On May 21, People across the United States wore red noses to school, work and play, making them look a bit strange. Besides lightening the mood wherever they were seen, the purpose of these noses is to celebrate US Red Nose Day.
Red Nose Day USA was sponsored by NBC and Walgreens, as well as M&Ms. Red nose Day was originally founded in the UK. It was started by the nonprofit aficionado and UK-based Jane Tewson and Richard Curtis. Curtis is the writer and director of several well-known films that are set in England, such as Love Actually, Notting Hill and Four Weddings and a Funeral.
Red Nose Day is not actually the name of the charity that Tewson and Curtis founded. Red Nose Day is just its most visible fundraiser. The organization itself is actually called Comic Relief UK. In the US, money raised will fund the work of Comic Relief, Inc. (previously known as America Gives Back Inc.) It is a 501(c)(3) public charity to which all donations are tax-deductible. The organization is a sister charity to Comic Relief UK and not in any way associated with Comic Relief, the project of the same name that comedians Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal were involved with more than a decade ago. However, both organizations used comedy to inform the public of their important social justice work.
Comic relief UK’s founder Richard Curtis has dreamed of bringing Red Nose Day to the US, because he admires American comedic talent and the country’s reputation for generosity. Tonight, as a finale to Red Nose Day, comedy superstars will pay tribute on NBC beginning at 8 p.m. EST. Across the country many people came home from days at school, work, and gathered together to watch the NBC special and once more wear their noses, not caring who looked twice.
During the program, the viewing public had the opportunity to donate by phone and online to Comic Relief’s efforts, supporting the programs that assist young people who live in poverty at home and abroad. Though donors have no choice in where their money goes or how its spent, Comic Relief’s mission is to fund projects that serve three purposes: keeping the young people who benefit from their services healthy, educated and safe.
In addition to the many comic celebrities, Microsoft founder Bill Gates tweeted the following from his official Twitter account, “Tweet a selfie with your red nose using #RedNose25 & @GatesFoundation will give $25 to fight poverty.” Readers with smartphones may download the free app from Google Play or iTunes if they cannot locate a nose. The $25 bonus paid to Comic Relief from the Gates Foundation will be available from 12:01 a.m. EST on May 21, 2015 to 11:59 p.m, EST on June 1, 2015.
There are other ways to participate besides just wearing a nose and opportunities to help afterwards. Many held their own fundraisers with baked goods and such to benefit Comic Relief. There have been dance-a-thons, sporting events and other athletic efforts. NBC’s Matt Lauer completed a five-day, 226 mile bike ride from Boston to New York. He was inspired to do this after reading the story of Melinda Pike, a woman who was only able to provide food and shelter for her children thanks to the United Way (a charity benefiting from Red Nose efforts).
As the inaugural Red Nose Day USA telecast began on NBC, host Seth Meyers was eager to “make enough money to shove it in England’s face,” as well s help children struggling with poverty. The country has also never really forgiven England for the whole taxation without representation debacle back in 1776 and looks to get a little payback whenever possible. America brought out its wallets and relaxed after a hard day working, learning and playing as the first ever Red Nose Day USA concluded.
Opinion by Martina Robinson
Red Nose Day Official Site – Homepage
HNGN- Red Nose Day 2015: Matt Lauer Finishes 226-Mile Red Nose Tour From Boston To NYC
NBC- Red Nose Day App
Gaudian Liberty Voice- Red Nose Day Now a Friendly International Competition for Charity [Video]
Photo courtesy of Gerald Davidson’s Flickr Page Creative Commons License