Citizenship is an important focus of The Walt Disney Company, and the Force is strong with Star Wars: Force for Change—an initiative that empowers people to make a positive impact on the world around them. It’s inspired by Star Wars fans and the countless hours they have dedicated to philanthropy over the past three decades.
In mid-2014, Force for Change launched with its first collaboration with UNICEF and simultaneously kicked off a sweepstakes to win a once-in-a-lifetime walk-on role in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Through this, Force for Change helped raise over $4.2 million in support of UNICEF Innovation Labs, which creates sustainable solutions to critical issues facing children around the world and has already helped more than 1.5 million children in more than a dozen countries.
At Star Wars Celebration earlier this year, Force for Changeannounced a partnership with UNICEF Kid Power, which empowers youth to get active and help others. With support from Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy and Star Wars: The Force Awakensdirector J.J. Abrams, Force for Change has been working closely with the team at US Fund for UNICEF to create programs in support of this innovative new initiative. One such example was this year’s “Art Awakens” campaign to auction off Star Wars-themed works of art by top contemporary artists. Disney also committed $1 million to support UNICEF Kid Power and provide 1 million food packets for malnourished children around the world.
In late 2015, Force for Change announced three new activations. With Code.org, a tutorial called “Star Wars: Building a Galaxy with Code” was released featuring Princess Leia, C-3PO, and R2-D2, as well as Rey and BB-8 from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The online lesson kicked off the third annual global Hour of Code campaign; in it, students learn to write code that allows them to create fun challenges and games using Star Wars characters new and classic. To date almost 200,000 classrooms and millions of individuals have tried the Star Wars tutorial.
In late November, Harrison Ford surprised fans from around the world with the announcement of a new Force for Change-themed sweepstakes in support of 15 causes across the globe. The charities were individually chosen by J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and the cast of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Through this activation, two winners and their guests won a trip to attend the red carpet premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and over $2 million was raised in support of these incredible causes.
Force for Change also kicked off an initiative in support of children’s hospitals across the US and the UK with events focused on bringing joy to kids in challenging situations through activities, games, character and talent appearances, and other surprises from a galaxy far, far away. This includes a unique program called “Master Your Force,” teaching kids to harness their inner strength through meditation and positive thinking. Additionally, children in select hospitals will get special screenings of The Force Awakens. The program continues in 2016 with the goal of expanding to additional territories worldwide.
With a bright future ahead, and new Star Wars stories to be told,Force for Change aims to continue collaborating with noble causes and encouraging others to be Forces for Change in their own community.
How will you be a Force for Change?