Over the last three years, care has undeniably exploded as a central topic in the cultural and political zeitgeists. From TikTok to the White House, Hollywood to The New York Times, care is more visible and more discussed than ever.
Yet there is still crucial work to be done. Care touches us all, but our society continues to view it as a private responsibility. Amid a nationwide care worker shortage and inadequate social support, millions of people are struggling to give and receive care. Now is the time to shift cultural narratives, build a movement among those most directly impacted, and advocate for transformative policy solutions.
To seize the momentum behind care and elevate our mission in the public eye, Caring Across launched the Creative Care Council, an intimate cohort of celebrities who have deep, personal connections to care, with a dynamic campaign bridging pop culture and political action. The Council leverages their unique platforms to help reach multiethnic, multiracial, multilingual, ideologically diverse, and intergenerational audiences and build towards a sustainable care infrastructure for us all—especially Black and immigrant women, poor people, disabled people, and trans people, all of whom are disproportionately impacted by inequities within our care system. We work with Council members to make care and caregivers more visible and valued in mainstream culture; grow a diverse movement of caregivers and people who receive care; and influence policy-makers to recognize that the challenges of aging, disability, and child care are in urgent need of public solutions.
Our Creative Care Council is made up of eight high-profile creatives—Yvette Nicole Brown, Bradley Cooper, Yves Mathieu East, Brandee Evans, Richard Lui, Seth and Lauren Miller Rogen, and Megan Thee Stallion—whose collective reach spans comedy, journalism, film, television, music, and fashion. From the outset, we knew that a transactional and scripted ambassador program would not accomplish our goals. Beyond seeking celebrities with the lived experience to authentically represent the reality of caregiving, we intentionally recruited Council members committed to bringing their unique audiences into a shared vision for care. We built deliberate relationships with each member and their teams to design thoughtful opportunities for care messaging and action in the spaces they already occupy – whether launching a new project or speaking to legislators or press. What sets our Council apart from other celebrity partnerships is the individualized experience of each member, and the agility and credibility to move seamlessly between politics and pop culture.
Before publicly launching in March 2023, we secured commitments from Council members for a minimum of one year, including participation in at least one public-facing activity during that year, digital or in-person. We initially wanted to bring all eight members together for the announcement, but conflicting schedules made an all-Council appearance unlikely. Working around the logistical difficulties, we pivoted to producing a launch video spotlighting several members in their roles as caregivers. The video helped us place our announcement as an exclusive in Variety, the nation’s top entertainment news site and Hollywood’s most-read trade, raising our profile as one of the few nonprofits working at the crossroads of D.C. and Hollywood.
Tailored to each member’s interests, care experiences, audiences, and personal and professional plans, our Council engagements in 2023 showcase the unique ability to navigate multiple spheres of cultural and political influence. Seth and Lauren built federal momentum alongside our executive director Ai-jen Poo, advocating for caregivers in meetings we coordinated with Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and Senators Bob Casey, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Chuck Schumer. Also on Capitol Hill, Richard demanded Congress make immediate investments in care infrastructure as a speaker at our February 28th rally in D.C. Having experienced firsthand the difficulties of caregiving in Atlanta, Brandee championed care policy in our priority state of Georgia, attending a White House luncheon honoring Dr. Jill Biden as a guest of care champion Nikema Williams (GA-05) and speaking at our Georgia roundtable alongside state representatives and care advocates. In an appeal to decision-makers and writers in Hollywood, Yvette starred in “Caregivers Don’t Wear Capes,” a tongue-in-cheek video we produced calling on creators to tell more nuanced care stories. Yvette also shared her personal care story during interviews with The Tamron Hall Show and The Talk on her spring press tour. Most recently, as part of our partnership with Richard on his caregiving documentary Unconditional, we supported preparation for his appearances on Today and PBS, held an Instagram Live conversation between Richard and Ai-jen, and co-hosted a free virtual screening and Q&A for digital supporters.
Beyond Variety, our announcement made a splash with unique stories in five other outlets, including Essence, Yahoo!, Boardroom, ROC Nation, and BANG Showbiz. We also landed 348 re-prints of our press release through wire services and local outlets in nearly every state, reaching a potential audience of 146.6 million. In the three days following the announcement, our social media reached 54,300 accounts and attracted nearly 700 new followers across Instagram and Twitter.
Our Council’s actions have since reached a multitude of crucial constituencies, from everyday caregivers to Hollywood creators and elected officials. Major hits in outlets like The Talk, The Tamron Hall Show, Today, and PBS have increased the visibility of care among target audiences, especially adults ages 35-54 — the demographic most likely to be caregivers or become caregivers in the near future. Over 150 people attended our Unconditional screening, where they heard directly from Richard about the importance of saturating our culture with care stories. At a key moment in time for care, the Council has successfully amplified our messaging to new and diverse audiences.
Only halfway through their year-long commitment, most members have already completed more than one public-facing event. This is only the beginning—the Council will play key roles at CareFest, our ambitious event happening in November, and we envision expanding our Council by 1-2 members each year. With a crucial election cycle rapidly approaching, we are already imagining how to best collaborate with Council members to make 2024 the year of care.