By Tim Saunders on
A survey has named comedy actor Jerry Lewis as the most effective celebrity for charity causes, with 43% of those surveyed saying he is the best at raising funds and driving change for the issues he supports.
The survey, carried out by the Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, put the 81 year old veteran of movies including “The Nutty Professor” at the top of a list of ten philanthropic celebrities, such as Oprah Winfrey, Michael J. Fox, Jimmy Carter, Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie, Bono, Lance Armstrong, Katie Couric, and Rosie O'Donnell.
Jerry Lewis helped establish the Muscular Dystrophy Association in 1952, and has organized and hosted a Labor Day Telethon every year since 1966. His fundraising efforts have raised over $2 billion for neuromuscular care and research, with last year’s telethon raising $61 million alone. He has also been involved with fundraising for The Salvation Army and the American Red Cross. He is the only media celebrity to have been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
“I’m always honored and humbled by the response of the American people to my efforts on behalf of the Muscular Dystrophy Association,” said Lewis, who will host the 42nd Labor Day Telethon on September 2 and 3. “Their generosity has allowed us to provide important services and conduct vital research for 57 years.”
The survey also investigated the issues that Americans find most important. The results showed that causes to help children and animals are the most popular, followed by education and literacy, services for the elderly, religion, health and medicine, the environment, and aid for disabled people.
Respondents of the survey aged between 18 and 42 were more interested in international causes, and were more likely to be influenced by celebrities such as Oprah and Bono, who work with developing countries to ease poverty. Respondents over the age of 43 were influenced more by older celebrities, such as Bill Gates, who supports health and education issues, and Jimmy Carter, who works with Habitat For Humanity.
42% of those surveyed said they want to donate more time to charity, but cannot find the opportunity.
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