'None of us are in this alone': Billy Porter on the importance of Giving Tuesday

The actor shared why giving back is so important.

December 2, 2019, 6:27 PM

Billy Porter is an outspoken advocate for underrepresented communities, so it comes as no surprise that he is celebrating #GivingTuesday this year by using his platform to help those in need this holiday season.

The Tony, Grammy and Emmy award-winning actor is raising awareness for the day designed to honor and promote charitable giving across the nation.

"Having been a person who grew up in the church, the only thing I know and what has been instilled inside of me from the moment I can comprehend thought is about giving back," he said in an interview with "Good Morning America," through his partnership with PayPal. "That's how we enrich our own personal lives."

"Paying it forward and giving back is the way that we enrich the culture and make the world a better place," he continued.

Porter supports all aspects of charitable giving but has a vested interest in a few organizations that have impacted his life.

"Being a part of the Broadway community, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS has been one of my go to organizations -- also the Actors Fund of America," he shared.

When we give to others, we naturally give to ourselves.

"The Actors Fund has been around for 137 years -- their mission is to make sure that artists are taken care of for the totality of their lives," he continued. "As freelance artists, it's very often we find ourselves in conditions sometimes that are trepidatious at best."

He also said that The Actors Fund, "stepped in and helped me when I had some rough times financially."

"My mother is actually a resident at The Actors Fund nursing home right now, so that's a cause that's very near and dear to my heart," he added. "It just reminds me that we're all in this together."

Porter also shared both traditional and non-traditional ways of participating in #GivingTuesday this year. Outside of monetary donations, there are many ways to get involved.

"Volunteering, for instance, at a a food bank, or you could volunteer to mentor a youth in need," he suggested. "Those clothes you have in your closet that you haven't worn for decades and you're never gonna fit into again? You can donate those. People are in need of those."

Patronizing small businesses is another aspect of giving Porter encourages. "Those businesses are always connected to the community and always connected to giving back," he shared. The actor noted PayPal is matching 10% of every donation made to its' Giving Fund, up to a total of $600,000 for #GivingTuesday.

He reminded people to remember what the true meaning behind #GivingTuesday is. "None of us are in this alone. We all need help, and when we give to others, we naturally give to ourselves," he said.

Outside of physical acts of charity, Porter's tendency to raise his voice for the underrepresented is another way he gives back.

"The reward is in the doing," he shared on the most gratifying aspect of activism. "Give openly, give freely, give without expectation. The giving is the blessing, the giving is the gift."

After such a tremendous year, in which he made history when he became the first openly gay black man to win lead actor in a drama at the 2019 Emmy Awards, Porter reflected on what he's truly grateful for.

"I'm proud of myself for finally understanding and having the courage to choose myself," he said. "To choose my own authenticity in the face of everybody telling me that it was useless and that would be the end of my career. I'm glad that I had the courage to do it anyway."

To those struggling to come to terms with their own authenticity, Porter said to, "do it, do it any way."

"You know, you either do it or you don't ... Stop thinking about it and just do it. There is no magic spell -- there isn't," he said. "You just simply show up for your life and do it."