Sophia Bush is an actress who consistently uses her platform for a good cause. It's refreshing, really. She is an ambassador for The Girl Project, has built three homes with Pencils of Promise, works with PayPal's The Giving Fund, and that's just the beginning. She's devoted countless hours to the causes closest to her and encouraged her fans and followers to give back, too.
We caught up with the former One Tree Hill star and got the lowdown on why giving back means so much to her and what her goals are for continuing her amazing streak of generosity and compassion in 2018. Prepare to be inspired.
Livingly: Why is giving back so important to you and how did you get started?
Sophia Bush: I'm really fortunate that I was raised by parents who always supported all my hare-brained ideas to try to change the world even as a little kid, you know beach clean-ups on Saturdays and fundraisers for the rain forest and the Amazon. They were always incredibly supportive and always told that me I could absolutely make a difference. And it's been the highlight of my life, really, as I've been working and been a career woman to have a platform that helps me do that on a greater and greater scale. And makes sure that I can give back and encourage others to do the same and have conversations about ways to really support our communities, whether they be neighboring or around the world.
Could you share a favorite story about a time you felt like you were truly making an impact?
I've built three schools with Pencils of Promise now, but when I went to Guatemala for the opening of my first school and I got to spend time with the kids there — you know, these young boys and girls who were gonna have an education, and speak to their families, especially for the girls, talk to their mothers about how this would make a difference in their daughters' lives — it was one of the most deeply meaningful experiences of my life to-date. I think that reminding ourselves that when we give back it has a ripple effect, it creates impact in ways that are long-lasting — it's the greatest thing I think we can do.
At Livingly, our motto is "Live life beautifully". What does living beautifully mean to you?
Living beautifully to me means being educated, being informed, being a person who is committed to making the world around them a better place, who comes from a moral true north of loving people and making sure everyone has equal opportunities and equal access to education — that's what makes the world a beautiful place. That and spending time in nature, for sure.
I think that's why days like today are meaningful — because it reminds people about what matters. And you can encourage people to go a step further. For me, getting to speak today on behalf of The Giving Fund that PayPal established, where they add 1% to every donation made on Paypal.com/giveback. Last year they were able to raise $48 million for charity. So for every $5, $10, $20 donation, every 1% that gets added onto those, it adds up to have an impact that's greater than anything that anybody could imagine in the moment when they're donating. And that to me is beautiful.
What is one of your giving back goals for 2018?
I'm really excited to see what 2018 brings to the The Girl Project. I serve as a global ambassador with them and we work in so many countries simultaneously to make sure that we're tackling and removing any barriers that girls have to secondary school education. And aside from educating women being morally the right thing to do, it's also an incredible economical requirement for the world moving forward. If we created gender parity tomorrow by snapping our fingers, we would raise the global GDP by 12 points. So it's not just emotionally important, it's important to the future of society and the world at large. And so for me, I'm excited to see where we go.
What is something that's on your Christmas list this year?
I would love people to donate to The Girl Project.