Everyone adores Morgan Freeman; however, it is not merely through the devices of a superfluous ‘celebrity’ charm – rather, it’s the credibility and respect he wields on and off the camera. When it comes to the betterment of society and building community through knowledge, Freeman values investment of human capital. He’s a fervent believer in progress and making the world a better place by opening doors for people and expanding their minds with education and knowledge.
With his baritone voice and wise words, he captivates moviegoers alike; but to him, the entire world’s a stage. In his films, his characters question social norms, a desire to improve the human condition, and challenges issues pertaining to race and segregation. These roles he plays are brought to life in his off-camera endeavours and philanthropy.
He fosters community building by providing access to attaining knowledge. A prime example would be the 2009 documentary Prom Night in Mississippi. Directed by Paul Saltzman, Freeman funded the first racially integrated high school prom in Charleston. In addition, he founded the Rock River Foundation, which provides access to educational resources for public schools in Mississippi; he also founded PLAN!T NOW, a relief fund which helps those in hurricane and severe storm afflicted areas; he sits on the Board of Directors for Earth Biofuels. Their mandate is to inform American citizens of the benefits of using clean-burning fuels.
Early in Freeman’s life, he realized that expanding one’s mind was the key to knowledge. As a populist and inclusionary individual, he has endeavoured to be a champion of global education.
It is only fitting that the Canadian Friends of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem recognized the many charitable causes Freeman supports, and awarded him the Jake Eberts Key of Knowledge Award at the Celebration of Excellence Gala at the Toronto Centre for the Arts on Monday evening. The flurry of excitement and buzz will spawn into other realms which will help many in the continuation and cultivation of knowledge. The proceeds will go to the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) as well as establish The Morgan Freeman Scholarship Fund for international students at The Hebrew University who are in the Public Health and Community Medicine Program (MPH).
From his first role as Little Boy Blue at his school, to stating that to date he has been most proud to act as Nelson Mandela in Invictus, Freeman is not slowing down anytime soon. In spite of all his achievements, he is a humble, kind soul. Freeman does not believe in being awarded “best” in anything; rather, we should always be in support of each other. With such sentiments, it is believable when Morgan Freeman says, “I don’t do anything I will regret.”