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Matt Damon News Column
Relief funds for Haiti, Paul Newman
  • Matt attended the final session of the Clinton Global Initiative with Wyclef Jean, where Bill Clinton announced $100 million in aid relief for Haiti. A report from the Washington Post.

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    Former president Bill Clinton concluded his fourth annual philanthropy conference Friday by joining actor Matt Damon and rap artist Wyclef Jean in announcing about $100 million in recovery aid to hurricane-ravaged Haiti.

    The Haiti aid was one of the most significant announcements during a conference in which Clinton said hundreds of philanthropists, corporate chiefs and world leaders committed about $8 billion to initiatives that could affect 158 million people.

    About 20 organizations came together in pledging a combined $100 million toward improving education, health care, nutrition and business opportunities in Haiti, a Caribbean nation devastated this summer by a succession of four hurricanes. Clinton, who took a personal interest in Haiti when he and his wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), honeymooned there, likened the country to the South Asian region laid to waste by the 2004 tsunami and said he would seek additional funds in coming weeks.

    Jean, a Haitian native, said his foundation would provide thousands of meals for hungry families, microenterprise grants for businesses and seeds, fertilizer and training for farmers. Damon's ONEXONE foundation said it would raise at least $3 million for local nongovernmental organizations in Haiti.

    Actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie did not attend the initiative but called Clinton on Friday morning and said they would help rebuild 12 schools in Haiti, as they have been doing in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina three years ago.

    "All this materialized in one month, and it shows you what we can all do if we work together," Clinton said. "This is the beginning."

  • A video of Matt at the earlier session discussing the work of H20 Africa is at YouTube, and more photos are at PopSugar. The commitment by OneXOne is outlined here.

  • The two-part interview with Matt and Wyclef on CNN last weekend discussing Haiti is available in full at All Things CNN.

  • Matt was interviewed earlier in the week (via video) for Conde Nast's World Savers Congress, which aims to promoting eco-responsibility throughout the $8 trillion travel industry. An article about the event is at MediaBistro, and three videos with Matt are available at YouTube.

    Matt discussing Americans abroad; early travels with his mother to Mexico and Guatemala, and the Presidential election and fighting poverty, including commending the candidates and their wives for their commitment to fighting poverty worldwide.

  • From an article at the South China Morning Post.

    So in the aftermath of the Emmys, which rewards stars for talent (or the lack thereof), here's a list of awards for the nicest and ickiest people in Hollywood, based on solid and reliable information from people who have been up-close-and-personal enough to know.

    Most down to earth: Matt Damon

    "Even before he became a big star, he was the nicest guy," says someone who has worked with Damon in both his pre-and-post fame days and who's been fishing with him. "And after he became huge, nothing changed. He's still the nicest, nicest guy."

  • Actor Paul Newman has died. Matt worked with Paul as the lead actor in The World of Nick Adams, which were live theatre readings in 2001 and 2002 to raise funds for Hole in the wall gangs, for which Matt was a patron and financial contributor. Some photos from the event are below. Matt discussed his admiration for Paul and how he became involved in the project to Extra in 2002:

    Matt Damon says, "Paul Newman called me up and to me, I’d sell used cars if he asked me to."

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  • 11 comments or Leave a comment
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 28th, 2008 07:23 pm (UTC) (Link)


    Thanks so much for all these 'goodies'. When people deliberately come together to do good it's very inspiring. Get it ... goodies? Ha!
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 28th, 2008 09:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
    It's always been my opinion that Matt's depth as an actor mirrors his depth as a person. He clearly is not looking for praise or reward--just the sense that he's doing the right thing, doing what his heart impels him to do. Thanks, Felicity, for continuing to chronicle the life of this good soul who will be a legend by the time he passes--many years from now, one hopes. We're all ministers to each other--some good, some not so good. Matt seems to be effortless staying on the path of good art and great humanity. He's a fine example for the rest of us. Although we're all flawed, we have to keep trying. Yay, Matt!

    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 29th, 2008 12:19 am (UTC) (Link)
    Wonderful comments - thanks I.B.

    I would like to think Matt's path is leading readers and fans in a more challenging and stimulating direction than perhaps five or so years ago. We're all learning with him.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 19th, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
    "I would like to think Matt's path is leading readers and fans in a more challenging and stimulating direction than perhaps five or so years ago"

    Yes, no doubt about that. I believe he was partying hard with Heath Ledger 5 years ago. Matt definitely took the high road after that. Maybe Lucy has been a good influence on him.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: September 28th, 2008 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Paul Newman

    The world lost a wonderful actor and humanitarian -- Paul Newman. I was reading appreciations and what struck me is how Paul avoided publicity and used the limelight to speak on behalf of his causes. (Matt also avoids the tabloid fodder.) Like Paul Newman, Matt also is looking for interesting and quality roles, and uses his name for charitable causes. Very similar qualities -- all things we admire in Paul Newman and Matt Damon.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 29th, 2008 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Paul Newman

    I've lost the quote at the moment, but Matt recently mentioned how he has adopted the Paul Newman model of philanthropy. If you are going to model yourself on anybody, Paul Newman is a pretty perfect example of actor/role model/philanthropist.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 19th, 2008 10:01 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Re: Paul Newman

    Also devotion to wife and family. I think Paul Newman is a good role model for that also. I hope Matt follows in his footsteps.
    mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: September 29th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC) (Link)

    Green Zone

    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 6th, 2008 12:56 pm (UTC) (Link)

    Did not know that...

    Matt Damon AND Paul Newman working together? I think I just shit myself in excitement. I'm sad I didn't get to see my two favorite leading men collaborating. Just fantastic.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 24th, 2008 04:57 am (UTC) (Link)

    the campaign

    Some years ago, my wife and I made it a practice to alternate between attending our church and visiting other churches in the communities we served. On one occasion as I was leaving following the service, I complimented the pastor and told him that I had enjoyed his sermon. I knew him well, had worked with him on many funerals and I’ll always remember his comment. He thanked me but advised me that he had to frequently remind himself that his job wasn’t necessarily to tell people what they wanted to hear but, rather, what they needed to hear.
    Unfortunately, no politician can get elected telling his constituents what they need to hear. He tells them what they want to hear and, worse yet, fails to tell them what his real intentions are if elected. Sometimes even the most eloquent stumble as Senator Obama did recently when he made clear his intention to “redistribute” the wealth.
    Wealth is a relative term and often misleading. By world standards, almost all Americans are wealthy. The man who makes $20,000 year considers the man who makes $50,000 wealthy and he, in turn, considers the man who makes $100,000 a year to be "rich."
    Equally misleading is the belief that when government provides something it isn’t going to cost as much as it would if it were offered by a provider in our "free enterprise" system. The only source of revenue that government has is taxation and, ultimately, everyone pays. When you raise the taxes on business that business, whether it be energy, health care, or banking raises what it charges for its services or products to offset those taxes as a cost of doing business and the average American, the everyday consumer, pays. Mr. Average American's taxes rise and so does his cost of living.
    Every time government provides a service our already bloated bureaucracy gets bigger as government uses more of its tax dollars to fund another bureau and the result is not an increase in the economy. Bureaus produce nothing.
    In evaluating the merits in voting for any candidate the best indicator has been and will continue to be past performance. Big government is not progress. It may be growth but most Americans are already overweight, myself included. It we encourage the private sector, the businesses in our country, to grow we’ll all get stronger not just bigger.
    I’ve often said that the only thing that doesn’t change is change itself but change for the sake of change is not progress.
    My mother often said that creeping socialism can’t be stopped, only slowed. Creeping socialism ultimately becomes communism so we’d better put on the brakes soon.
    From: (Anonymous) Date: October 24th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC) (Link)

    Matt the politician!

    Matt the politician! Who knew?
    I can not believe you take your star power and use it politically! Who the hell do you think you are! Madonna and the rest of you star brats will get a rude awaking when people stop going to see your movies and concerts just like the awaking Tom Cruise got! As far as Susan Sarandon goes don't let the door hit you on the way out!!
    I hope Obama loses big time!
    11 comments or Leave a comment