• UO Giving Guide: Derek Chadwick

    The best gift is giving back. We're highlighting 8 inspiring young creatives and joining them in supporting 8 deserving charities this holiday season. See what they're wishing for this year, and learn more about how you can give back too.

    This holiday season, actor Derek Chadwick tells us why giving back is so important. We worked with him to support Food Bank NYC by donating $5k on his behalf. Follow @foodbank4nyc to learn more and donate!
    Photos by Leo Chang

    Name: Derek Chadwick
    Occupation: Actor
    Charity: Food Bank NYC

    Hi Derek! Can you tell us about your charity?
    The charity is Food Bank NYC. Their mission is to help low income families in all five boroughs by offering support and a community for them to go to. They help feed 1.5 million people each year. Ultimately, they want to help these families become independent and overcome food poverty.

    What makes it so important to you?
    As a fellow New Yorker and growing up on Long Island, I have seen these issues firsthand. Helping people who are struggling is extremely important to me because I understand how empowering a strong community can be. These people need a support system, and Food Bank is that for them. Being a part of such a great charity really has opened my eyes to how much change needs to be done and how much just one individual can help.

    What other causes are important to you right now?
    All the natural disaster relief. Hurricane Maria that hit Puerto Rico, Hurricane Irma and Harvey that hit the southern coast, and the California wildfires all left families with nothing. Seeing these people struggle made me want to step up and help. Even just even getting the word out there and donating any little bit really does help. We need to make sure that they are staying positive, and know that they have a support system within our country.

    What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten from someone?
    My best friend gave me a special Polaroid camera that I had been wanting for a while. I am truly a '90s boy. Like, give me some faded light denim and a pale t-shirt and I'm good to go. Polaroids really change the whole mood of photos and are so much more meaningful! You can seriously find Polaroids in my wallet, bags, drawers, just about everywhere.

    Favorite gift you’ve ever given someone?
    My friend really wanted to get into fitness and so I surprised her with a few full gym outfits to get that ball rolling and she was beyond grateful. #fitfam

    What’s on your wish list this year?
    I've always been more into experiences than material things. Paris is somewhere I've been wanting to go for so long! Really hoping to be at the Eiffel Tower sometime next year!

    Favorite holiday tradition?
    Decorating the Christmas tree with my family. Seeing the ornaments I made in 5th grade is cute too, I guess.

    What holiday movie can you watch on repeat?
    Home Alone is for sure one of my faves!

    Proudest moment from this past year?
    The positive response and acceptance I've received from members of the LGBT community. I love reading messages from people saying that I've helped change or shape their lives in one way or another. I know firsthand that coming out can be extremely difficult - I was once really afraid as well. I'm forever grateful for the opportunity to help other members of my community who are struggling the same way I did. I just want to show that it really will be okay.

    What are your hopes and dreams for 2018?
    I really want to put my acting career at the top of my goals for 2018. Who knows what's in the future for this next year?! 

    Read more about Derek's charity, Food Bank NYC, here