Rapper Ludacris Encourages People to Give Back

Karen D. Lawrence | 10/28/2009, 11:38 a.m.

Rapper and actor Chris €Ludacris€ Bridges encouraged philanthropy among National Press Club members and D.C. residents at a luncheon on Fri., Oct. 23.

The luncheon kicked-off a weekend of fundraising efforts for Bridges€ Atlanta-based Ludacris Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the youth of Atlanta and the community at large, focusing on three main tenets€"leadership and education, community outreach through the LudaCares program, and promoting healthy living.

After acknowledging the media and the general public, Bridges spoke about the importance of philanthropy and community activism.
€America has a great promise, but it is unfulfilled,€ he said. €In today€s world we have new issues and new challenges. We need lateral thinking outside of our current frame of reference,€ Bridges said.

Bridges explained that he established the Ludacris Foundation to maintain his commitment to youth. The Ludacris Foundation strives to help young people and the community at large by preparing them to be successful through education, efforts promoting healthy lifestyles and preventing obesity.

The Ludacris Foundation boasts 3,500 hours of hands on community service through such programs as the LudaCrismas for metropolitan Atlanta children to educating the public on finding solutions to prevent youth from running away from home through the Foundation€s partnership with Runaway Switchboard.

The Foundation donated over $100,000 to provide four months of rent-free, fully furnished homes for 15 families who were victims of Hurricane Katrina. He also formed a stimulus package through LudaCares, in which the Foundation partnered with local car dealerships and gave away 20 cars€"a little something he refers to as a €hand up, not a hand out.€

The Ludacris Foundation also recently raised $100,000 for the recent Atlanta flood victims, with both Bridges and fellow rapper/actor Clifton €Tip€ Harris, better known as T.I., donating $10,000 from their own pockets. They garnered more financial support from other colleagues and raised over $80,000 in eight hours.

€A lot of people criticize the hip-hop community,€ Bridges stated. €But this is an example of the hip-hop community giving back.€

Bridges went on to say that his philanthropy reached beyond €corporate institutional giving but likeminded individuals pooling their resources.€

Bridges answered a range of questions from the National Press crowd that included how he felt about celebrity influence and the origin of his passion for service. Others posed questions about Bridges expanding his efforts outside of Atlanta, and the tension between his lyrics and his capacity as a role model. Some youth in the audience asked what they could do to help, which Bridges offered a simple solution: lead by example.

€I think that most people feel that they don€t have influence among enough people. It€s not about having influence among a lot of people, but having influence over a single person, can be enough. It may be a younger sibling and that is reason to try to make a difference and lead by example,€ Bridges said.