Million Dollar Vegan is a charity which shot to fame last year when it asked the Pope to go vegan for lent in exchange for a million dollars to charity. For 2020 the hot new campaign involves asking President Trump to go vegan for January, in exchange for a million dollars to war veterans.
The new campaign‘s tagline is “Make America Healthy Again”, and it is without a doubt that such a victory would be hugely influential for the health of countless thousands around the world, not to mention the lives of potentially millions of animals. We were very pleased to speak with Matthew Glover, co-founder of the charity, and who also founded Veganuary – a true vegan campaigning hero.
Please tell us about your campaign and why you chose to ask President Trump to try vegan for January.
We have offered $1 million to a veterans’ charity if President Trump goes vegan for January. Under the banner ‘Make America Healthy Again’, we make the case for a plant-based diet for our individual health, the health of our workforce, the economy, our planet, and for animals.
Not only have we placed a full-page letter in The New York Times and have television adverts running in New York, Washington DC and West Palm Beach during December, we also have billboards near to Mar-a-Lago and bike share posters around the White House. We are making sure the President will hear our message! All these ads feature Animal Hero Kids, who are partnering with us on this campaign.
Children are leading the way in campaigns all around the world, from road safety projects in Bangladesh to campaigns against single-use plastics in Australia, not to mention the global climate strikes headed by Greta Thunberg. We are delighted to have partnered with Animal Hero Kids to give young people a voice on this all-important issue. You’ll find their beautiful, moving and innovative films across our social media channels.
We very much hope President Trump will go vegan for January. He loves a great deal, and this is a GREAT deal! Whether he takes part or not, we are urging citizens of America to take a step that could change their lives forever – to go vegan for those 31 days. They can sign up to receive daily newsletters, our Health & Nutrition Guide, Vegan Starter Kit, and recipes. It is entirely free to take part, and we hope to kick-start a meaningful and powerful health revolution.
So far, have you been in touch with the President’s representatives, and if so how have they responded?
We haven’t had any response so far, but with the TV adverts running in Washington DC, as well as billboards and posters near to the White House there’s still a chance. The offer is open until Dec 31 so we’re hopeful we’ll get a response.
While we wait to hear whether President Trump will go vegan for January, we have a new offer: we will donate $1 to animal sanctuaries for every person who pledges to go vegan for January and signs up to receive our fantastic free resources. The recipients of this great offer are SiSu Animal Refuge and Skylands Sanctuary, and with more than 2,500 people a day currently registering, they are both set to receive a large pay-out.
What would it mean to veganism, and to the animals, if he were to accept the challenge?
President Trump is probably the most famous man on the planet. When he speaks, millions of people listen, and his words are reported all around the world. As such, he is in the ideal position to lead and influence the greatest number of people, and we need the greatest number of people to hear this message.
Our hope is that he will see the overwhelming health benefits of a vegan diet and want to try it for himself. We also hope he will encourage American citizens, and others, to make the switch and choose plant-based foods, too. After all, good health is for everyone.
Unlike many vegan organizations, our campaign aims to engage with a broader audience, to reach right across the political spectrum and take the message to a previously neglected, but important part of society. We need the support of liberals and conservatives if we are going to solve the dire issues facing humanity, animals and our planet.
What would you like to say to other children who maybe unsure about what veganism is and whether they could stop eating meat?
Children and teens have specific dietary needs that are different from adults. However, not only can children easily obtain all their nutritional needs from a vegan diet, but studies have also shown that those who are raised on healthful vegan diets have a reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other conditions.
Having worked with the amazing Animal Hero Kids we’ve witnessed how amazing young vegans are. Many of them chose to go vegan before their parents and actually persuaded their families to join them. Some of them have already set up their own non-profits and are invited by key decision-makers to speak at conferences and congresses all over the world!
These kids are knowledgeable, powerful and principled.
How did the previous campaign with the Pope go? Were you happy with the result?
Our first campaign, which offered $1 million to Pope Francis if he went vegan for Lent reached a huge global audience:
- 1,000 media articles were published all around the world
- Full-page advertisements were featured in 15 national newspapers, including The New York Times and The Guardian
- More than 45,000 people downloaded our Vegan Starter Kit
- Our website received more than 600,000 visits within its first nine months
- Our social media messages continue to reach millions of people every month
We know that we can reach a huge audience with an audacious vegan message. These are the kinds of numbers we need to be reaching to get meaningful, impactful change.
How have the the first reactions been worldwide?
Similar to the Pope campaign, we’ve had a lot of mainstream media attention including Fox News, the New York Post, New York Daily and Newsweek. These articles have been positively received and as such we’re hoping to attract over 100,000 people to sign our vegan pledge by the end of January.
In how many countries is this campaign rolled out?
Our website is available in six languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French and Italian) and we have Facebook and Instagram profiles in each language. So, we’re reaching multiple countries, mostly in Europe, North America, Latin America and Australasia.
Will there be further million dollar promotions in 2020? What are your plans?
We’re focusing on this campaign for now, but you never know. Watch this space!