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South by Southwest (SXSW, Inc.) is a private company based in Austin, Texas, dedicated to building and delivering conference and festival events for entertainment and related media industry professionals. Since 1987, SXSW has produced the internationally recognized Music and Media Conference & Festival and this year they’ve added a new twist.

SXSW, in conjunction with PayPay, have kicked off the first ever social-media smackdown and charity fundraiser at Mashable and Blurb’s SXSW Bash at Six Lounge in Austin.

Here’s how it works: PayPal has challenged nine celebrity teams to raise the most money for their chosen charities via social media sites and blogs. Fans can help by copying their favorite celebrity’s PayPal fundraising widget to their MySpace pages, Facebook page, or personal Web sites to encourage friends to donate.

The ‘Smackdown’ runs March 16-26, when PayPal will announce the winner and make an additional donation to the winning celebrity’s charity of choice.

Participating celebrities include Alec Baldwin, who is raising money for the Actors Fund of America.

“The Actors Fund is the pre-eminent organization for assisting all of my friends and colleagues in performing arts and entertainment around the country,” said Alec Baldwin, star of NBC television program “30 Rock.” “Most of those who work in this business are not stars – they’re working professionals who have no place else to turn when times are difficult. Please help them continue their vital work with your generous support.”

Also taking part are:

“I am proudly supporting Stand Up to Cancer, because this organization is determined to bring an end to a disease that affects one out of every two men and one out of every three women,” said actor and recording artist, Corbin Bleu. “There are amazing causes in this Smackdown, but I hope I can put a spotlight on SU2C and its pledge to end cancer’s reign as a leading cause of death.”

  • Ernie Johnson, benefiting Samaritan’s Feet
.

“I am honored to be the spokesperson for Samaritan’s Feet,” said Ernie Johnson, famous NBA reporter. “This organization demonstrates compassion to the poorest of the poor through servant leadership by washing their feet and telling them that they are loved. We are no different from them. We just happen to be born in the US and not a Third World country. I feel blessed and privileged to be the voice of these children who don’t have one.”

“Victory Junction is excited to participate in this charity challenge, which will raise awareness and funds for children with chronic medical conditions and serious illnesses,” said NASCAR driver Kyle Petty. “In these economic times, raising money is more important than ever, and we appreciate the fundraising opportunity PayPal, in partnership with Mashable, has given us to continue to deliver life-changing camping experiences.”

Other participating celebrities include Brea Grant for Girls Rock Camp Austin, Elevenmoms for Share Our Strength, Hayden Panettiere for The Whaleman Foundation, Linkin Park for Music for Relief, and Pete Cashmore for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.


Donations can also be made directly on the Charity Smackdown homepage, where details about the celebrity teams and their causes will be showcased.

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