Actor Will Smith is big on social activism. He’s worked on initiatives centered on youth education, the improvement of inner-city communities, and the empowerment of underprivileged families. According to USA Today, his latest philanthropic project will focus on combatting global homelessness.
The West Philadelphia native has partnered with The World’s Big Sleep Out project; a global campaign designed to raise funds for one million individuals around the world who are battling with displacement. As part of the project—which was founded by social entrepreneur Dr. Josh Littlejohn—individuals in 50 cities across the globe will sleep outside for one evening to raise $50 million that will be allocated to organizations that are on a mission to combat homelessness. During the one-night event, Smith will participate in a bedtime story reading in New York City’s Times Square and there will be simultaneous live performances by other entertainers held in Los Angeles, Chicago, Madrid, Amsterdam and other cities. The initiative is a collaborative effort between Social Bite, the Institute of Global Homelessness, UNICEF, the Malala Fund, and the Robin Hood organization and is slated to take place on December 7.
“We want to send a message to the world’s political leaders to enact compassionate policy and find solutions for homelessness locally and the global refugee crisis that affects us all,” wrote Littlejohn in a statement on the initiative’s website. “We are a small, interconnected world. By collectively sacrificing our beds for one cold night we can reach out a hand of compassion and solidarity with those who need it most – homeless people on our doorsteps and refugees internationally.” Projects like The World’s Big Sleep Out are needed as homelessness is on the rise internationally. According to The Institute of Global Homelessness, there are 100 million people worldwide who have no housing.
Smith and his family have been dedicated to supporting the homeless population. The announcement about his participation in this initiative comes just months after his son Jaden Smith launched a Los Angeles-based vegan food truck that provides free meals for the homeless.