The Red Nose Day fundraiser will now be celebrated in even more countries around the world for different causes, but all are worthy and desperate for extra funds. The United States will come on board the Red Nose Day bandwagon for the first time this year on May 21. The fundraiser has been held nationally in both Australia and the United Kingdom since 1988. Worthy causes such as escaping poverty, living with dementia, and SIDS and Kids have not only received critical funds, but plenty of media exposure to get these issues at the forefront of people’s minds.
The United Kingdom’s Red Nose Day uses the power of the media well. Red Nose Day, conducted with the help of celebrities, is the number one fundraising event on television in the United Kingdom. It is held every two years, with the last event on March 13 this year, raising so far a staggering £78,082,988. The fundraiser not only helps people struggling with poverty, but at the same time provides an avenue for participants to have fun. Participants are highly encouraged to make their faces funny, take a selfie, and share, or to dress up, have a danceathon or hold a bake-off. There are numerous other fun activities that participants can do to raise much-needed funds.
Funds raised from the United Kingdom’s event have helped more than 12 million people in not only the U.K. but across Africa, who were living unimaginably tough lives transform their future into a much brighter prospect. In the United Kingdom, families living in poverty have been provided with food, and funds have also assisted dementia sufferers to lead the best lives they can, whereas in Africa, many mothers and children have been protected from deadly diseases, and thousands of children have had access to life-changing education.
Although Australia’s Red Nose Day is more of a scaled down event compared to the United Kingdom, it is still one of the country’s major fundraisers. Held annually in Australia on the last Friday of June, fundraising activities, such as wearing red noses or putting red noses on vehicles, have raised more than $16 million for education and research programs into Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Founder of the Sudden Infant Death Research Foundation Inc. Kaarene Fitzgerald had experienced the personal tragedy of losing a child just one day prior to starting the formation of the organization in July 1977. About 10 years later, Victoria held the first Red Nose Day in Australia, and when it became a national fundraiser in 1988, it was the initiative and foresight of Fitzgerald to encourage the National SIDS Council of Australia’s member organizations to use this unique method of fundraising. Red Nose Day continues today as the major fundraiser for SIDS and Kids. It is also an awareness-raising campaign about the issues surrounding sudden infant death.
May 21, 2015, will see America host its first-ever Red Nose Day. The stage has been set for a similar version to the United Kingdom’s Red Nose Day, with a star-studded line-up, including the likes of Will Ferrell, Michelle Rodriguez, Gwyneth Paltrow, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera, and Bill and Melinda Gates to participate in the event, which will be televised for three hours on NBC.
Also similar to the United Kingdom event, America’s Red Nose Day will raise funds for youngsters living in poverty in not only the U.S. but Africa, Latin America and Asia. Funds raised will be distributed between Boys & Girls Clubs of America; Feeding America; Children’s Health Fund; Oxfam America; Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; Save the Children; United Way; and other similar charities.
As one can see, Red Nose Day has been held as a successful fundraiser around the world for various causes. As such, one can expect that the American fundraiser will be no different.
Opinion by Rebecca Brown
Red Nose Day
Photo by anna_t – Creativecommons Flickr License