Geno Carter utilized his celebrity connections to raise money at the third annual Geno’s World Fundraiser over the holidays. The fundraiser brought in nearly 20,000 dollars for the Carroll Center for the Blind, a non-profit organization that provides rehabilitation training for blind and vision impaired persons, allowing them to remain independent and engaged members of their communities.
By his own admission, Geno Carter is the consummate celebrity fan. Like many Americans, Carter loves the movies and television shows so much he wants to keep track of what actors do when they’re away from the studio or movie set.
For many years, Geno would follow celebrities on their official fan websites. As social media sites gained in popularity, websites became the norm for most celebrities. Many of them created personal Twitter and Facebook accounts with hundreds of thousands of ‘followers’ and ‘friends’. Although it started as something casual and fun, Carter began to see this as an opportunity to communicate with a vast audience.
About six years ago, Geno set up his own entertainment website, called Geno’s World where he would ‘chat’ via Twitter and Facebook with the celebrities he had long followed via the Internet. He would write about new movies or shows, and post interviews with celebrities promoting a certain project or cause. Unexpectedly, he found that most celebrities use these forms of social media not just to promote themselves, but to help other people and raise awareness of important charities. Geno decided to help them out, so he would promote their charity websites on Geno’s World, providing his celebrity acquaintances with another outlet to publicize their specific charity.
“I would write about certain celebrities and their latest movie or TV show, or about some project they were involved with and my website became more and more popular,” Carter said. “Over time, I became friendly with some great celebs – they know that I would never betray their trust and I will do everything I can to promote their great causes.”
About three years ago, Geno decided that it was time for him to get involved in his own charitable cause. He didn’t have to look far. Geno decided he would use his connections with the world of wealth and fame to raise money for the Carroll Center for the Blind, a Boston area non-profit organization that provides rehabilitation training for blind and vision impaired persons, allowing them to remain independent and engaged members of their communities. It is a cause that is near and dear to his heart – and his family. His father, now retired, served as case manager at the Carroll Center and his mother, a low vision therapist, just celebrated 30 years of employment!
So, with help from a number of people that he had never met in person, Geno started the first of his website fundraisers for the Carroll Center, providing detailed descriptions of the work at the center and explaining the critical need to raise money. People like Alyssa Milano and Kristen Johnston quickly responded with donations, excited to know more about the work of the Carroll Center. “I love you Geno . . . You guys are amazing,” Johnston wrote to him. Others followed. Movie actor Jason Biggs and his wife, Jenny Mollen, have submitted a generous donation to this year’s fundraiser.
In fact, thanks to late donations made by Kristen Johnston and her fans, along with Josh Groban and several of his followers, in just a few weeks the 3rd Annual Geno’s World Fundraiser raised nearly $20,000 for the Carroll Center.
The dialogue created between Carter and the celebrities goes far beyond words for a number of his supporters. In fact, last year several celebrities stopped by the Carroll Center to meet Carter in person and to visit the staff and clients of the Carroll Center.
After her first visit, Eliza Dushku wrote on her website: “The Carroll Center is an amazing place. We’ve had a chance to witness some of the incredible work and research they are doing on a daily basis to help those who have, or may be losing their precious, physical sight. The folks at the Carroll Center, like Geno and his wonderful Mother – THEY ARE REMARKABLE! Think about it and help with a donation to a GREAT cause. Join us!”
Television stars Chris Gorham and Michael Chiklis have visited the center, as well a popular New England sportscaster, Tina Cervasio. These celebrities were as excited to meet Geno in person as the Carroll Center and staff were to meet them. They left the Carroll Center as dedicated supporters, pledging to use their fame to raise funds for the organization. Both Gorham and Chiklis donated to Geno’s most recent fundraiser. Chiklis wrote “Please join me and my friend Geno in helping the blind this holiday season.”
This year, despite a cancer diagnosis, the upbeat blogger is more motivated than ever. With a constant stream of well wishes from his Hollywood supporters, he has now raised nearly $20,000 in this 3rd annual holiday fundraiser.
Geno says “I’ve been blessed to have so many great celebrities support the Carroll Center. It’s such a special place! The celebrities who have learned about the Carroll Center and responded are so very kind. The world needs to know the majority of celebs have huge hearts. Forget about the celebrity scandals that are in the headlines. There are hundreds of great celebs helping wonderful causes like the Carroll Center for the Blind.”