How Golden Globe Winner Jamie Lee Curtis Is Giving Back In A Big Way This March (And Every Day, Really)

Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis arrives at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, February 28, 2021

Photo Credit: Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Giving back is a major part of Jamie Lee Curtis‘s life. In fact, the Golden Globe-winning actress is so dedicated that she actually started a charitable online store — My Hand In Yours — last year, where 100 percent of the profits go to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, with which she’s been involved for the past 25 years. Today, just one day after presenting at the 78th Golden Globe Awards, she’s helping CHLA kick off its Sixth Annual Make March Matter™ Fundraising Campaign (for the first time virtually). The month-long campaign aligns the hospital with local businesses who rally community participation to support children’s health. More than 75 businesses and corporate partners in Los Angeles and the Coachella Valley have committed to help the hospital exceed its $1 million goal to provide critical, life-saving care for every child they treat (which is more than 600,000 patient visits a year involving a broad range of health issues, from common illnesses to traumas to chronic diseases). Here, find out why Curtis gives back, why the organization is so personally important to her and how she’s continuously managed to create and innovate at this dark time.

Jamie Lee Curtis at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Halloween’ held at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, USA on October 17, 2018.

Photo Credit: Tinseltown/Shutterstock.com

It’s so exciting that you will be speaking at CHLA’s Make March Matter Kick-Off event. Why is this campaign so important to you?

It was interesting. Id didn’t know it was going to be a campaign to be honest. I thought it was going to be something that I could do that came from my mind into my being. I have collected small little sculptures (shows feet) made by a wonderful sculptor named Anne Ricketts. I have collected those for a long time, little hands, little feet – and I had an idea for years whenever I wrote someone a letter of condolence, a letter of support, if I sent flowers, if I sent a gift, I would write ‘My hand in yours, Jamie’ which was my way of saying ‘I love you.’ Imagine what I’m doing right now because I’m holding your hand. Obviously I’ve been doing that for a long time, I’m old, and I had this idea one day, ‘What if someone made a sculpture of two hands holding. I sold it and gave the money to Children’s Hospital. It was my original idea. I originally thought that Anne Ricketts, who I went to, would make this beautiful, small sculpture of two hands intertwined. I went to her, I asked if she would partner with me, she donated her services – the creation of it, she did for me – and I paid for the production. My original idea what to sell them on Instagram and make some money for Children’s Hospital. It was kind of a win-win. That was before Covid, and then Covid hit. I had this idea already cooking. I went to a website designer [Oliver] and I called him and told him what I was doing… to offer comfort items to people in times of crisis, and he said, ‘Beautiful. How many did you order?’ I said, ‘100.’ He said, ‘You’ll sell those in a day. Jamie, you have a good reputation, people understand that your heart is in the right place, you’re raising money for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, for the most vulnerable creatures, children. People will join you. People will support you. You need to have more than that to sell.’

I went to my friend Cathy Waterman, who’s a jeweler and I asked her to make a silver pendant of a hand. I went to a potter I knew – I collect her orbs. All of a sudden I started expanding. The next thing I knew – the price point were quite high for these items – and people would write to me saying they couldn’t [afford certain items] but wanted to participate [so I expanded] , adding a little medallion, which is $12; a beanie; wind chimes; coffee mugs. I opened a store, where any penny you spend, anything you buy, that money is given to Children’s Hospital. There is 0 overhead. I underwrite the whole thing. 100 percent of every sale goes to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I think it might be the only company of its kind in the world where the money you pay goes directly to a wonderful charity. It’s grown from August 4th last year to the beginning of March, which is a very important month for CHLA, because they have this program called “Make March Matter” which is their way of saying to the community, ‘Get involved.’ It connects the community at large in a philanthropic way. As of March 1st, we have already at My Hand in Yours raised $225,000 for CHLA.

Jamie Lee Curtis
Jamie Lee Curtis arrives at the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, CA on Sunday, February 28, 2021.

Photo Credit: Hollywood Foreign Press Association

Why does this hospital mean so much to you personally?

It’s so funny. I was thinking about why. Every human being has known a sick child. There is nothing harder than a sick child, and a critically sick child, a terminally sick child, is one of the saddest things that we as human beings have to endure. The reality is there are sick children. The reality is children get sick. I have known sick children, I have known their families, and the powerlessness that you feel when you have a sick child. The miracle is that there are institutions all over the world that are dedicated to helping those children. I’m born and raised in the City of Angels. CHLA accepts any patient regardless of their ability to pay for that treatment. I can’t imagine in my privileged, boujie life, that there is anything more important that, there is any endeavor more important than that. There are plenty of areas of advocacy in the world. right now obviously there is a lot of advocacy that people can focus on. For me, you can’t focus on that advocacy until you have dealt with a child who is struggling to stay alive. I just decided a long time ago, through various contacts with critically ill children, that I would dedicate my life to it and bring my attention to them. I’m born and raised here, they are my children’s hospital, and they are wonderful people and deserve our support. That’s why Make March Matter was a good way of hearing me say that, but also [thinking], ‘Oh, if I go to Panda Express, if I go to Randy’s Donuts, I can help? I’m in!’ There are different ways people can participate and connect, and that’s what we’re trying to do here.

Make March Matter Photo Credit: CHLA

You started this before the pandemic, but does it make you feel even more empowered knowing that you’re doing something significant for people whose lives are so much harder?

Yes. I will be honest. Please know, I’ve been working with CHLA for 25 years now. I’ve been on their Board, I’ve participated with them in campaigns to raise money in bond initiatives here. Obviously everybody I know is trying to find a way to help out during this time. I know people who sewed masks, who adopted nurse families. I think people have completely shown up in so many ways. Crisis shows us who we are. It just does. Maybe crisis shows us who we’re not.

Make March Matter Photo Credit: CHLA

What have you found about who you are, or who you’re not, at this time?

I’m resilient. I’m a resilient, positive person. My resiliency and positive attitude has only gotten better. I’m also super creative so I’ve had a very creative Covid, if you will. I launched a podcast, a scripted podcast for kids on Audible called ‘Letters From Camp.’ I’m about to launch another podcast in the spring. I’ve written things, I’ve produced things, I’ve pitched many ideas on Zoom. Here’s how I know that I have shape-shifted and recalibrated my life: When the lockdown happened March 10th of last year, I had never done FaceTime. I used to judge people doing FaceTime. I used to judge them harshly. I’d say, ‘I’m not going to FaceTime you – ew!’ I used to judge people with these little pieces of plastic sticking out of their ears – harshly. ‘Really? You’re going to walk around talking to yourself very loudly with a piece of plastic sticking out of your ear?’ Our adult daughter, Annie, the first week of the shutdown, said to us, ‘Well, we’ll do a Zoom session with you, mom.’ I was like, ‘What is a Zoom? I’m not going to Zoom.’ She said, ‘It’s really easy, I’ll send you a link.’ I remember it very clearly – my husband [writer and director Christopher Guest] was sitting here, we clicked on this thing and all of a sudden there were my daughter and her husband. It was like, ‘What? In real time?’ And now I have done live TV all over the world. I did a film festival in India. I can change how I look, I can control the audio, I can click in filters…

What to you is the greatest luxury in life and why?

Freedom.

LOS ANGELES – NOV 14: Jamie Lee Curtis at the “Knives Out” Premiere at Village Theater on November 14, 2019 in Westwood, CA

Photo Credit: Kathy Hutchins/Shutterstock.com

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