Ian is auctioning off a lunch date in Atlanta via Charitybuzz. All proceeds will benefit the Ian Somerhalder Foundation, which is in the process of building an animal sanctuary.
“A big component of ISF is not just habitat or species conservation, it’s animal protection and youth education,” the actor tells EW exclusively. “There are too many animals that are abused, mistreated, and abandoned. They’ve been ostracized, they have behavioral issues, and they’re starving. It’s just unbelievable what we’ve done to the animals, and I think that’s why this is so important.”
The auction is currently live and will run through July 18, and it will help fund the acquisition of land that Somerhalder has his eye on. The plan, he says, is to make this haven a reality “very soon.” And the big goal is to make the sanctuary a place of co-rehabilitation — benefiting both animals and troubled youth.
“If we can give animals a home, we can also take the youth of our country and our world — kids who have behavioral issues, bullying other kids, and halting the progression of those around them — and bring them together to learn compassion from one another. If you have compassion for an animal, then you’ll ultimately have compassion for another human being,” he says. “I’m so tired of the lack of compassion in our world and watching kids grow up in it. I think it’s an amazing opportunity for us to show that having compassion for one another — and all furry, scaled, or feathered creatures — is the only way we can progress.”
To his prospective bidders, Somerhalder adds: “Honestly, all I can say is thank you. I appreciate you and your generosity…. I will try not to bore you to tears.”