“If you own a TV in America, you know Ryan Seacrest,” Chris Coleman, manager of broadcast and production at Seacrest Studios at Children’s Hospital Colorado once explained.
The Ryan Seacrest Foundation or RSF is the nonprofit and charitable organization that aims to inspire young people through its education-based and entertainment initiatives founded by Ryan Seacrest. Ever since it was established in 2009, the Foundation has installed ten multimedia broadcast centers.
These high-tech production facilities, also called Seacrest Studios, were installed in pediatric hospitals around the country. They are special because they enable their patients to explore all aspects of media: from radio and TV interviews, being a DJ to watching top celebrities perform live. Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake are just some of the A-list artists who have performed at the Ryan Seacrest Foundation, all thanks to Seacrest’s top connections.
In 2015, Seacrest was named Variety’s Philanthropist of the Year. The TV mogul explained that he came up with the idea many years ago after a visit to Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
“I asked the parents what they could use to help them get through what they were going through, and more often than not, the answer was, they needed something to do,” he explained.
Kids who stayed at the hospital for a week, a month or a year were bored and restless. His family helped him shape the idea of creating an event-like distraction within the hospital into reality. It all started with a radio and TV studio where the kids interviewed stars who visit while being on tour.
The best part is that no patient is excluded. There are phone lines in every hospital room, so those who need to stay in bed can call the studio or watch the programming coming out of it on the TV in their rooms. And that’s not all Ryan Seacrest’s Foundation came up with; Local colleges in each city provide the studios with interns who can learn more about media.
Philanthropy as priority
But Ryan’s work is never done. By establishing the ten studios, he built the very first pediatric entertainment network and connected them. The whole point of this network is to connect with someone who’s going through the same thing as you are and share your experiences.
There’s a way to bond over that and help you get through that,” Ryan said. Seacrest is famous for being a workaholic, but everyone still wonders how does he find the time for his philanthropic work?
“It’s not hard to find the time to do this. This is something I’m so proud of. I’m so proud that we had a chance to do it, and that it worked. It’s the most important thing of everything I do. It’s the most rewarding of everything I do. This is the best work I can do,” Seacrest explained in an interview.
Philanthropy will always be a priority for Seacrest. Besides radio and TV shows he’s producing, the best part of his work is to have the resources to give back. To Ryan, this is a not only something he likes doing, it’s also a responsibility.
“I have a responsibility to do it. It’s part of who we as human beings should be. It’s part of what we should be doing, and what we need to be doing. It’s important for young people to figure out what their passion points are and to contribute to something as they’re growing up. I believe it’s our job to give back.”
It’s a family thing
The Ryan Seacrest Foundation is a family affair. You might not know this, but Ryan’s sister and parents work full time for the foundation. Ryan’s dad, Gary, is the president and CEO. His mom, Connie, oversees community affairs and hospital relations and his sister Meredith is COO and executive director.
But let’s not forget Seacrest’s family of celebrity friends who are involved as well. From Ed Sheeran, Josh Hutcherson, Flo Rida to Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, many celebs have visited one of the Seacrest Studios. If he knows someone is on tour, he will ask them to visit a studio.
Once they come to visit, they fall in love with the foundation. “More often than not, once they go, they go back again. Because they see the expressions on the kids’ faces, kids who wouldn’t otherwise have gotten out of bed,” says Ryan.
One of the first celebrity ambassadors to spread the word was Selena Gomez. Nick Jonas, who has his own charity work with diabetes, also had the chance to visit a few of the hospitals over the course of years and he is one of the biggest supporters.
It’s about being grateful
Finally, Ryan Seacrest knows who he is and what he can do. But more importantly, he never forgot how important it is to feel grateful for all the blessings. “It’s something we didn’t know how to do. For us to be recognized and for people to learn more about what we’re doing and see what we’re doing, and even participate in what we’re doing, is very important,” Seacrest admits.
What’s even more important, the lessons he learned from visiting the children’s hospitals can’t be compared to anything else. He learned to appreciate every little thing because you never plan to be in one of these hospitals. Things just happen in life, and Seacrest’s Foundation makes their stay as pleasant as possible.
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