NET WORTH: Unknown
SOURCE of WEALTH: Actor, Model
FUNDING AREAS: Environment, Animals, Youth
OVERVIEW: Somerhalder founded the Ian Somerhalder Foundation in late 2010. The foundation aims to empower, educate, and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures. Somerhalder, born in Louisiana, was moved to philanthropy in part because of the devastation of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
BACKGROUND: Ian Somerhalder was born and raised in Covington, Louisiana. As a youth, he began a modeling career that took him to New York each summer. As a teen, he began studying acting in New York. His fate was sealed while working as an extra in a club scene in the feature film Black & White. A talent manager visiting a client on the set spotted Somerhalder in a crowd scene and signed him. Somerhalder has since been in television series such as Lost and Vampire Diaries.
ENVIRONMENT & ANIMALS: Somerhalder said he was motivated to philanthropy by news coverage of the BP oil spill in his native Gulf Region: “watching a family member die... I’d just wrapped ‘Vampire Diaries,’ and found out about the oil spill and was so angry. I literally packed everything, grabbed my two pets, rented a car and hauled ass back home to Louisiana.” In response, Somerhalder founded the Ian Somerhalder Foundation on his 32nd birthday. The foundation aims to improve the world by "distributing funds and resources towards global conservation, green energy development/deployment and educational tools, creating awareness that global deforestation can be seen as a national/international and global security risk, creating mobility by engaging and supporting youth, ending animal cruelty and promoting programs, and supporting and creating sustainable strategies for 'no-kill shelters.'"
The foundation runs a grants program called the ISF Emergency Medical Care Grant for Animals which was launched in 2014 to help "rescuers care for animals recovering from abuse, neglect and traumatic injuries." According to 2015 tax returns, ISF recently granted over $110,000 helping over 700 creatures, including dogs, cats, horses, and other farm, exotic, and wildlife animals. The foundation will award a maximum of $2,000 per grant application.
The foundation also works in public outreach, providing "information to educate and engage supporters and create public awareness of issues that are vital to the foundation's charitable mission."
Through the foundation's Creatures Division Program, the foundation supported spay and neuter efforts in Mississippi in collaboration with St. Francis Animal Sanctuary. ISF has also purchased property in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana for preservation as well as towards youth and community needs.
LOOKING FORWARD: Somerhalder is only in his 30s, but his interests in the environment should be watched carefully. His new wife, Nikki Reed, is also an environmental advocate.