By Paige Lawler | July 23, 2013 | People
Annie Goldsmith in her Forever Project hoodie at the Alliance for Childrenâ€™s Rights headquarters in LA.
Barry B., a former foster child, with Liza Powell and husband Conan Oâ€™Brien at the annual Alliance for Childrenâ€™s Rights fundraising dinner in 2012.
Annie Goldsmith made her first steps into the philanthropic world at an early age. After volunteering at the Alliance for Children’s Rights one summer, the 16-year-old began brainstorming new ways to contribute to the organization, which works to protect the rights of impoverished, abused, and neglected children and foster youth.
Tapping into her love of fashion and art, Goldsmith designed a zip-up hoodie, with all profits benefiting foster children involved with the organization. Dubbed The Forever Project, the hoodie has garnered both celebrity and international attention.
The teenaged philanthropist sat down with Los Angeles Confidential to chat about The Forever Project and how a tweet from singer Selena Gomez took her altruistic sweatshirt design to another level.
How did you first become involved with the Alliance for Children’s Rights?
ANNIE GOLDSMITH: I have been working with the alliance since I was 12, and I love the cause they support, helping foster kids find safe homes. I just really appreciate everything they do, so I just wanted to get involved.
What inspired the logo and the sweatshirt design?
AG: The word “forever” is a big word for foster kids because the dream is to have a forever family, and just some sort of loving that never ends. I used stars and the galaxy in the logo to symbolize that infinite love of a family, and then down the side, I put the actual number of foster kids in the United States, which is approximately 400,500. I wanted to do that because most people don’t realize there are that many kids out there without families.
How has The Forever Project benefited the foundation?
AG: Through The Forever Project I’ve been helping to provide [the Alliance] with this new source of revenue, along with their annual fundraising dinner and other events, and the individual and corporate grants they receive.
You have several celebrity fans like Selena Gomez, Conan O’Brien, and The Rascal Flatts. How did all of those celebrities discover the Alliance for Children’s Rights?
AG: The Alliance has its big annual dinner, where it gets a lot of celebrity attention. The head of CBS was there, and a lot of stars usually come to that. They [seem] drawn to the sweatshirt, which I found pretty exciting. I was really excited that all of those celebrities [supported The Forever Project], especially Selena Gomez; I’m a huge fan. She tweeted [a photo of herself with the sweatshirt], and she has a very personal connection with foster care. I can’t believe all the attention that it’s getting; it’s great! To purchase a hoodie, visit kids-alliance.org
photography by jana cruder