There’s a knack to tapping the giving power of Hollywood celebrities. Trumpeter Herb Albert’s charitable work is tied to his career. He backs music education. For many, like actor Michael J. Fox, who established his eponymous foundation for Parkinson’s disease research, the largesse is a result of personal involvement in an issue or problem.
Then there's Kelly Sawyer Patricof, a former fashion model married to a movie producer, who has used her Hollywood connections for Baby2Baby, a nonprofit which taps a baby boom among Hollywood celebrities to help improve the lives of impoverished children in the Los Angeles area.
Patricof took over the foundation in 2011 with attorney friend and co-president Norah Weinstein. Baby2Baby supplies low income children with new diapers, gently used clothing, cribs, car seats and other youthful necessities through 68 partnering nonprofit organizations including the 1736 Family Crisis Center and the Venice Family Clinic.
Baby2Baby’s partners run the gamut from domestic violence shelters to children’s hospitals. “One out of three moms has to choose between giving their child a clean diaper or food,” Patricof told the New York Times. “We will not stop until we help fix that.”
Baby2Baby is one one of the fastest-growing nonprofits in California, distributing 2.5 million diapers annually, helping 100,000 children. It has plans to expand nationally.
What is striking about both founders is that they are comfortable moving in rarefied Hollywood circles and they know how to use social media for maximum effect. “It’s actually being quite old-fashioned in terms of grace and charm and humor, things that so many of these people who ask you for your money and time have forgotten,” said Modern Family actress Julie Bowen to the New York Times. “But it’s also knowing exactly how—not in an old-fashioned way—to take celebrity capital and spend it for charity.”
Baby2Baby’s co-presidents are personal friends with celebrity moms including Jessica Alba, Molly Sims, Nicole Richie and Rachel Zoe. By turning their social media accounts into promotional tools, they attract donations, corporate funding, 501(c)3 partner organizations and volunteers to help do the heavy lifting. Last fall’s third annual Baby2Baby Gala was presented by Tiffany and Company, sold out in a week and raised a record $1.7 million for the charity. Last December at a holiday event, Drew Barrymore and Alba posed with their children before a Baby2Baby’s logo. The shots were posted on Instagram, were shared and liked on other social media sites and ended up in the magazine Us Weekly and on the television show Access Hollywood.
Baby2Baby is actively seeking donations in both cash and kind, volunteers, and charity partners for distributing its donations. It’s a great example of a foundation that has drawn on the personal interests of the wealthy to benefit the less fortunate.