As far as we are aware, Isla has only publicly put her name to one specific charity, however, she has donated items to various charitable auctions. Isla seems to lean towards supporting children’s charities, which is no surprise given her love of being a mother!
“It’s easy to be cynical about celebrities doing charity work. But the same way a celebrity can sell a campaign for a shoe, you can raise awareness for something.”– Isla to Harper’s Bazaar Australia in 2013
In December 2015 Isla and Sacha donated $1m (£670,000) to be split equally between Save the Children and the International Rescue Committee to support victims of the conflict in Syria. Half of the donation went to funding a program to vaccinate over 250,000 children against a potential measles outbreak in Northern Syria; the other half was used to help support families – particularly women and children – with education, healthcare, shelter and sanitation in both Syria and neighbouring countries who are suffering as a result of the conflict. It is estimated that over 12,000 children have been killed in the conflict, with 7 million people displaced inside Syria and 4 million Syrians taking refuge in neighbouring countries.
Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save The Children said of the donation, “By allowing us to make their generous donation to Syrian children public, Sacha and Isla are helping highlight the tragedy of the issue today. These are desperate times for Syrian families facing bombs, bullets and torture in Syria. The couple’s donation will save many thousands of lives and protect some of the most vulnerable children”. David Miliband, CEO and president of the IRC also expressed gratitude to the couple, saying “Sacha and Isla’s donation is a great expression of humanity, and a challenge to do more for the most vulnerable. I hope it is an example to many others seeking practical ways of making a difference during the Christmas and New Year season.”
Isla wanted their donation to be private, saying “I think that it’s been very hard watching the international community really do nothing about the Syria situation for a long time, so I was actually…when you make a donation you do want it to be private, but I think it’s important that we highlight the issues that are going on for children in Syria because it’s very serious.”
Isla modelled a Christmas jumper and reindeer antlers to promote Save The Children’s 2015 Christmas Jumper Day campaign, to raise money for the charity. The campaign encouraged people to wear a Christmas jumper to work on December 12th and donate £2 to the charity to help vulnerable children and families both in the UK and abroad. Some of the items modelled by the celebrities in the campaign were available to purchase in ASDA. The campaign raised an impressive £11m.
In late 2013 Isla appeared in a campaign video promoting Save The Children’s 2013 World Marathon Challenge. Isla appeared alongside Disney actor Cameron Boyce, Bollywood star Kunal Kapoor, Kenyan former world record marathon holder Patrick Makau, and various children and acrobats in the advert directed by Mason Rose. It showed them each running a leg of the marathon in different parts of the world, with Isla carrying the baton in the United States. The campaign aims to raise awareness and funds for programs focused on child survival and well-being. On her involvement, Isla said “I recently visited Save the Children’s work in Brazil, and there is nothing more important than making sure every child gets the health and nutrition they need. All children should be able to reach their potential.”
The World Marathon Challenge is a global fundraising movement in which teams of children in America and around the world challenge themselves and each other in a relay race to run 26.2 miles – the equivalent of a full marathon – to help save children’s lives.The current world marathon record is just over 2 hours, the same time it takes for 2,000 children around the world to die needlessly. Breaking this world record can help kids have a better future.
Isla lent her name and time to Save The Children’s Breast Milk campaign in 2013, and travelled to São Paulo in Brazil in her role as an ambassador. The campaign aimed to raise awareness of the important benefits of breast feeding for not just newborn babies, but also for mothers. Receiving breast milk within the first hour of life will kick start a baby’s immune system and help protect them against diseases such as pneumonia and diarrhoea later in life. It can also decrease a mother’s risk of breast cancer, and help her bond with her new baby.
As to why she decided to dedicate her time to this cause, Isla explained that “There are some issues you think about tackling as a person, we all do, and they feel very overwhelming. This one feels like I at least could be fortunate to actually make a difference.” She breast fed both her daughters for two years, and it was “one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. My mother breast-fed me and I’ve always been that annoying person rattling off stats about the health benefits.” Isla felt lucky to have all the facts about the benefits of breast feeding, and as she felt so passionate about it she wanted to help inform others too. Additionally, Isla’s father Brian was a senior executive of Save the Children in Perth, Australia 30 years ago, and getting the chance to be involved in the same organisation was a natural fit for her – “It was when Save the Children was involved in the clearance of land mines in Cambodia, so when I got the email and saw the logo I felt very sentimental.”
Realising that breast milk is a powerful natural medicine for newborns, Brazilian authorities have set up milk banks in 210 hospitals across the country, and firefighter and ambulance crews help out by collecting and delivering breast milk. As a result of this initiative, infant mortality rates have been halved. During her trip, Isla toured hospitals, maternity units and milk banks to see how they manage breast milk supplies and use it to save the lives of newborns. She also talked to mothers who had benefitted from the milk bank programme as well as those who had then gone on to donate back to the milk bank, which Isla expressed her admiration for, saying, “I met a 20-year-old student who had a baby boy, was still studying at school, breastfed her own baby then pumped milk to donate to other mothers. We don’t want to be inconvenienced by waiting in line for five minutes for a chai latte but here are women with new babies, who are dealing with cooking, cleaning, working, studying and still find time to donate milk to strangers. It’s a big deal and very humbling.” This generosity was “inspiring”, she said. The trip was emotional for Isla as well, as seeing babies in intensive care “wasn’t easy – no one likes seeing tiny babies being so sick. We met one baby who was two months premature and was being kept alive by the donated breast milk.” It was also the first time she had travelled without her children! Her daughters stayed at home with daddy while Isla travelled with her brother.
“It was a life-changing trip,” she continued, “What I loved about breast-feeding was that bond of one-on-one time. The serotonin that’s released calms you down and connects you to the baby.” “I heard that 830,000 babies lives would be saved every year if they were breast-fed. Save the Children and I feel that countries need to increase their breast-feeding rates. This is such a natural way to stop babies from dying. We’re targeting the developing world, where women don’t have access to clean water to mix with formula or to sterilize bottles. There’s this new report called “Superfood for Babies” about breast-feeding, and the stats are just scary. I felt that no matter where mummy lives, she needs access to the support and the information to help her breast-feed if she wants to.”
All women deserve the support they need to breastfeed, if they choose to. Breastfeeding has important benefits for moms and babies everywhere, and can literally save lives in the developing world. Save the Children’s new report, Superfood for Babies, estimates that 830,000 babies could be saved if all women breastfed in the first hour of life. Exclusive breastfeeding for six months could save even more lives. Yet, the report explains, moms face four significant barriers to successful breastfeeding. They are cultural and community pressures, the health worker shortage, lack of maternity legislation, and inappropriate marketing of breast-milk substitutes.
Breastfeeding is the world’s most powerful defense when it comes to saving children’s lives. It offers babies the best possible protection against malnutrition, which leads to thousands of children dying every single day. Yet women who wish to breastfeed often face major barriers.
In 2009, Save The Children and Toys’R’Us enlisted the help of several celebrity mothers, including Isla Fisher, to design baby blankets to auction off online. Isla created an aquatic-themed baby blanket for the campaign, with bold, under the sea colors, including the deep blues, purples, & greens. All the blankets were auctioned off on Ebay, and proceeds were used to purchase and distribute blankets to children in impoverished areas across the US.
Bundled in Hope is a Toys“R”Us, Inc. philanthropic program to collect funds to help purchase baby blankets for infants in need in America. In 2009, this program will benefit Save the Children, a global humanitarian organization that works to improve the lives of children around the world.
All cash donated at Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide, online at Toysrus.com/BundledinHope, and through our baby registry fundraising program, along with 100% of all winning bids from the auction of blankets designed by celebrity moms, will be directed to Save the Children’s U.S. Programs as part of the Bundled in Hope campaign. Save the Children will use funds to purchase baby blankets for children in the most impoverished parts of the United States – such as Appalachia, the Mississippi River Delta, the Gulf Coast, and California’s Central Valley – and provide ongoing support in these regions through a comprehensive early childhood development program.
VISIT: Save The Children
In 2008 Isla was one of several celebrities who designed a new look for children’s TV character Igglepiggle from ‘In The Night Garden‘, to benefit Children In Need. Each design was framed and auctioned off on Ebay. Children in Need is the BBC’s UK corporate charity, providing grants to projects in the UK which focus on children and young people who are disadvantaged. They support small and large organisations which empower children and extend their life choices.
VISIT: Children In Need
Isla lent her support to the Jewish Community Centre in London in 2011, by decorating a bra for an online auction in aid of the community and cancer charity CancerKin. More than 40 celebrities took part in this campaign, all decorating bras donated by Triumph. Isla’s bra was typically colourful and sparkly, and was sold with a winning bid of £50. The bras were also displayed at an event at London’s Comedy Store in February that year. JCC creative director Juliet Simmons said: “We’re absolutely thrilled that so many well known names have embraced our Big Bra Auction and have loved seeing how imaginative everyone’s been. We hope to raise lots of money.”
The JCC for London celebrates Jewish culture. It is also inclusive: it’s for anyone interested in Jewish life and our programme of Jewish activities. It is not a place of worship, nor linked to any particular group, movement or synagogue. It’s a gateway into all things Jewish: from Jewish food to sport to Jewish arts to debate, with activties that emphasise the Jewish tradition of helping those in need. It’s a great place for Jews of all ages to meet other Jews; it’s a way of building a strong Jewish future for us and for our children through Jewish activities. The JCC actively welcomes observant and secular Jews, mixed partnerships, and non-Jews. Indeed, an important part of our vision is to create better understanding between different faiths and cultures.
Isla has made appearances at charity events over the years:
– 2015: Rock 4 EB Party
Raises awareness of and funding for research for Epidermolysis Bullosa; Ed Sheeran performed at this fundraising party, and Isla attended with friends Courteney Cox and David Spade (EB Kids)
– 2015: Sundance Film Festival – ‘Ladles of Love’ Event
Working to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks; Isla attended this event at the Bertolli Meal Soup Chalet during the Sundance Film Festival where she signed a ‘ladle of love’ to help achieve Bertolli’s aim of donating 400,000 meals to Feeding America (Feeding America)
– 2009: Feeding America’s Rock A Little, Feed A Lot Benefit Concert
Working to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks; Isla attended this benefit concert where artists such as Sheryl Crow performed to raise money (Feeding America)
– 2009: Feeding America Benefit at the Diet Pepsi House
Working to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks; Isla attended this event with friend Courteney Cox to raise money for the charity (Feeding America)
– 2009: EcoMom’s Sowing Hope In Congo Party
EcoMom is a charity encouraging mothers to create a healthy and sustainable world; this project aimed to bring awareness to the plight of women and children in war-torn Congo (EcoMom Alliance)
– 2007: Celebrities Unite This Holiday Season for the Darfur Crisis
Event raising awareness of the conflict in Darfur, Sudan
– 2000: Vinopolis Auction to raise money to save Orangutans
Orangutans are one of the most endangered of the ape species; Isla attended this auction in London (Orangutan.com)
– 1999: Launch of The Cancer Research Campaign’s New Logo
Cancer Research UK focuses on raising money to fund research into cancer; Isla used her Home & Away fame to promote the launch of its new logo (Cancer Research UK)
– 1999: Launch of Strip 4 Shelter Fundraising to Help the Homeless
Shelter is a UK charity helping people with bad housing or homelessness; Isla attended the launch of this campaign (Shelter)
– 1999: Europe Against Cancer Week/Non-smoking awareness promotion
The event provides a platform for European cancer societies, and shares good practice in cancer care; Isla attended the event, promoting awareness of smoking cessation in young people (ECL)
– 1998: Sea Smart Sea Safety Campaign Launch
Isla attended the launch of this campaign run by the Coastguard, which aimed to reduce the number of deaths caused by incidents on beaches and in the sea