Many celebrities have thrown the considerable weight of their social status and the contents of their sizable bank accounts behind charitable causes. Bill and Melinda Gates started their own foundation to promote health, education, and equal opportunity across the globe, George Lucas started the Lucas Film Foundation to help youngsters grow into the responsible leaders of tomorrow, and Oprah Winfrey has at least two charities in her name (the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy and Oprah’s Angel Network). You might be starting to see a pattern here. Apparently musician CeeLo Green is eager to join the ranks of his philanthropic celebrity colleagues, because he, too, has stated a foundation with plans to give to others in need.
The GreenHouse Foundation, launched in partnership with Green’s sister, Shedonna Alexander, aims to “empower children with the knowledge, attitude, and desire to positively influence their futures, their communities and the long-term sustainability of their planet.” Based in Atlanta, the Foundation has already teamed up with area schools (public, private, and charter) to provide outreach to disadvantaged youth by way of the Green Garden Education Program. The schools involved will receive resources from the program (including tools, supplies, and even a curriculum) that will allow students to participate in outdoor “teaching” gardens on campus.
The idea behind this is to offer kids a green education in more ways than one. Not only will the program teach kids the valuable skills associated with planting and growing greenery; it will also help to build their confidence through success and hopefully inspire them to greatness in their own lives, within their communities, and beyond. In addition, students will receive a “green” education that includes lessons in sustainability, as well as the ability to share their efforts with the community by providing fresh produce to other impoverished groups like the elderly and homeless populations.
But that’s not all this organization is seeking to do. In order to create a youth populace that is responsible, informed, and forward-thinking when it comes to the environment and community organization, the GreenHouse Foundation plans to sponsor other programs, as well. Already slated for inception is a continuation of the Green Garden program that will locate and utilize land around Atlanta to create community gardens for volunteers to grow organic goods. Then there is the School Waste Diversion Initiative, a program that will teach students how to stop campus waste (of the non-biodegradable variety) from making its way to local landfills. And these are just short-term plans of CeeLo’s organization.
In the long-term the Foundation is seeking to give children the means and initiative to adopt greener practices for life, as well as show them a future in which their efforts can have a real impact. For kids that are underprivileged, the real-world skills and self-confidence that can be gained from such a program are immeasurable. For some, it could make the difference between reaching graduation and dropping out, while others will take the lessons with them all the way to mba programs online or even Ivy League universities. CeeLo may have adopted the conceit of putting his name on the Foundation (although the use of “Green” is a clever play on words, considering the eco-friendly nature of the program), but his money and his celebrity status will serve to make a big difference in the lives of Atlanta youth.