The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation raises over $40m for climate change projects, including one person who paid $120,000 to play poker with Jonah Hill and Edward Norton.
While Donald Trump may believe that climate change is a hoax created by the Chinese, the rest of us with half a brain are compos mentis enough to see with our own eyes the damage our decision making is having on the world. But with the hopes of our planet tied to the dollar and politics more concerned about building walls to keep folk out than changing the world we desperately need new heroes who view existential threats as their Lex Luthor.
Leonardo DiCaprio is one of them.
When he was a child, his parents hung the Triptych of the Garden of Delights above his crib. The transformation and eventual erosion of the Garden of Eden bothered him even at that age.
Six Academy Award nominations later and the actor is using his vast wealth and superstardom to help save our world through the creation of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF).
Created in 1998, the Foundation wants to protect the planet by implementing ‘solutions that help restore balance to threatened ecosystems, ensuring the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants.’
In 2016, DiCaprio used the platform of the Oscars to remind the world that climate change ‘was real.’
“It is the most urgent threat facing out entire species,” DiCaprio said after receiving his Best Actor award for his role in The Revenant.
Earlier this year he marched alongside more than 300,000 people, from 150 different countries, in the People’s Climate March. UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon also joined the movement, and DiCaprio is said to have had the loan of his ear.
He also addressed the United Nations during the signing of the ‘Paris Agreement’ where he said:
“Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong. An upheaval and massive change is required, now. One that leads to a new collective consciousness. A new collective evolution of the human race inspired and enabled by a sense of urgency from all of you.”
Charity and Poker
One of the ways that the LDF accumulates wealth is to host charity fundraisers. The first raised more than $28m for the foundation, and the second, and most recent, raised more than $48m from the beautiful surroundings of St.Tropez, France.
Real Estate investor Tom Barrack paid $11m to acquire a home on DiCaprio’s Belize Island (yes, he owns an island). Someone paid $1.6m to accompany Prince Albert II of Monaco on an Arctic expedition, and a private concert with Elton John sold twice for $3m.
The reason I am putting pen to paper is that a Sit n Go with Jonah Hill, Edward Norton, and some undisclosed ‘top poker professionals,’ also sold for $120,000.
Jonah Hill’s poker savvy is unclear, but we do know that both Norton and DiCaprio featured in the infamous Molly’s Game alongside the likes of Ben Affleck and Tobey Maguire. Norton was said to be one of the top players in the game. DiCaprio’s part wasn’t as glamorous. Maguire used the Oscar winner’s star status to attract the big whales.
The LDF Foundation isn’t the only charity to use poker as a vehicle to amass a few bucks. The 47th Annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) has recently shuttered its doors for another year, but not before raising more than $3.2m for the ONE DROP Foundation. Since the partnership began the WSOP and ONE DROP has raised more than $14.7m to help provide drinkable water to areas that most need it.
Matt Damon Reminds The World That Poker is a Game of Skill
Edward Norton will always have a place in poker’s heart for his portrayal of Lester “Worm” Murphy in the 1998 hit movie Rounders, and Matt Damon recently talked about that period of his life during an interview with the BBC.
Damon was talking about his upcoming movie Jason Bourne when attention turned to poker:
“When we made Rounders poker was this subculture that nobody knew about. Nobody knew the level to which it was a game of skill.” Said Damon.
Maybe we should send Jason Bourne to sort out these politicians?
Here is a clip of the interview, including a pretty crap impression of Teddy KGB. The full interview is available on the BBCiPlayer.