Woodley brings awareness to need in Africa

Just in time for the holiday season, a time when charitable giving increases, LaMarr Woodley and players across the NFL have joined FWD, a national public awareness campaign designed to inform American's of the extreme famine, war and drought in the Horn of Africa.  Developed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Ad Council, the FWD campaign encourages Americans forward the facts about the crisis and to donate to the relief efforts.

"Right now, the famine, war, and drought in the Horn of Africa is the largest humanitarian crisis in the world, impacting more than 13 million people," said USAID Administrator Dr. Rajiv Shah.  "The worst drought in 60 years and worst famine in 20 years, has caused live stock to die and is forcing people to walk more 100 miles just to get something to eat."

The new television PSAs, taped in November, feature LaMarr Woodley, Linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers, addressing the crisis from the Steelers' practice field. The PSAs also featureRay Lewis, Linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens; Asante Samuel, Cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles; Nnamdi Asomugha, Cornerback for the Philadelphia Eagles; Maurice Jones-Drew, Runningback for the Jacksonville Jaguars; Greg Jennings, Wide Receiver for the Green Bay Packers; Larry Fitzgerald, Wide Receiver for the Arizona Cardinals; Josh Freeman, Quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Matt Forte, Halfback for the Chicago Bears and Jeff Saturday, Center for the Indianapolis Colts.

Launched in October, FWD – an acronym for famine, war and drought – is a multimedia campaign which aims to encourage Americans to spread awareness of the crisis in the Horn of Africa, support the humanitarian organizations conducting relief operations and learn more about the solutions through President Obama's Feed the Future initiative. The United States Government initiative addresses the root causes of chronic hunger by helping to foster better farming, stronger markets and greater resilience to climate shocks.

The PSAs, developed by the Ad Council and volunteer advertising agency R/GA, direct audiences to text GIVE to 777444 to donate $10 to a consortium of humanitarian organizations working in the Horn of Africa, comprised of American Refugee Committee, CARE, Catholic Relief Services, Mercy Corps, Save the Children, UNICEF USA, World Vision and World Food Program USA. Audiences are also directed to visit www.usaid.gov/FWD to find more information about the crisis and a listing of U.S.-funded humanitarian organizations working in the Horn of Africa that are accepting donations to aid in disaster relief. In addition to the traditional PSAs, the campaign includes an extensive social media program via USAID's Facebook and Twitter channels, as well as blogs and other sites.

Since its launch, the FWD campaign has garnered over 117 million social media fact shares and reached 18 million people on Twitter and 50 million on Facebook. Previous PSAs for the campaign have featured Dr. Jill Biden, actors Uma Thurman, Josh Hartnett, Geena Davis and Chanel Iman and writer and television host Anthony Bourdain.

"The support of the American people is critical in bolstering the relief efforts of the organizations responding to the devastating emergency in the Horn of Africa," said Peggy Conlon, president & CEO of the Ad Council. "We are thrilled that the NFL has joined forces with us to help spread the word and encourage more Americans to get involved."

The Ad Council will distribute the PSAs to media outlets nationwide. Per the Ad Council's model, all of the PSAs will air in advertising time that is donated by the media.

The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years. The United States is the largest bilateral donor of emergency assistance to the eastern Horn of Africa. To learn more about U.S. assistance and how to help, visit *www.usaid.gov/FWD*.

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The Ad Council, *www.adcouncil.org, is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer efforts from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public.*

* * R/GA* is a full-service agency that transforms the way people interact with brands. A commitment to design, technology, strategy, and innovation defines R/GA's legacy as an iconoclast in the world of communications and marketing. With a range of holistic offerings that include brand development, mobile, and retail, R/GA's agency model is adaptable to the ever-changing needs of consumers in the digital landscape.*

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