Cause Celeb highlights a celebrity’s work on behalf of a specific cause. This week, we speak with actor and comedian Brian Haley about his work with World Vision, a Christian relief, development and advocacy organization. Haley began his career as a standup comic and later expanded his work to TV series and movies such as "The Departed" and "Little Giants." He has recently appeared in "30 Rock" and "The Adjustment Bureau," and continues working for his production company Sky Blue Productions. Haley has been a sponsor for World Vision for 15 years, and has been promoting the organization’s goals and achievements to help the impoverished.
Other celebrities collaborating with World Vision to promote their cause are 'Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek and veteran weather anchor and TV host Susan Hay; both traveled on service trips to aid those in need.
Interviewed via email by Lauren BuschIntroduction by Anna Wiggin
Q: World Vision’s mission statement is “to follow our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in working with the poor and oppressed to promote human transformation, seek justice, and bear witness to the good news of the Kingdom of God.” What does this mean to you, personally?
Haley: That sounds very evangelical, but World Vision is one of the largest relief organizations in the world. The good book says, "if I have not love, I am nothing." There is nothing more central to the message of Christ than to love others. World Vision is in the most dangerous places on Earth meeting the needs of the destitute. Supporting these people is the least I could do and a humbling experience.
Q: Why did you choose to become involved with World Vision? What is your role in the organization?
Haley:I have no official role with World Vision; that's Alex Trebek's job. I have sponsored a child in Zimbabwe for the past 15 years and I promote their organization as the opportunity arises.
Q: Everyone has different strengths they bring to organizations; how does being an actor/comedian contribute to your charity?
Haley: I don't know. So many people seem to use charities for... shall we say various purposes? It seems every other notice you get on Facebook is to attend some sort of benefit. Not that I mind benefits, I just wonder how altruistic these people really are and how much money ever makes it to the benefit part of the benefit.
I have the ability to tell a lot of people about World Vision that many people don't have, but I feel small compared to the people that work in these grief-stricken regions. If anything, World Vision makes me look good, not vice versa.
Q: Can you tell me about an experience you had with the organization that was especially moving?
Haley: To watch my sponsored child grow into a young boy, and then into a young man, has been very rewarding. He lives in an area of Zimbabwe that is quite impoverished. That he has his basic needs met and is able to go to school and is safe is very rewarding. Not many in that region have the opportunities he has, and I was a part of making that happen. He sends me thank you notes. I feel like his dad.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add
Haley: I chose to support World Vision because I read in an independent review of major charities and they had the lowest administrative costs of all the major relief and development organizations. With World Vision, 85 percent of your donation makes it to its intended purpose. That's extremely low overhead for a charity.