The Ford model on his connection to children's charity, raising money in a rough economy and where you can find him all day Saturday.1
Ford model and blossoming philanthropist Lane Carlson talks like he’s reading an article about himself out of a magazine. His sentences are planned and descriptions of his meticulous charity work reminiscent of the back of a fundraising pamphlet. But strip away the beautiful externalities and there lies a children’s cause worth supporting.
Your interest in charity work started at a young age?
When I was fourteen, my family took in a severely handicapped year old who was labeled autistic, severely handicapped, partially blind and deaf. Her own mother was not in a point in her life that she could care for a child who needed specific care for proper development. My mom saw her deterioration and didn’t want her to be ostracized. We took her in from the time she was 3 1/2.
How did your mom know these people?
She was my aunt’s daughter…my cousin. Within the first six months of living with us, she started to walk and crawl. We gave her care to become part of this world. It made me realize how important it is to provide basic survival needs.
And that translated into your charity work now?
In 2004, I teamed up with a fellow model who wanted to start a charity in California. We both had something in our past that made us want to start a charity. We brought it to New York in 2006, and have so far helped 14 organizations.
Especially then in the last couple years, don’t you think the funds you raised could have an impact on children here at home?
The last couple years have been really tough in terms of sustainable donors and keeping people on. It’s not easy to get money from people who don’t have any, and even when they do have it… We’ve always been global. We partner with NGO’s that focus on countries overseas where there is much more lack of opportunity and access to help these children. I’ve seen it first hand.
So how much time do you spend on this?
Everyday I work on it. It doesn’t matter where I am traveling or what I do, I have my Blackberry and constantly making sure everyone is on cue. It’s a bit of problem actually; but we don’t have money consistently coming in, so we have to work for it.
How much money on average do you raise per organization that you support?
It depends. We’ve done small, affiliated events and large galas that raise $400,000 for [Sunflower]. Fundraising doesn’t have to be boring cocktail hours. I like to step outside the box and think of ideas that are fun and different.
And is the SEAPaddle NYC one of these affiliated events?
SEAPaddle is an opportunity to raise money for various organizations that support autistic children. My fundraising efforts to paddle around Manhattan will support that. Then later in day we have a charity poker benefit. The proceeds for that benefit Sunflower Children Charity.
To support autistic children and to get to know Sunflower Children Charity, join Lane on his trip around Manhattan this Saturday. Support Lane in his fundraising efforts at https://seapaddlenyc.dojiggy.com/carlsonlane and to purchase event tickets https://seapaddlenyc.dojiggy.com/registration. It might be the most beautiful thing you do all summer.
Posted by Emma Dinzebach at 12:00 AM
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