Edward Norton launches charity fund-raising website

Wed May 12, 2010 8:07pm EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - For actor Edward Norton, philanthropy and activism are practically in his genes so launching a website on Wednesday to encourage charity fundraising seemed natural to him.

Norton, 40, joined forces with a couple of Internet savvy friends to create Crowdrise (www.crowdrise.com) that gives people a free way to create their own fundraising pages to share through social networks, winning points and prizes along the way.

Crowdrise was developed after Norton found Twitter a huge help when he raised $1.2 million for his long-term cause, the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, by running New York's marathon last year. Donors vied for prizes for sponsoring him.

"People use Twitter or Facebook because it's a way to share their personal narrative but we wanted to give people a platform to say, these are the causes I care about, I am volunteering and sponsor me," Norton told Reuters in an interview.

"We wanted it to be something with the substance of activism and engagement but the fun, ease and dynamism of social networking."

Norton, known for such movies as "The Incredible Hulk," "The Illusionist," and "Fight Club," is a committed social and environmental activist, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and his father.

His grandfather, real estate developer James Rouse who designed the city of Columbia, Maryland, set up the non-profit Enterprise Foundation that aims to move families out of poverty and develop decent affordable housing in low-income areas.

His father, also called Edward, is a former federal prosecutor who is now a leading conservation advocate.   Continued...