The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) and the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, a non-profit based in Chicago that helps separated migrant children, announced Wednesday that they had both received a $1 million gift from Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.
According to a press release from the Young Center, the donation from Reynolds’ and Lively’s “donation will be used to support the NAACP LDF’s ongoing and expanded efforts to strengthen our democracy and advance racial justice; their gift to the Young Center will help to establish the Waymaker Fund for Immigrant Children, which will protect the rights of immigrant children separated from their families.”
“We’re blown away by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the Young Center’s commitment to not only justice and democracy, but humanity,” said Lively and Reynolds in a statement.
They added, “Over the last few years, our perspective has grown and we’ve realized we have to do everything possible to foster more compassion and empathy in this world. History’s being written right now. We’re grateful to give back to organizations who give voice to so many.”
According to the non-profit, the Waymaker Fund will “ensure that attorneys, social workers, and volunteers defend the rights and best interests of immigrant children who migrate to the United States by themselves or have been forcibly taken from their parents.”
The press release also stated the fund will work to combat “the administration’s continued attacks on immigrant children’s rights.”
“LDF is thrilled to receive this generous gift from Blake and Ryan. We have been impressed by the strength of their commitment and support, and by their sincere and deep concern about the issues that lie at the core of LDF’s work,” said LDF President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill.
Maria Woltjen, the executive director of the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, also praised Reynolds and Lively in the press release, saying the non-profit is “deeply grateful for this extraordinary gift.”
Woltjen added, “Their donation will help ensure that the most vulnerable immigrant children – who are in detention facing deportation – will have an advocate to protect their rights and their best interests.”
Earlier this year, Reynolds joined actors Mandy Moore and Bradley Whitford in donating to 2020 Democrat presidential hopeful South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Ryan Reynolds, a Canadian, expressed remorse in 2016 after he was not able to vote in the presidential election, saying “I would have loved to have voted in this election, now more than ever, but I didn’t get to have a voice.”
“I can understand so much of the fear that comes from this huge portion of the population that’s going to feel disenfranchised and that’s experiencing a tremendous amount of anxiety about their future,” Reynolds said at the time. “Minority groups, women, LGBTQ communities — those are all communities that I think are rightfully very afraid for the moment and I’m afraid with them and for them.”