Mariska Hargitay has been the star of Law & Order: SVU for nearly two decades. She has been on the show since the beginning, part of the original cast in 1999. Playing Olivia Benson is a huge part of her resume as an actress, and the role bled into her real life too. Playing a compassionate detective who investigates rape and sexual assault meant that women would come up to her in real life and tell her their stories. So in 2004, she decided to start a foundation called Joyful Heart. Originally, the idea was that Joyful Heart would help survivors deal with trauma through providing therapy and therapeutic trips. Joyful Heart has expanded over the years, and now the foundation works as an advocate for victims, advocates for increased rape-kit testing at the local, state and federal level, and more. You can see Joyful Heart’s site here.
Mariska is also friends with Taylor Swift. Swift, as we all know, is a huge SVU fan, to the point where she named one of her cats “Olivia Benson.” So following Taylor’s victory in court last week, Taylor has decided to make some significant donations to Joyful Heart.
Taylor Swift vowed to give donations to organizations helping survivors of sexual assault following her court victory Monday. And the 27-year-old singer made good on that promise, choosing friend and actress Mariska Hargitay‘s Joyful Heart Foundation to receive monetary aid to mark her victory in the groping trial.
“Taylor is aware of the Joyful Heart Foundation and follows our work,” Maile M. Zambuto, CEO of the Joyful Heart Foundation, told the Huffington Post on Wednesday. “Her team got in touch with me and we talked a lot about her commitment, all along throughout this ordeal, to wanting to be of service to survivors.”
Zambuto did not reveal the specific amount of money Swift will give to the foundation, but said that the donation was an “extremely generous financial investment in the movement to end sexual violence.”
“I hope that Taylor’s very public experience ― and her decision to speak out ― not only helps empower other victims to speak up and take action, but offers them solidarity,” said Hargitay, who plays Detective Olivia Benson on the hit NBC show Law & Order SVU. “I’m honored by her dedication and commitment to these issues, and I’m deeply grateful for her support of the Joyful Heart Foundation.”
In 2004, Hargitay founded the Joyful Heart Foundation, which has become a leading organization to help change societal responses to child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault while supporting survivors through the healing process.
This is what Taylor does best: draws attention to worthy charitable causes through the sheer force of her celebrity and the power of her giving. Yes, I criticize her a lot, but she’s always been good about donating to charity and doing it in really smart ways. I know Taylor will follow through on this, and I hope her contributions to Joyful Heart are significant, because Joyful Heart does amazing work.
Photos courtesy of Backgrid and Getty.
Nothing to snark on here…great gesture.
Bravo Taylor! My little nieces adore her and this kind of thing makes me happy. She can be a talking point to open up these important conversations with them. I’m a big advocate for sexual assault survivors (I am one myself) and the platform she has and the attention she has just brought to this is incredible. Good work girl!
She may be overexposed and all that, but she has ALWAYS been very giving. Not only does she give to charity but she’s also really generous with her fans. People like to say that she uses charity to get good press but she’s done a lot quietly (the whole Kesha donation comes to mind, where she didn’t say anything, someone else did) and has been doing so her whole career, when she didn’t need the extra good press. I’m so glad she did this. Reliving a traumatic experience is awful and she handled this all amazingly
Friends who live in her TN hometown have said she’s a generous, and quiet, supporter of local school music programs as well as parks/playgrounds.
I didn’t know that. That’s awesome!
I think she started a music program in Nashville Taylor Swift Education Centre), including songwriting, and she supports others as well, so yeah, I think she puts her money where her mouth is.
Hope she continues this path. She really seems smart enough not to be just a queen bee of her squad or whatever
To date, I’ve heard maybe one TS song, and most of what I know about her comes ftom this site where she’s usually deemed harmless if somewhat extra, but if I were a parent, I’d feel good about my tweens following her.
You see Taylor, you can use your power for good and not evil petty mean girl sh*t!!! Kudos given where Kudos are called for. Now hopefully she will grow TFU and harness her fans to be the good they want to see in the world and not high school bs.
Good work, Taylor. Thank you.
I used to do PR for this foundation and let me tell you, they are incredible! They work tirelessly across all 50 states to provide support and services for rape survivors, domestic violence and child abuse victims. One of their big initiatives was exposing the national rape kit backlog – and Mariska personally reached out to then-VP Joe Biden to ask for his help to raise awareness of this issue. Which he did!
It’s a great organization – if you’re looking for a nonprofit to donate to that will actually use your money to help people, this is a good one.
I was going to mildly snark at Tay for giving money to a charity founded by an honorary squad member and friend, but I really can’t. This is a top-notch organization doing amazing, and much needed, work. I went looking for other charities doing similar things and I wasn’t finding many, which probably has more to do with lack of funding than it does with lack of need. If anyone knows of others, please drop their names here.
No Kid Hungry (Share our strength) is a fantastic nonprofit as well that uses donations appropriately.
Despite all her silly antics, Taylor is a great role model for young girls and I respect her for that. She is hardworking, fierce, and a good citizen.
Fantastic. This makes me love Taylor swift.
Gonna take a dose of “Swiftamine” now to get the crush back under control.
Haha, I love the Taylor fan-girls so hard on Mariska Hargitay.