Gen Z is often lauded as the most socially conscious generation we’ve seen—and rightfully so.
According to Pew Research Center studies, Gen Z is “on track to be the most well-educated generation yet” and is “moving toward adulthood with a liberal set of attitudes and an openness to emerging social trends.”
As digital natives, the members of Gen Z have grown up seeing mobilization around social and political issues playing out in their timelines. The divisiveness around LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, police brutality, climate change, and beyond have given rise to a cadre of young celebrities such as Amandla Stenberg, Rowan Blanchard, and Zendaya who are using their massive platforms to raise awareness and advance necessary conversations.
Now Noah Centineo is doing his part with his philanthropic organization Favored Nations.
Cofounded by Centineo (To All the Boys, Sierra Burgess Is a Loser) and his friend and PR strategist Josh Heller, Favored Nations is branding itself as a collective of citizens “who give a shit.” Through online and IRL campaigns, Favored Nations aims to activate Gen Z around its current pillars of causes: the environment, clean water, mental health, human displacement, and clean energy.
“As a teenager, like a lot of teenagers, I felt very hopeless. I was in a very dark place,” Centineo says. “You try a lot of different things to feel better, but the only thing that seemed to work for me was helping people. When I helped people, it gave me a larger sense of fulfillment, of purpose, like it does for most people. And I realized that in my career, if I ever made it to a place where I was in a position to have a platform, I would like to leverage that platform to help other people discover that same thing.”
A major component of Favored Nations is its online shop of apparel including hoodies and T-shirts with 100% of the proceeds going to the shopper’s charity of choice at checkout. The goal is to establish Favored Nations as a lifestyle brand within the philanthropy space, as well as providing a frictionless way to give back. Favored Nations had a soft launch earlier this year with its apparel selling out in three days and raising more than $40,000.
“One of the things we want to do is offer more accessibility to our generation,” says Heller, who is also Favored Nations’ CMO. “And we will also obviously want to make philanthropy cool.”
“There’s not a blueprint for most people to get involved that’s accessible,” Centineo adds. “There’s no guideline to philanthropy. You kind of have to seek it on your own. It’s not a super simple process. So we wanted to act as a catalyst for someone who is interested in getting involved in their community, with their friends, on a macro level or a micro level.”
To do that, Favored Nations plans to act as an agency of sorts, helping influencers (aka “delegates”) mobilize their own campaigns around an issue, raising money or awareness with giveaways, contests, or even creating their own capsule collections through Favored Nations. Naturally, Centineo acted as Favored Nations’ inaugural delegate back in January when he announced a contest to fly two winners to Los Angeles for the premiere of To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You the following month in order to build Favored Nations’ presence.
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Using funds donated by you directly to our Favored Nations Core Fund, we bought 1000 medical-grade KN95 masks. After we received the masks we wanted to make sure we donated them to the right place, so we contacted the Los Angeles Mayor’s office and were told that Sean Penn’s non-profit @COREresponse was in desperate need of masks on the front line as they provided free Covid-19 testing throughout LA. Thank you @jeffgorell and @mayorofLA for pointing us in the right direction and for everything you’re doing for the City of Los Angeles. And thank you @COREresponse, @annyounglee, @seanpenn and @losangelesfiredepartment for your selfless work on the ground to combat the global pandemic COVID-19. People in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Napa, and Malibu, head to coreresponse.org/covid19 to schedule your free COVID-19 test, or to sign-up to volunteer to support COVID-19 relief work. Thank you FN fam for Giving a Shit! gas!!
But the organization is launching its first official influencer campaign today with Centineo’s To All the Boys costar Lana Condor. What was initially a campaign to aid in COVID-19 relief has pivoted toward the ongoing protests against police brutality.
“Favored Nations strives to be agile and effective in turbulent times where virality exists and moments can cause movements that galvanize people,” Centineo says. “The conversation in our country around racial injustice cannot wait any longer. We as a company and a collective want to support and amplify these moments and movements in real-time using our platform the best that we can.”
Both Centineo and Condor will leverage their social media followings for donations to charities and organizations, including Black Lives Matter, Policing Equity, The Bail Project, Color of Change, and more. If 500 individual donations are made, the two will host a live virtual event with special guests including Patrisse Khan-Cullors, cofounder of Black Lives Matter, to engage in a forum about support and allyship. They’ll also host a live table read of scenes from both To All the Boys films. If 5,000 individual donations are made, Centineo and Condor will read a scene from the upcoming third installment.
“One of the things that Noah and I talked about was these influencers who get paid by brands to post about fit tea or whatever, they’re using their influence to just make money for themselves,” Heller says. “But what if we had a crew of influencers who would do posts about healing the environment, global warming, selfless things—and did it for free?”
Centineo and Heller see a natural integration of brands into Favored Nations’ model, and several have already reached out. But, as Heller says, they’ve been taking their time in vetting purpose and intention.
“It’s discerning whether or not a company really wants to work with us for the right reasons, or whether it’s just to work with Noah or to make money off of us because there’s a celebrity attached,” he says. “From the very beginning we’ve said we’re only going to work with people who are passionate about what we’re doing and understand what we’re doing.”
Also down the road for Favored Nations is turning its site into a viable content hub, with video, photos, graphics, interviews, and so forth.
“We want to become a forum for open discussion and education through easily digestible, practically inhalable content,” Centineo says. “In the future, we would love for anyone to be able to go to our site, type in their zip code, tell us what they care about, and for us to give them opportunities within five miles, 10 miles, 15 miles, whatever. We want to simplify altruism to a click and then make it extremely easy to shift the paradigm in physical helping.”
“Our model is very simple,” Centineo continues. “If you give a shit about yourself, if you give a shit about others, you’re welcome.”