From the very first episode of Critical Role, where nerdy voice-actors play Dungeons and Dragons, it served two purposes. First, and foremost, it showed off this group of friends’ love for the tabletop role-playing game. Second, and perhaps more importantly, it served as a chance for them to promote their favorite charities, mostly 826LA to the (then) about 5,000 fans who watched. Today, an episode of Critical Role earns about 100 times that amount of viewers, and the fan community—known as Critters—is very generous. So, today they announced the creation of the Critical Role Foundation, a charitable group that will be led by president Ashley Johnson. Johnson, known for roles in Avengers and Blindspot, is one of the original members of what was once a home-game of D&D played amongst friends.
Originally just one of many web shows on the Geek and Sundry website, Critical Role soon branched out on its own. Now they are a media company with their web series, an animated series for Amazon, comics, tabletop game books, and much more. Since the Critters are a passionate bunch and put their wallets behind their passion, a charity makes sense. The Critical Role Foundation is a big step for a new company.
As President Ashley Johnson said to CBR.com about the Critical Role Foundation:
“Philanthropy has always been a major priority for Critical Role. I think the moment we realized we had a voice and people were actually watching us play Dungeons & Dragons, we wanted to use that voice for good. We’ve worked with a handful of nonprofits over the years that focus on causes that Critical Role and the community care most about. These charities include 826LA, Red Nose Day, OSD, Pablove and OutRight International, and since we began streaming in 2015, the Critical Role community has raised well over half a million dollars for these organizations.
“Our mission statement is to leave the world better than we found it, something that we’ve said for years at Critical Role. We’ve always wanted to find a way to spread some positivity and good with our platform. We wanted to go the 501(c)(3) route so that donors are able to do tax-deductible donations. They’re donating their hard-earned money to such amazing causes. We thought it would only be right if they were able to claim that during tax time.”
The first fundraising effort is a partnership with First Nations Development Institute to help reinvigorate their Native Youth & Culture Fund. COVID-19 decimated many businesses and charities, and at the time of this writing 85 percent of their budget remains unfunded. So, Ashley Johnson and the rest of the Critical Role team decided to put their foundation to work fixing that.
Johnson said that the decision to do this was essentially inspired by the Critters themselves. They’ve always been so generous to the cast and the charities they support. Thus, the Critical Role Foundation allows them to marshal that generation to help specific causes in desperate need.
If you’d like to donate to the Critical Role Foundation, follow the link to their page.
What do you think about the Critical Role Foundation? Tell us in the comments below.
Featured image via Critical Role
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.