Jerry Lewis tops list of celebrities who influence change
Volunteers say it’s all about the kids, but after that, animals are America’s pet cause
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 27, 2007
Mike Switzer 614.249.4092
Columbus, Ohio— Results from a Nationwide Mutual Insurance survey announced today show that Americans call Jerry Lewis the most influential celebrity for his work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Over 43 percent of respondents indicated he has been effective in getting the word out and driving change for the issue he supports.
“I’m always honored and humbled by the response of the American people to my efforts in behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association and ‘my kids,’” said Jerry Lewis, who will host his 42nd MDA Telethon September 2-3. “Their generosity has allowed us to provide important services and conduct vital research for 57 years.”
Not surprisingly, children’s and youth causes topped the list of most important causes for survey respondents, with 64 percent in support.
After that, survey results went to the dogs. Animals were the second-most popular cause, with 51 percent of respondents supporting Animal advocacy organizations. This may explain why former Baywatch star, Pamela Anderson, known for her support of PETA, was among the celebrities cited by members of generation X.
In addition to Jerry Lewis, older generations favored personalities like Bill Gates (health and education), former President Jimmy Carter (Habitat for Humanity) and Michael J. Fox (Parkinson’s disease).
Younger respondents showed support for causes like education and literacy, religion and hunger. They indicated that Oprah Winfrey (African children), Angelina Jolie (International children’s causes), U2’s Bono (world poverty) and Lance Armstrong (cancer) were effective in driving change. Generation Y showed more interest in international causes than older generations.
“It’s encouraging whenever you see people inspired to support a good cause,” said Chad Jester, president of the Nationwide Foundation, the company’s philanthropic arm. “But I hope that people won’t wait for their favorite celebrity to provide the motivation to support a good cause. Many nonprofit organizations are looking for volunteers all the time. Choose a cause you care about, and get involved now.”
Nationwide conducted the survey to stimulate dialogue about volunteerism. The company encourages its associates to volunteer through the On Your Side Volunteer Network, a program that matches volunteers with opportunities that coincide with personal passions and skills. Currently more than 4,000 Nationwide associates have volunteered more than 40,000 hours of time since the program launched two years ago.
Top 10 most influential celebrities:
1. Jerry Lewis
2. Oprah Winfrey
3. Michael J. Fox
4. Former President Jimmy Carter
5. Bill Gates
6. Angelina Jolie
7. U2’s Bono
8. Lance Armstrong
9. Katie Couric
10. Rosie O’Donnell
Top 10 most important causes
1. Children & Youth
4. Education & Literacy
7. Health & Medicine
Results of the survey commissioned by Nationwide are based upon online interviews conducted among a national representative sample of 462 adults, comprised of 222 men and 240 women, 18 years of age and older. Interviews were conducted by Market Tools Corporation between February 2 and February 9, 2007. The margin of error is approximately plus or minus 4.56 percent.
Nationwide, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest diversified insurance and financial services organizations in the world, with more than $160 billion in assets. Nationwide ranks #104 on the Fortune 500 list. The company provides a full range of insurance and financial services, including auto, motorcycle, boat, homeowners, life, commercial insurance, administrative services, annuities, mortgages, mutual funds, pensions, long-term savings plans and health and productivity services. For more information, visit www.nationwide.com.
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