Who: Diane Lane has been acting onstage and onscreen since her pre-teens and has won critical acclaim for her performance as an adulterous wife in Adrian Lyne’s “Unfaithful” (2002), not to mention her early work with Francis Ford Coppola. More recent films include “Hollywoodland,” “Under the Tuscan Sun” and “A Walk on the Moon,” and Lane will next be seen opposite John Malkovich in Disney’s “Secretariat,” based on a true story of the Triple Crown-winning thoroughbred. She’s also got HBO’s “Cinema Verite,” in which she will play alongside James Gandolfini and Tim Robbins, on her slate.
What: Heifer Intl. works with communities around the world to “end hunger and care for the earth.” The organization provides gifts of livestock and plants, as well as education in sustainable agriculture, to financially disadvantaged families around the world.
Why: “Heifer empowers women,” Lane says. “They understand that women have a vested interest in the sustainability of their communities. Women are notorious for nurturing and giving back and ensuring the forward motion of a received gift for their family.” Lane explains that Heifer encourages the offspring of gifted livestock be donated to another family in need. “The passing on of the gift and also the training that Heifer provides is the initial seed that’s given along with the money.” She adds: “It’s community-supported agriculture, it utilizes ecological principles and it’s not just about sustainability, it’s also about equitability. It really increases the self-esteem of a population.”
What’s next: Lane first visited Rwanda three summers ago and says it was “life-changing” for both her and her daughter. Lane says she wants to visit more Heifer sites to see the work in progress, especially within the U.S. Also, she wants to further increase awareness of the success of Heifer’s model. “They say the largest room in the world is room for improvement. I see a lot of organizations that are not only trying to stop the continuation of bad policy, but also to implement ones that replace them that are better.”