On December 8, 1978, Ian Somerhalder was born in Covington, Louisiana, USA. He grew up in the area, started a modeling career early on and then got into acting. He’s best known for staring in TV big hit Lost and for his *insert favorite superlative here* portray of vampire Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries TV series.
32 years later Ian launched his own charity foundation, Ian Somerhalder Foundation, and here is his birthday wish: instead of presents this year he wants all his fans to donate his age in dollars to his foundation so together they can make the world a better place.
It all sounds good and inspiring, even if the IS Foundation’s website contains for now only a heartfelt message from Ian and a ‘Give’ button. More details about the foundation’s goals can be found on vampire-diaries.net and Zap2It. I guess he hasn't started fully promoting it yet.
This isn’t Ian’s first charity attempt, he is known for actively participating in BP oil disaster cleanup process, supporting St. Tammany Humane Society (a no-kill animal shelter from his home town), being involved in It Gets Better Project, and expressing his views in Huffington Post.
It can be argued, though, that it would have been a more successful move if Ian hadn’t waited until the last moment to make his plans public. By the time he made the official announcement and the website went online, the fans had already raised over $11,000 through a project ran by http://the-vampirediaries.com for his birthday on behalf of St. Tammany Humane Society and the check had been delivered to Ian at “Unleashed! Bash on the Bayou” benefit dinner. Since it went so well the fans’ project has been renamed “Paws 4 a Cause” and it’s already raising funds for next year.
But no worries, Ian has lots of supporters. His Twitter account (@iansomerhalder) lists over 460,000 followers, about 100,000 more than it did only two months ago, and he knows the power that holds. As he said in the Washington Post interview during the Energy Panel, most of his fans are young and this is the age when they need and can be educated in ecology related matters. This is the generation that can either save or break the world. So among bits and pieces of news from the set of TVD, he also tweets links to relevant articles meant open their eyes and make them take a stand.
Looking over the IS Foundation’s description up at vampire-diaries.net, two things in particular touched my sensibilities. Training rescued dogs to become assistants for adults and children in need sounds like a great idea. If they need more stray dogs, he can come over here and pick some of ours ‘cause we have lots. As a sci fi lover and writer I’m a little in two minds about species-specific sterilization drugs. I can easily imagine a future in which not only stray animals but pets are absent too, but hopefully people will know how to use such drugs wisely and it won’t come to that.
The question that remain is: When does the IS Foundation go global? Because 1. non-US citizens might find it easier to donate in a different currency and 2. they might also like the donated funds to be used in their own area.
So until then…
Happy Birthday, Mr. Somerhalder, wishing you plenty of happiness, good health and fortune and, of course, lots of good parts in great movies to come your way!
P.S. Ian, sweetie, lose the hat! Better yet, put them all up for auction to support your foundation. I bet it would make a fortune.
P.P.S. Pasts self on the back for managing to write a semiserious post instead of yet another fangirl ode to Mr. Somerhalder’s good looks and acting skills. There’s always time for that during the TVD hiatus.
ETA - Site is fully functional now. Not bad, not bad...