star wars for charity
May 22, 2014

Star Wars For Charity – Donate For A Chance To Be In Star Wars Episode VII

Brett Smith for - Your Universe Online

Looking to get away this summer? Well, for $10 you can be eligible for a trip to a galaxy far, far away.

In a video released on Wednesday, Star Wars Episode VII director J.J. Abrams announced a chance for one person, and a “friend,” to appear in the upcoming installment of the epic trilogy in exchange for a $10 donation to the new charity, Star Wars: Force for Change.

According to a statement linked to the video, Star Wars: Force for Change will use the contest to raise both money and awareness for UNICEF’s Innovation Labs, which works on ground-breaking solutions to benefit children in need.

Appearing from the Star Wars set, Abrams said two prize winners will be flown to Pinewood Studios outside of London where they will meet the cast, be “transformed” via costume and make-up into residents of the Star Wars universe and given roles in the upcoming film.

To enter the contest, applicants must donate $10 to Force for Change – making them a “founder member.” Members are then put into a group from which the final winner is chosen. Star Wars fans wanting to increase their chance can buy more entries. In addition to having a better chance of winning, higher-spending donors will get more valuable benefits. Those pledging $50,000 will get to see the movie before anyone else in a private screening the day before its release in December 2015. Other lesser-priced rewards include T-shirts, posters, and light saber hilts.

"The Star Wars fans are some of the most passionate and committed folks around the globe," Abrams said in a statement. "We're thrilled to offer a chance to come behind the scenes as our VIP guests and be in Star Wars: Episode VII. We're even more excited that by participating in this campaign, Star Wars fans will be helping children around the world through our collaboration with UNICEF Innovation Labs and projects."

The charity benefitting from the campaign, UNICEF’s Innovation Labs, has been behind numerous projects that apply modern solutions to age-old problems. In China, Uganda, and Burundi, the UNICEF program provided portable, solar-powered learning supplies for underprivileged children in those countries to have access to quality educational materials. In South Sudan, Uganda and the Philippines, the program developed a mobile phone application that can reunite families in the aftermath of a natural disaster.

The entire Star Wars campaign is being run by Omaze – a charity affiliated with other high-profile fundraising efforts, such as the chance to have dinner with George Clooney, with the proceeds going toward satellite imaging in Sudan.

According to Rich McCormick of The Verge, Omaze founders Ryan Cummins and Matt Pohlson said they were inspired to start the company after seeing a charity auction for the chance to attend a Lakers game with Magic Johnson reach astronomical prices. The duo said they wanted to give fans the chance to interact with their favorite celebrities, something everyone dreams about, while raising money for benevolent causes. The charity now seems to be surpassing the type of auction that inspired it: the chance to attend the Breaking Bad season premiere with Bryan Cranston earned $20,000 through charity auction, but $1.7 million through Omaze.