I remember watching Tom Hanks for the first time on ‘Bosom Buddies’. I loved that show. Who knew that he would blossom into such a big time movie star with amazing hits like ‘Big’, ‘Castaway’, ‘Apollo 13’, ‘Forest Gump’ and the ‘Toy Story’ series. You may be hard-pressed to think of a current actor who has had so many current hits. At 59 years old it seems he hasn’t aged a bit from his early days.
Tom Hanks’ fame has made him worth an estimated $390 million dollars and he has made sure that he had used his fame for a variety of charities and foundations. He supports 28 different charities and 27 different causes. In addition, he serves on the Board of Governors for the National Space Society. One of the foundations that he works with is the Women in the World foundation and in fact according to Looktothestars.org he is one of the only men celebrities that supports this foundation.
Women in the World was started in 2009 by Tina Brown. She was inspired by the heroic women leaders she had met through the Vital Voices Global Partnership. She then vowed to give women such as artists, activists, peacemakers, CEOs, and entrepreneurs who have enriched or saved lives and shattered glass ceilings a platform to convene and tell their story.
The Foundation was first launched in September of 2011 with the dual mission of not only giving out grants but also showcasing individuals and organizations around the globe who are working to improve the lives of women and girls. Since its inception, it has raised $2.6 million dollars and has made grants of over $1 million dollars.
Within the foundations first few months it made its first grant to Leymah Gbowee the Liberian activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. It has also awarded grants to non-profits led by women leaders. They have funded programs like Women in the World on Campus, the Women of Impact Awards program, out, and building and populating the information portal.
Besides being involved in the Women in the World Foundation, Tom Hanks is also a major supporter of environmentalism and is an investor in electric vehicles. He owns both the first production AC Propulsion eBox and a Toyota Rav4 EV. He regularly advocates for the search and execution of alternative fuels as part of his support for environmental protection.
Tom Hanks is often referred to as ‘the nicest guy in Hollywood’. There is a whole host of stories from people who have met him. Like the one story about when he met a couple at a gas station near his home in California. They told him that they thought his film ‘Larry Crowne’ was not very good. Then Tom Hanks reportedly responded “Gee, I’m sorry you were disappointed, how about letting me refund your ticket money?”, and then promptly offered them a $25 refund. There is also an endearing story about how he struck up an unlikely friendship with a cabbie in New York and ended up inviting him to his Broadway show ‘Lucky Guy’. The cabbie said, “The name of his show was Lucky Guy. How crazy is that? Cause that was me. A lucky guy!”
Well, it ended up being that we (the fans) are the lucky ones. To be able to have such a celebrity that cares about their fans and about other human beings so much. We could all learn a little by taking a page out of Mr. Hanks book.
Written By: Alisa Bashaw