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Critical Role: Ashley Johnson on New Foundation’s Fundraising Efforts

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Critical Role, the company behind the hit D&D live show of the same name featuring voice actors from some of the biggest games like The Last of Us Part 2, Marvel’s Spider-Man, and more, is expanding its fundraising efforts with the formation of a new organization, the Critical Role Foundation.The CRF, which you can learn about in a helpful animated new video, will partner with nonprofits, including its initial partnership with the First Nations Development Institute. Critical Role cast member and The Last of Us Part 2 star Ashley Johnson will be president of the foundation, with Matthew mercer, Eduardo Lopez, Rachel Romero, and Mark Koro serving as officers and board members for the foundation.Speaking to IGN via email, Johnson explained how the foundation was an idea the Critical Role team had been thinking about for a while and, like much of what Critical Role does, it was inspired by the group’s fan community, affectionately known as Critters.

“Starting a foundation is something that has been brewing for years and we couldn’t be more excited that it’s finally come together! With the Critical Role Foundation, we’re able to create a more streamlined approach to raise funds to much needed causes that are close to our hearts,” Johnson said. “We wanted to have a centralized location where Critters can learn more about our ongoing fundraising efforts and have a voice in who we partner with next. This foundation was, and is, inspired by the Critters. It’s because of them that we’re able to do this and they’re helping us change the world for the better.”

Critical Role Legend of Vox Machina Teaser

Fundraising has been a part of Critical Role’s DNA since the show began, with efforts to raise money for 826 LA, Red Nose Day, OSD, and more. CRF will initially be partnering with the First Nations Development Institute, an American Indian nonprofit endeavoring to support Native communities. CRF is aiming to raise $50,000, which would go toward the Native Youth & Culture Fund’s initiatives serving the Zuni Pueblo and Cohciti Pueblo youth for an entire year.

“Whenever a major crisis occurs like Covid-19, marginalized communities tend to feel the negative effects the most. 69% of Native nonprofits expect to see a revenue decrease as a result of Covid-19 and an estimated $50 billion loss in economic activity. We chose to work with First Nations because they are supporting Native communities who have been some of the most deeply impacted by the pandemic,” Johnson explained.

CRF will have more partnerships to come, but in addition to this first fundraising campaign, the foundation has also pledged to put 10% of every dollar raised into an emergency fund, which the foundation can use to “donate funds in the event of natural disasters and other unforeseen events that require immediate humanitarian assistance.”“We wanted to be prepared for unforeseen events and natural disasters that inevitably happen. We’ve seen time and time again that when a major natural disaster occurs, such as the wildfires in California or the hurricanes in the Gulf, people need financial support right away,” Johnson explained, noting that the foundation will continue to fundraise for new partnerships in the future.

“Each partnership will be a little different, and specifics around each partnership will always be outlined in detail on our website. Transparency is a big deal for us and those who choose to make a donation will know exactly where it’s going and how it’s being used. We are planning some pretty exciting things for the future of this foundation and I can’t wait to watch it grow.

Critical Role’s fundraising efforts are only one sign of the company’s continued expansion, as CR recently announced Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins Series III, a follow-up to its two previous successful comic book series. Additionally, Critical Role broke Kickstarter fundraising records with its campaign for the upcoming animated series The Legend of Vox Machina.

IGN previously spoke to some of the members of Critical Role about the campaign’s success and what it means for the animated show’s development. They also later found a home for the show at Amazon Prime Video, which ordered even more episodes of the upcoming Critical Role animated series.

Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s Senior News Editor and host of Podcast Beyond!, and his proud to call himself a Critter. Talk to him on Twitter @jmdornbush.

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