The Walt Disney Co., Lucasfilm’s and Bad Robot’s “Star Wars: Force for Change” has raised $4.26 million to support children and families in need around the world, with the Mouse House contributing an additional $1 million to the cause.
The fundraiser, which ended July 25, will use the money to help the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) operate up to eight Innovation Labs.
The project, organized by Omaze, raised $1 million within 24 hours when it launched in May. Donors from more than 125 countries participated.
To participate, individuals donated at least $10 in order to enter a chance to win a trip to London to be Abrams’ guest on the Pinewood Studios set of “Episode VII” and appear in a scene in the film.
D.C. Barns, of Denver, Colo., won the grand prize, saying (in the video above) that he has five years old when he saw the original “Star Wars” for the first time in the theater in 1977.
UNICEF’s current network of 14 Innovation Labs creates sustainable solutions to critical issues facing children around the world in the areas of nutrition, water, health, and education — through projects like MobiStation, a portable, solar-powered educational kit to ensure children have access to quality learning anywhere, and Rapid FTR (Family Tracing and Reunification), a mobile phone application that helps reunite separated and unaccompanied children with their families in natural disasters.
Because “Force for Change” proved so successful, Abrams announced the week of San Diego Comic-Con that he would offer a second top prize: an advanced screening of the movie in a winner’s hometown for 20 of their friends a week before the film debuts on Dec. 18, 2015. Other rewards for those who donate include limited edition posters; t-shirts; a lightsaber hilt; concept art and film stills from “Episode VII.”
During the fundraiser, Abrams revealed first looks at new vehicles and creatures that would appear in “Episode VII,” while Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert also hyped their knowledge of all-things “Star Wars” through a video.