Edward Norton has had some intense roles during his career. He garnered an Academy Award nomination for his role as reformed Neo-Nazi Derek Vinyard in 1998’s “American History X.” The following year, Norton starred in the critically acclaimed film version of Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. However, Norton may be seen at his most intense when he is fighting to promote global development.
Norton comes from a long line of charitable voices. Norton’s father, Edward Mower Norton, was an environmental lawyer and proponent of conservationism. The elder Edward Norton co-founded Enterprise Community Partners. Enterprise is an organization that seeks to fund and provide housing for low-income communities. The younger Edward Norton is now a key member of Enterprise’s Board of Directors and is responsible for helping the organization invest an eye-popping $9 billion total for affordable housing.
A key tenant of Norton’s advocacy is environmental consciousness. Norton is the president of the American chapter of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust. The Trust works to preserve the ecosystems and landscape of East Africa, which in turn provides essential resources for the Maasai people.
To garner larger support for his cause, Norton founded an online fundraising platform called CrowdRise. To date, Norton has raised close to $70,000 for the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust while creating an innovative social media site for various charitable causes.
In 2010, the United Nations nominated Norton as a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity. In this capacity, Norton spoke at the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012.
“I think that it really is true that local efforts are critical,” said Norton in an interview with the U.N. News Centre. “At the end of the day, no big national agency, no huge NGO, for all the good they do…they cannot do all the work in a specific community.” Norton’s words and his incredible charitable background are a testament to the power an individual advocate can hold.
– Taylor Diamond
Sources: United Nations, Fast Company, Maasai Wilderness Conservation, Crowdrise
Photo: Hot Secretz