As part of her Celebrity Philanthropy course with Dr. Genevieve Shaker, undergraduate Rachel Hendrickson prepared this blog post about a celebrity giving back during COVID-19.
By Rachel Hendrickson
As January rang in the new year, individuals across the world celebrated with excitement. The clock turned 12:00, and people were filled with hope based on the potential opportunities that awaited. Now, only a few months later, the same feeling of hope seems to be vanishing quickly. The novel coronavirus pandemic has forced the world to pause, and individuals have been left with unmeasurable amounts of uncertainty.
Fear has become a reality for many as a result of job losses, financial struggles, isolation, and the COVID-19 virus itself. Finding reasons to celebrate has become quite difficult. However, one celebrity is utilizing his platform to bring a weekly dose of wholesome entertainment. John Krasinski created the YouTube channel SomeGoodNews to unite people across the globe with uplifting stories of gratitude, hope, and perseverance throughout these dark times.
From Hamilton to Home-base
While many may be sitting at home, muttering, “Will this pandemic ever end?”, John Krasinski, most famous for his roles as Jim Halpert in The Office and Jack Ryan in Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, created his channel to give back and make these unprecedented times unique for guests of his show. Although concerts, shows, sporting events and celebratory ceremonies have been canceled worldwide, Krasinski, with the help of his fans on the Internet, is using his celebrity connections to bring joy via video calls.
When one young girl’s dream of seeing her favorite musical Hamilton live was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Krasinski helped bring Hamilton to her. What began as a one-on-one video call quickly expanded as the original Broadway cast of Hamilton began appearing on the screen to perform. The intimate experience left the girl speechless; an experience that without philanthropy, would have cost hundreds of dollars to witness.
The following episode of Some Good News highlighted the heroes of the coronavirus pandemic: healthcare workers. Traveling virtually back to his hometown of Boston, MA, Krasinski partnered with the Boston Red Sox and David Ortiz, a famous former player, to extend a source of joy to the COVID-19 unit staff at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Through a video call, Ortiz announced the Red Sox would be granting the hospital staff four season tickets forever to thank them for their service.
Then, Krasinski set up a trip to Fenway Park for the unit staff, where they ran the bases, threw out the first pitches of the 2020 season, and were applauded virtually by the entire Red Sox team, the mayor of Boston and the governor of Massachusetts. Krasinski acted philanthropically and helped create a moment of fun for individuals working tirelessly, sacrificing their own health, and caring for those impacted by the virus. In the video comments, fans expressed that the stories moved them to tears. They hope that the channel continues on far past the pandemic.
The influence of celebrities
Celebrities in America are admired individuals who have great influence within society. In fact, celebrities can shape individual identities, and perceived connections with celebrities have been found to elicit real emotions. Therefore, during a time of crisis, celebrities can help shape attitudes and perceptions through the messages they send online and through the ways they connect with the public. Therefore, by highlighting only good news during this time, Krasinski has the ability to influence the public by increasing awareness of all of the great acts occurring and encouraging individuals to give back and be a part of these trends of kindness themselves.
Philanthropy continues despite the pandemic
The novel coronavirus pandemic is truly a time like no other and it has forced philanthropy to adapt to the changes. With events and celebrations canceled for the foreseeable future, individuals have had to find new ways to continue being hopeful and spreading positive news. Krasinski’s show Some Good News brings awareness to all of the kind acts and gestures happening around the world, and helps further kindness by giving back in special ways through his personal celebrity connections. The show is helping set a precedent that even during uncertain times, there will always be some good news to share, as long as people work to make it appear.
Rachel Hendrickson graduated from IUPUI in May 2020 with a major in health sciences and a minor in philanthropic studies.