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Malibu’s Matthew McConaughey (right) and rocker Jon Bon Jovi join forces with the Entertainment Industry Foundation to support its new “I Participate” campaign.

Get Involved

Beginning this week, we’ll be hearing a lot about the Entertainment Industry Foundation and its “I Participate” program.

EIF is getting the entertainment community to rally around an innovative program that promotes community involvement. The goal is to persuade millions of Americans to volunteer on a regular basis.

To jump-start the campaign, Malibu leading man Matthew McConaughey and New Jersey rocker Jon Bon Jovi helped spread the word by appearing at the National Conference for Service and Volunteering in San Francisco.

Meanwhile, Malibu’s Fran Drescher, Ashton Kutcher, Randy Jackson and Christine Baranski helped kick off the campaign on the East Coast.

“Most people know that volunteering can have an enormous, positive impact on their communities, but they often don’t realize how much volunteering benefits the person who does it,” says Lisa Paulsen, president and CEO of EIF. “We’re trying to broaden the collective national conversation about service. Volunteering is rewarding, but it’s also energizing and fun. It can even be a great way to meet people. The rate at which Americans volunteer regularly has not increased in 40 years and remains at around 26 percent.”

The program will be paired with the “Cities of Service Initiative.” Together, they will make it easier than ever to give back.

“These two efforts complement each other superbly,” Paulsen says. “Through ‘I Participate,’ the entertainment community will generate new enthusiasm about volunteering. When people look for ways to volunteer in their own communities, the ‘Cities of Service’ coalition will provide them.”

A week-long television campaign begins next week with the message featured on 60 network programs.

“We think hearing that from the cast members and characters on shows like ‘American Idol,’ ‘Private Practice,’ and ‘Ugly Betty’ will help millions of viewers consider volunteerism,” says Tony award winner Bernadette Peters. “It’s important to help people and causes that need our help.”

The “I Participate” campaign includes a dedicated Web site, IParticipate.org, designed to help millions of Americans find volunteer opportunities in their communities in areas like health and wellness, financial security, environmental conservation and support for military families. The Web site offers a calendar of events, maps and digital tool kits, and uses social networks like Facebook.

Of course, with a star-studded kick-off like this, a trail of tweets couldn’t be far behind. Uber tweeter Ashton Kutcher sent a message to his 3.5 million Twitter followers, urging them to follow his lead. “2Day, I activate my citizenship by participating,” Kutcher wrote. “I Participate! Do U?”

Got a hot happening or cool event? Send the 411 to kimdevore@malibutimes.com.