Former One Tree Hill and How to Make it in America star Bryan Greenberg hosted a charity event on Saturday, May 11, to help raise money for The Olevolos Project, a nonprofit that provides educational opportunities to children in Tanzania. Film and television stars including Gina Gershon, Luiz Guzman, Kid Cudi, James Lafferty, and Geoff Stults joined Greenberg at New York’s The General restaurant for the brunch event, where the host explained how he became involved in the organization.
“In 2010, I was traveling in Tanzania with some friends and I fell in love with the country and the people,” Greenberg said. “However, I was overwhelmed with the level of poverty in the country. I had never seen anything that bad; I just wanted to do something to help out in some way.”
Greenberg didn’t have far to look—his cousin, Dory Gannes, was already involved. “She said I could use my strengths, which was to get the word out there by using my friends,” Greenberg said. “I really believe the only way to get out of that kind of poverty is by education. The goal is to not just educate these kids for one year, but for a 10-year span. Then they can go back to their communities and help others. You can’t just throw money at people and expect them to figure it out. You have to educate.”
“I have to compliment Bryan because he does this all,” Gannes said, referring to the event. “He is one of our biggest advocates and fans. I am just thankful that he is taking his time [to help]. We are trying to do this on an annual basis. Fundraising is huge, we can’t do all of this stuff [and not raise] money.”
Greenberg said, in addition to his charity efforts, he is working on a new pilot and just released an album. “We just finished a pilot for the USA Network—we are still editing it,” he said. “I also completed another film. I have an album as well that I just finished, so I have a lot in the works.”
Greenberg’s One Tree Hill co-star James Lafferty and Geoff Stults (most recently of Ben and Kate) also attended to show their support.
“Bryan is a good friend of mine and he turned me on to the project,” Lafferty said. “I wanted to come out and support this great, thoughtfully minded project. Bryan was kind of my surrogate big brother on One Tree Hill. We have kept in touch since the show ended. We actually live in the same neighborhood in LA, so we are always seeing each other.”
Only a day before the event, NBC announced it would be picking up Lafferty’s new show, Crisis. “I am excited,” Lafferty said of his return to the small screen. “The show is a thriller. The story is about the FBI and the Secret Service getting to the bottom of a political crisis. I just loved the work and this was such a cool role. It’s an interesting project and I just love to be on set.”
Stults said he, like Lafferty, became interested in the project after talking to Greenberg. “I got involved with this because of Bryan. When someone you are close to gets passionate about something, especially something like this, it’s hard not to be involved. I wasn’t over in Africa and I didn’t see what he saw, but I know him so well and what affects him. When he is passionate about something, it makes it more personal. I am just happy to be included in it and to help out any way I can.”
Stults has also recently received good news: FOX picked up his new comedy, Enlisted. “It’s my favorite job that I have ever had,” he said. “It’s really about a group of army misfits. I try to go towards whatever speaks to me and I just really enjoyed this material.”
Visit The Olevolos Project website to find out more about this great cause.
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