Condé Nast Traveler has named Olivia Wilde as one of their “Visionaries 2012” for her work in Haiti with Artists for Peace and Justice. Check out her profile, three videos from their visit and 7 photos below!
Actress and co-founder of the first free secondary school serving the poorest in Haiti.
At 28, she sits at the grown-ups’ table of philanthropy, using her hip status to inspire a new generation to fight for the poor.
By Frank Ockenfels with kids in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on April 28, 2012.
“I just had a great conversation with Bill Gates,” says Olivia Wilde, laughing at the improbability of that. But the truth is, these days the actress is rubbing elbows with philanthropic heavyweights from Bill Clinton to George Clooney, and of course Mr. Gates. She asked him for advice on how best to focus her efforts beyond Haiti, perhaps as a UN ambassador: “He said, ‘No, invest your time in Haiti and know your subject well.’ ”
When Wilde returned to Port-au-Prince this past spring, there was tangible evidence of her commitment: the Academy for Peace and Justice, the first free secondary school in the country. With funds raised by Artists for Peace and Justice, the school was built by Haitians in just two months and is run by the St. Luke Foundation for Haiti, which has operated in the country for 25 years. In October, 1,200 students are expected to be enrolled, most from Cité Soleil, the poorest slum. “We started so small,” says Wilde, “and this is such a grand gesture.” Classrooms carry name plates: Russell Crowe, Daniel Craig, Barbra Streisand, Sean Parker, Penélope Cruz—all of whom made pledges of support of $70,000 a year, usually for seven years. Wilde hopes to spark young activists. “I’m really excited about the next generation,” she says. “Philanthropy is no longer just for the rich.”
The Big Trip
“Cité Soleil in 2009. I had never seen poverty like that. But Haiti is also so beautiful—it’s important to remember that it’s not just about tragedy.”
Donate at apjnow.org.