Yesterday, the Dungeons & Dragons streaming sensation, Critical Role, announced the launch of the Critical Role Foundation, a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. Charitable causes have played a role in the voice actor helmed Twitch livestreams since the show’s inception in 2015. The Critical Role Foundation will give this work a dedicated, full-time home outside of the stream and will tackle “campaigns” that aim to “leave the world better than we found it” (Critical Role).
Voice actress Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us: Part II, Critical Role), who currently plays the Mighty Nein’s barbarian Yasha, spoke with Screen Rant on her role in tackling the nonprofit’s first charity campaign, as Critical Role Foundation president. The aim of this first project is to raise 50K for First Nations’ Native Youth & Culture Fund, a highly regarded nonprofit providing aid to Native communities in the United States. “Their entire board is Native American as well as most of their staff, and not to mention they’re the most highly rated American Indian nonprofit,” Johnson told Screen Rant when asked why First Nations was chosen as the Critical Role Foundation’s first partnership “they’re also incredibly transparent. And that’s a big deal to us because we want transparency with our audience in our community.”
The Critical Role Foundation’s 50K goal will help establish two Native Youth & Culture Funds, one at Zuni Pueblo and one at Cochiti Pueblo. According to Critical Role’s website, these funds will be allocated to “strengthen and renew cultural and spiritual practices, beliefs and values by engaging youth and elders in activities that demonstrate methods for documenting traditional ecological knowledge systems and their related practices and beliefs, increases youth leadership through mentorship programs, and increase access to cultural customs and beliefs as a means of reviving or preserving tribal language, arts, history or other culturally relevant topics.”
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For our first campaign we partnered with First Nations Development Institute (@fndi303). They are an incredible organization and we couldn’t be more excited to work alongside them. As I’m sure you all know, when a major crisis occurs, marginalized communities feel the negative effects the most. 69% of Native non-profits expect to see a revenue decrease as a result of Covid-19. Our goal is to raise $50,000 to help fund their Native Youth & Culture Program for two tribes, The Zuni Pueblo and the Cochiti Pueblo, for an entire year. Critters, let’s show them how we ROLL. For more information, click on the link in my bio.
“The community blows us away on a daily basis,” Johnson commented on Critical Role’s past nonprofit initiatives, including their work with 826LA, Red Nose Day, OSD ,Pablove and OutRight Action International, via Screen Rant. The interviewer had specifically asked Johnson what would happen if this first campaign surpassed it’s 50k fundraising goal. Johnson stated “we’re in interesting times but I hope we blow past this goal for them because I just love this organization so much” (Screen Rant).
It took less than 24 hours for Johnson’s dream to become a reality. The Critical Role Foundation’s First Nations campaign raised 98K within the first day of it’s launch. An overwhelmed Johnson shared the news on Twitter.
WOW. You all have blown us away, yet again. So many happy tears this morning. 🙂 Thank you and we love you! https://t.co/BvNnVIn6z8
— Ashley Johnson (@TheVulcanSalute) September 25, 2020
During the Critical Role Foundation’s active campaigns, 90% of the donations go directly to the organization the nonprofit has partnered with and the rest get put into an emergency fund. This emergency fund will go towards helping with natural disasters and other emergencies as they come up. This assures that the Critical Role Foundation is always prepared to help in the case of an emergency, rather than having to put together a last-minute drive. “In the world that we’re living in it’s pretty important to be prepared,” Johnson commented on the impetus behind the emergency fund, via Screen Rant.
In addition to Johnson serving as president, Critical Role company executives Matthew Mercer (Critical Role, Overwatch) , Eduardo Lopez, and Rachel Romero will serve as officers and board members at the Critical Role Foundation, via CBR. Mercer, Critical Role’s dungeon master, joined fellow cast members with announcing the news of the Critical Role Foundation on Instagram yesterday, indicating that the nonprofit was a long time in the making.
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Today we launch a long-percolating labor of love… the Critical Role Foundation, our brand new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization! Our first initiative being to help fund the Native Youth & Culture Fund with the fantastic First Nations organization. 🙂 Head here for more details on what we are, what we are doing, and how you can help! https://t.co/42HxLVuBWQ
The nonprofit’s first campaign has proven as successful as their first Dungeons and Dragons campaign, which is promising for the Critical Role Foundation’s future charitable efforts.