When Ben Affleck isn’t busy playing Batman or directing films, he is doing plenty of work for those in need. Affleck will receive the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Humanitarian at the Jan. 7 ceremony. The “Gone Girl” actor will be recognized for all of the charity work he does in Africa.
Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) in 2010. The organization promotes advocacy and makes grants with a goal to “increase the quantity and quality of public and private funding that supports the communities and citizens of eastern Congo, providing local organizations and leaders with the necessary resources to heal and sustain their communities,” according to ECI’s website. The organization also aims to raise awareness and encourage the U.S. government to be involved in the future of eastern Congo. Affleck even testified in front of the Senate to get the U.S. more involved.
Affleck spoke to Marketplace about his work in the Democratic Republic of Congo and how he believes his work could make a lasting impact. "When we looked at aid and traditional aid and aid models and [at] what was successful, we found a really mixed bag,” Affleck said. “In fact, opponents of aid will point out that $50 billion has been given over the last 70 years, and there hasn't been much progress. Part of what we believed was that that was because, in large measure, it was about western people paying themselves to go over there and sort of wander around and do very short-term projects. So we wanted to do something sustainable that would raise incomes and that would be there long after we were gone. And so what we chose was coffee and cocoa. Both of which [for] the Congolese were huge businesses and huge agricultural sources of revenue before the war."
Affleck is the third recipient of the Favorite Humanitarian award, the only award in the show that is not voted on. Sandra Bullock and Jennifer Hudson won the award in previous years. “We are so pleased to honor Ben with the 2015 People's Choice Humanitarian Award,” executive producer Mark Burnett said in a statement. “This award has become an important part of our show. It highlights a different side of a celebrity and helps bring awareness to a cause that our audience can support.”
The 2015 People’s Choice Awards air Wednesday, Jan. 7 at 9 p.m. EST on CBS.