifying small amounts into bigger checks that Crowdrise cuts to the charities each month.

The site also gives those with little money to donate the chance to get others to sponsor their volunteer work — much like marathon runners get family and friends to back them, Norton says.

“One of the things we’re suggesting is that people should totally think of the ways that volunteering can be productive,” Norton says. “You say to your friends and family: ‘I’m giving my time and my skills, and I want to raise this much for this organization. Will you sponsor my volunteering?’ ”

Meanwhile, non-profit groups can create their own pages, gain followers and then mobilize them to quickly make fundraising goals for specific projects.

“The way the site flows, it can go person, project, charity,” says Robert Wolfe. “Or it can also go the opposite way: charity, project, person.”

Wolfe and his “shorter, smarter” brother Jeffrey, began working on the concept for Crowdrise after being inspired by President Obama’s fundraising campaign. They took their ideas for a test run during the New York City Marathon in November, helping Norton and his team of runners build a website that raised $1.2 million for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust.

After the marathon, the Wolfe brothers, Norton and Robertson joined forces to create Crowdrise, which, instead of focusing on a single charity, embraces hundreds of them.

[From USA Today]

I’ve heard that Ed Norton was involved in charity, and I remember him testifying in front of congress a couple of years ago about the conservation charity his grandfather founded, Enterprise Community Partners. I never knew the extent of Norton’s commitment until I checked out his page on Crowdrise. This gives him a pass for dating Courtney Love and generally being difficult to work with.

It’s a great concept and a very well executed site and it will surely attract more celebrities and members as awareness grows. You can learn more and help do your part at Crowdrise.com.


WASHINGTON - MAY 14: Actor Ed Norton testifies at a hearing on Capitol Hill on green building standards May 14, 2008 in Washington, DC. Norton testified in his capacity as a trustee for the Enterprise Foundation. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON - MAY 14: Actor Ed Norton testifies at a hearing on Capitol Hill on green building standards May 14, 2008 in Washington, DC. Norton testified in his capacity as a trustee for the Enterprise Foundation. (Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images)

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19 Responses to “Ed Norton starts new social networking charity site”

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  1. Kat says:

    I imagine that is meant to be crowd rise.com, but I can’t stop reading it as crow drise.com, which makes no sense.

    Dumb name.

  2. Obvious says:

    i love him. always have, and this makes me like him even more. =)

  3. juicyjackie says:

    Great actor and a great idea …. still cant shake that belief that his behaviour is normally douche-like.

  4. Me, too. I love him!

  5. Strawberry says:

    I love him and I think he sexy in a skinny guy with a big honker kind of a way. He and *my* Adrien Brody should start a club.

  6. Strawberry says:

    edit – he’s sexy

  7. lucy2 says:

    That is really awesome. I’m going to check it out further.
    I think the best things celebs can do when “raising awareness” is to tell people practical ways to help. This goes way beyond that, and really could build a great network, helping people find things they’re interested in helping and how to do it. Great idea.

  8. original kate says:

    i love him, but the idea that he slept with courtney love makes me wonder about his sanity…and how many STDs he must have.

  9. Jeri says:

    I’ve always liked him & find this wonderful. I’ll def go there.

    And he did it without parading kids around or major publicity on how caring he is. I believe him to be genuine, we need more like him.

  10. irishserra says:

    I Love Ed Norton.

  11. Rita says:

    This guy is perhaps the most talented actor in Hollywood. His understated style doesn’t allow for the “Brad Pit” image and headlines but study his performance and you will no doubt be impressed. Apparently, he’s a pretty good person as well.

  12. kim says:

    Good for him! And kudos to celebs like WIll Ferrell who are offering freebies for donating to great causes. We need many more celebs like these guys!

  13. Mairead says:

    Gotta love Will Ferrell 😆

    Ed Norton is fab, even his cameos, like in The Invention of Lying, are brilliant. Fair f*cks to him and his colleagues for this, it sounds like a great idea.

    Oh and micro-giving can be very effective tool. Last December Cakewrecks.com organised an idea where readers could donate a small amount ($1 typically) to a different charity each day, by a huge amount of people giving little and often the idea was to help as wide-ranging amount of different causes as possible without investing too much hardship on the readers. I didn’t contribute, but the collated information given in January was really interesting.

  14. Jello says:

    This is awesome and I’m going to join up right now!

  15. Dingles says:

    This man is so sexy and I couldn’t even tell you why. Something about his eyes and voice…or charisma…I don’t know. What I DO know is every time I watch “Fight Club” my eyes are on him, not Brad Pitt.

  16. Cirque28 says:

    @Kat: “I can’t stop reading it as crow drise.com, which makes no sense.”

    I have the same issue. I keep thinking it’s something about crows and the I think Edward Norton is turning goth.

  17. birdgherl says:

    I have heard some horror stories about the level of his douche-baggery. Happy he’s doing something seemingly unselfish and helpful.

  18. I Choose Me says:

    @Mairead. Tell me you love cakewrecks as much as I do? 🙂

    Edit: Dingles I think I love you. Fight Club is one of my all time favourite movies and all through out I kept feeling Ed Norton NOT Brad. There’s something about him. I don’t know what but I would nail him to the wall and the floor and… you get the picture. I don’t even much care that he dated Courtney Love (at least she was cleaned up and seemed more sane during that period) everyone’s entitled to at least one relationship mistake. The fact that he’s a freaking fantastic actor-with range, just adds to the love.

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