He skates, he sings, he stars in his own reality show, and he surprises his audience again and again with new adventures and new outrageous quotes. But one of Johnny’s lesser-known qualities is his quiet involvement in many charitable organizations — although that’s really no surprise at all, given his solid upbringing and his family’s emphasis on the value of putting others first.
In an interview, Johnny noted:
Supporting charities is “so important for people that have a voice, and that have a point of view, and the ability to talk about things like AIDS, like breast cancer … It’s important for famous athletes and celebrities … to lend their voice and time, because everyone is affected by [these things]. … [I]t’s my duty to give back as much as I can.”
Johnny’s charitable causes include:
- AIDS/LifeCycle. Johnny’s fan groups from around the world worked together in June 2010 to sponsor a rider in the annual AIDS/LifeCycle bike-a-thon fundraiser. By lending his name and support, Johnny and his fans raised nearly $10,000 for the cause.
- 88 for AIDS. Johnny was a special guest, along with Bravo-TV’s senior vice president Andy Cohen, at this elegant fundraiser evening for AIDS Walk New York in May 2010.
- Elton John AIDS Foundation. Johnny also was a special guest of Sir Elton John at his annual Oscar party in March 2010. Established in 1992, EJAF has raised more than $175 million for AIDS support and prevention programs in 55 countries. Sir Elton’s annual star-studded bash raised more than $4 million in 2009.
- Equality California (EQCA). Johnny was the featured speaker at an EQCA private reception benefiting the organization and supporting its efforts to achieve full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Californians in April 2010.
- FFANY/QVC. Johnny participated alongside a number of celebrities, including entertainer Fergie, in the 17th Annual QVC Presents “FFANY Shoes on Sale,” a gala and charitable shoe sale to benefit breast cancer research, in October 2010.
- Figure Skating in Harlem. Johnny was a special guest at the “Skating With the Stars” Gala in April 2010, the sixth annual fundraiser for Figure Skating in Harlem’s girls’ fitness and education program. The charity’s mission is to “transform young lives and help Harlem girls to grow in confidence, leadership and academic achievement.”
- Human Rights Campaign. Johnny was honored by HRC-Seattle with the 2010 Visibility Award at the asOne Gala Dinner in September. HRC notes that “the Human Rights Campaign Visibility Award recognizes LGBT individuals who are living open and honest lives at home, at work and in their greater community.” In his memorable acceptance speech, Johnny credited his family for instilling in him the courage to be himself.
- Ice Theatre of New York. The nonprofit ITNY has been creating new artistic opportunities in figure skating and providing educational programs in various communities for more than two decades. Johnny performed twice at ITNY in 2010, premiering his hauntingly brilliant self-choreographed original piece, “Heartbroken,” at ITNY in April, and also performing at the 25th Anniversary Gala and Benefit honoring Olympic champion Dorothy Hamill in October.
- Kelly Ripa’s Annual High Heel-a-Thon. Kelly invited Johnny to lead the men’s race in her Second Annual High Heel-a-thon in September 2010. The fundraiser benefits the National Institutes of Health “Heart Truth” campaign for women’s heart health.
- ’nPLAY Foundation. A coalition of twenty-six professional athletes, both active and retired, from thirteen sports have banded together to create the nonprofit ’nPLAY Foundation to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity in America. The goal is to bring about change in thinking, attitude and lifestyle. Johnny serves on the ’nPLAY Board of Governors alongside NBA veterans Paul Pierce and Jerry Stackhouse; Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller; Olympic swimmer Summer Sanders; surfer Taylor Knox; and actress / model / philanthropist Byrdie Bell.
- Russian Children’s Welfare Society. In collaboration with the General Consulate of the Russian Federation in New York, RCWS hosted its annual Benefit Gala in September 2010 in New York City, with Johnny among the celebrity guests in attendance to support the charity. Proceeds from the event were used to purchase sports equipment for orphanages in Russia as well as to support other RCWS efforts.
- Skate for Hope. This annual figure-skating show is held each summer at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, and will again featured Johnny as a headliner in June 2011. He also is seeking to raise $10,000 for the charity this year. The most unique and beautiful breast cancer fund-raising event in the United States, SFH has raised more than $233,000 to help find a cure.
- The Trevor Project. Johnny announced on Spirit Day — October 20, 2010 — that he had teamed with designer T. Rains to raise money and awareness for The Trevor Project through sales of his “Army of One” T-shirt. The Trevor Project is “determined to end suicide among LGBTQ youth by providing life-saving and life-affirming resources including our nationwide, 24/7 crisis intervention lifeline.” The design of the limited-edition shirt, which sold out within weeks, used Spirit Day’s purple and a phrase from Johnny’s 1,000th tweet: “We are each an army of one. March forward with your army, never let go of your future and never listen to idiots who tell you ‘no.’ ”