Oxfam congratulates Colin Firth on winning Philanthropist of the Year


28 November 2008

British actor Colin Firth has been named ‘Philanthropist of the year’ by the US magazine, The Hollywood Reporter. Firth has been working with Oxfam for the last 8 years and has been an Oxfam Global Ambassador for the last 3 years.

Claire Lewis, Oxfam’s Global Ambassador Programme Manager, said:

“We are so pleased that Colin has won this much-deserved reward. He has done so much for Oxfam and other organisations over the years. His work with us is wide ranging, impactful, smart and often behind the scenes.

“Colin was one of the main supporters of Oxfam’s flagship Make Trade Fair campaign and lobbied hard on behalf of the millions of poor people disadvantaged by unfair trade rules.”

In 2004, Colin travelled with Oxfam to Geneva to meet the then head of the World Trade Organisation, Supachai Panitchpakdi, and in 2005 to Brussels to meet the then EU trade commissioner, Peter Mandelson. In 2007, he also met with Gordon Brown and the Trade Minister in the UK to discuss trade issues.

Lewis: “His presence at these meetings was never tokenistic: the commitment shown by Colin to getting up to speed with complex and technical trade negotiations is a tribute to how seriously he takes his philanthropic work.”

Working with Oxfam, Colin helped to launch and became the Director of a chain of Fairtrade coffee shops in London. ‘Progreso’ was set up to help coffee farmers struggling with the collapse of prices by involving them in the business. In 2005, he traveled to Ethiopia to meet some of the farmers.

Colin’s commitment to Oxfam and the wider cause even led to him agreeing to be drenched in coffee himself, for a high profile photo campaign, which received worldwide attention. See this link for the photos: http://www.maketradefair.com/work/celebs

Lewis: “Colin’s dedication, passion and consistently humble approach have made him an admirable champion for poor people around the world who cannot always make their voices heard so well.”

Special Report: Winter Philanthropy, 23 November 2008, by Shannon L. Bowen

A Mighty Heart

Colin Firth, The Hollywood Reporter's inaugural Philanthropist of the Year, lends his voice to poor and displaced people around the world.

Click for this PDF for part one of the special report.


FirthSisters's forwarded message from Oxfam America.


Thank you very much for your note. Please extend my gratitude on Colin’s behalf for this generous gift. It is much appreciated.


Jessica Kolstad (Colin's publicist)

Colin Firth, Felicity Huffman, Minnie Driver and others In Hollywood

voice support for Oxfam's 'Unwrapped' Alternative Gift Catalog.

"It's an amazing organization," said actress Felicity Huffman at a recent Beverly Hills benefit for Oxfam. "It's been going on for 35 years. Oxfam America not only fights hunger, poverty and social injustice, but they refuse to take any money from the government, which means they are free agents, and they can (assess) situation needs -- not what is prescribed by the government."    

"Oxfam America Unwrapped is something you do online," she added. "They have great Christmas cards and great presents and you can support the organization and also get your Christmas shopping done."

Academy Award nominee Minnie Driver is also a strong Oxfam supporter who recently appeared on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" bearing the gift of a live, fully-grown camel for Ellen.

"Why give a revolting sweater to your mum or your dad this holiday season, when you can give them a camel; a lovely, hissing, biting, spitting camel; that will do wonderful stuff, for sub-Saharan Africa mostly."

"I suppose what attracts me to Oxfam is that I trust them," said British actor Colin Firth. "I have been helping [Oxfam out a little bit for about five or six years now. Oxfam is a household name in England. You grow up with Oxfam. It's a very, very big fixture in life. Basically, they're not a charity in the conventional sense of the word; this is not just about raising money and throwing it at problems. It's about actually trying to raise the awareness that we are very much connected with some of the stuff that goes on currently in far-away places."

"I'm very excited about Oxfam America Unwrapped," said actress Kristin Davis who recently toured South Africa with Oxfam. "It's what I've asked for, for Christmas. I've told everyone I know about it, and I think it's a great program. There are water jugs in the online catalog for $18, which seems to us like 'Oh, who would want to send a water jug' but this actually makes a huge difference in these people's lives…it's shocking but it's true."

The 36 gifts from Oxfam's online catalog are symbolic and gift prices reflect a suggested, tax-deductible donation to Oxfam America's work. Rather than a specific item, gift recipients receive a colorful gift card that illustrates the purchase made in his/her name, with a personalized message.

Click banner to go the Oxfam America "Unwrapped" website.