If you’ve heard of Misha Collins, you’ve no doubt heard about his countless contributions to charity campaigns and his dedication to helping others. He may play an angel on Supernatural, but he comes close to being a real life angel with his philanthropic pursuits. From creating a chaotic scavenger hunt for good to founding his own charity, Misha is always going the extra mile to help others. And to help those who want to help others, but don’t know where to start. What better way to celebrate his birthday than to highlight his angelic (and sometimes chaotic) charitable acts! So today, we celebrate a man who has inspired us and helped raise thousands upon thousands of dollars for charity and undoubtedly changed the lives of millions. Happy Birthday, Misha Collins!
Dammit, Misha! For those who are unfamiliar, GISH (formerly known as GISHWHES) stands for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt — a week-long, jam-packed event that mobilizes the forces of weird for good. The entire premise grew out of one of Misha’s fond college memories at UChicago; every year, the students would have a 3-day scavenger hunt with crazy items such as stealing sheep or getting tow trucks to tow other tow trucks. Created by Misha in 2011 as an extension of his charity organization Random Acts (est. 2010), GISH features all kinds of wacky activities that allow you to unleash your creativity through fun and crazy challenges – like recreating famous paintings out of pancakes, dressing as The Flash and running around in a real particle accelerator, and dressing up as stormtroopers and completing various activities – all while helping the global community.
GISH is a way for people to defy societal norms and utilize the power of “strangeness” to help others. By giving the proverbial finger to the status quo, GISHers open themselves up to an experience unlike no other, connecting with people across to globe to turn the stigma of uniqueness into a tide of change. While the experience of creatively completing items on the list is undoubtedly exhilarating, the biggest rush comes from knowing that you as an individual made a real difference in someone’s life — and having fun while doing it!
In the past, the proceeds raised have gone towards charitable causes such as providing economic freedom for Rwandan women, rescuing refugees in Lebanon and Syria, protecting at-risk generations of Laotian children by defusing unexploded ordinances left from both the Vietnam and Cold War and providing prosthetics for the individuals injured by said ordinances, and most recently, providing meals for children whose food security was impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic as well as working to end racial injustice.
Misha’s vision of GISH has allowed numerous worthy causes and individuals across the globe to receive assistance in dire times of need while also connecting people through fun, quirky experiences. While GISH may leave you feeling drained by the end of the week, it’s the best type of tired; knowing that you’ve helped someone by donating your time and creative energy into good is something that Misha has repeatedly shown us the value in and we love him all the more for it. Happy birthday, Misha!
I Wish For This
Misha Collins’ “I Wish For This” campaign for Stands took on a life of its own. Partnering with Random Acts to donate to Lydia Place, the campaign helped to fight homelessness, with a special focus on mothers and their families. It was a campaign that hit close to home for Misha, who admitted that one of his wishes as a kid was “for a warm, dry place to sleep.”
Shirts and phone cases were emblazoned with the simple image of a dandelion blowing in the wind and the words “I wish for this…” It was also the introduction of a unique accessory, a bracelet that we could make a wish on. A simple pendant set in a string, you would make a wish when you wear it. When the pendant finally drops, your wish would come true. The image of a dandelion became a bit of an icon itself within the fandom, too, and an image we correlate with Misha himself. Even I have it as part of a tattoo! A beautiful, simple symbol that takes on a whole new meaning when you wish for a little more good in this world.
Misha Teams Up With Michael Sheen
Misha’s most recent charitable campaign with Stands also looped in another familiar, angelic face. We all know that Misha has played the angel Castiel on Supernatural for the last 12 years, so it was only natural for him to team up with fellow actor Michael Sheen who plays Aziraphale on Amazon’s Good Omens. The campaign sports a beautiful image of their characters with the phrase “Be Super Good,” meant to encourage fans to be a force for good in the world. Proceeds from the campaign were donated to groups providing relief for the homeless populations in both the United States and Wales.
The “Be Super Good” campaign had with the phrase and/or art included on the t-shirt and the necklace, which is still available for purchase!
It will come as no surprise to fans who are familiar with Misha’s track record for philanthropic causes that he founded his own charity early on to better facilitate action. Founded in 2009, Random Acts is the charity co-founded by Misha and directed by fellow Supernatural actor and kindness advocate Rachel Miner. The group’s main mission is to perform random acts of kindness around the world with funds raised through campaigns and partnerships. The non-profit raised over $30,000 for UNICEF’s disaster relief efforts in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country. Random Acts also built a Center for Human Development in Nicaragua. The Center for Human Development is now the campus of The Free High School of San Juan del Sur which allows farming families to have access to an education which was previously unreachable.
Recently, the group has mobilized to provide relief for those struggling during the Coronavirus pandemic, donating funds to local charities who are working with this most affected by the virus. Misha’s constant support and compassion for current issues is one of the reasons he known for his philanthropic works.
The Adventurous Eaters Club
One of Misha’s many passions is cooking and he took that to the next level in 2019 when he and his wife Vicki released a family cookbook entitled The Adventurous Eaters Club. The aim was to provide family friendly meals that even the smallest member of the household could help prepare. Of course it wouldn’t be a Collins project without highlighting a charity in some way and that’s just what they did. One-hundred percent of author profits from sales of the book are donated to various charities that help get healthy foods to the people who need it, including The Edible Schoolyard Project. The Edible Schoolyard Project is dedicated to transforming the health of children and the planet by designing hands-on experiences in the garden, kitchen, and cafeteria that connect children to food, nature, and to each other.
The Adventurous Eaters Club is still available on Amazon or through your local bookstore so you can grab a copy knowing your money is going directly toward helping those who need it.
The Ice Bucket Challenge
In the summer of 2014, people all around the world were doing the viral Ice Bucket Challenge, including hundreds of celebrities, to raise awareness for ALS. It’s in the name. You pour ice cold water on yourself (or get someone to pour it on you) and you nominate other people to take part in it. After several people challenged Misha to do it, he posted his own video on YouTube, laying in a bathtub. He says the challenge has become about people one-upping each other, i.e. a bigger bucket of ice, and handling cold water more than someone else but it’s not about that. It’s about fundraising for an important cause. His children then proceed to dump some water on him as he continues talking about how important the cause is.
The video then goes to him fully dry afterwards, telling fans to go to ALS.org for more information and how to help, then challenges fellow Supernatural co-stars Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, as well as Senator Hillary Clinton to do the Ice Bucket Challenge. It was a fun way to participate in a viral challenge that is raising awareness about something so important and getting other people involved. A lot of people probably didn’t know much about what the challenge was actually for, so to have someone like Misha explain more about it and how people can help and learn more was refreshing.
In 2018, Jared, Jensen, and Misha took part in a special challenge for the midterm election, accepting a challenge from cast members of The Flash to assemble their voting squad. They challenged Arrow and Black Lightning to show them their voting squad and told fans to build their own squad and vote, using a special hashtag. It was a great way to not only get fans to vote but young adults who watch Supernatural who may not know a lot about how the voting process works. The internet is a wonderful way to get more people involved in something and with a platform it’s especially easy, which is why it’s so great that Misha uses his for so much good.
The Bad Idea Tour
Once upon a time, someone had a very bad idea. At least that’s what the Supernatural crew said when they announced they would be running the Amica Seattle Marathon and thus the Bad Idea Tour was born. The event helped raise money for Random Acts’ annual Endure for Kindness event while doing so. The team included Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, Misha Collins, Rob Benedict, Rachel Miner, Adam Fergus, Jason Manns, Vicki Vantoch, Genevieve Padalecki, and Charlie Capen. Random Acts partnered with Move for Hunger to ultimately collect over 350 canned good donations and raised over $118,000. The campaign was so inspiring that groups of Supernatural fans joined forces to run marathons or half-marathons of their own to also raise money for charities. The whole event was incredibly inspiring and just goes to show how far Misha will go (26.2 miles to be exact) to advocate for charity.
You Are Not Alone
Back in 2016, Misha joined forces with Jensen Ackles to launch the You Are Not Alone campaign in partnership with Random Acts, To Write Love on Her Arms, and IMAlive. The initiative created the SPNFamily Crisis Support Network, an online support network aimed at helping fans and the general public cope with mental health issues like addiction, depression, and self-harm. Staples of the initiative included training for volunteers to become crisis responders, immediate support hotlines for individuals in crisis, and resources for people wanting information or support. Thousands of trained professionals as well as fan volunteers came together to make the project a reality.
To promote the fundraising shirt campaign, Jensen and Misha made a number of satirical videos that played on the title of the campaign, raising awareness and having a little fun in the process. And doesn’t that sum Misha up in a nutshell? Misha’s use of his celebrity to guide people towards philanthropy while promoting positivity in the world is what he has built his entire persona around. The way he continuously channels his inner light to shine on the plights of others is truly admirable and a quality that we should all strive to emulate.
Williams Sonoma Spatula Campaign
Misha also recently partnered with Williams Sonoma in their new limited-edition spatula collection to raise funds for No Kid Hungry. Misha designed his spatula for the campaign himself and it playfully reads “Pi Hole” and features the first 19 numbers of pi. No Kid Hungry is a nonprofit group who is fighting to end childhood hunger, and 30 % of the profits from the limited-edition spatula collection will be donated to the cause. The campaign page includes quotes from each celebrity about their spatula design, and Misha’s explains his Pi Hole design as follows:
It’s everyone’s responsibility to open up their pie hole and encourage action so kids don’t have to face hunger or food insecurity. Whether people use this spatula for frosting or shepherd’s pie, it’s my hope it can be a small tool in the recipe for ending childhood hunger.
You can purchase the spatula online here!
There are endless ways that Misha has used his platform to raise awareness for numerous charities over the years. Whether it’s setting up a Random Acts booth at a Supernatural convention to accept donated items, convincing us to dress up, paint, or otherwise complete totally random and fun items in the name of kindness, or joining forces with other actors in campaigns that donate proceeds to charities across the country, we know the impacts of Misha’s work can never be measured. He’s inspired his fans for over a decade, always advocates for the less fortunate and always shines a light on charities without hesitation. Misha has changed millions of lives whether they were fans who GISHed or those in third world countries on the receiving end of one of his many fundraisers. We will be forever inspired by his passion and spirit of kindness. Happy Birthday, Misha!