One of the greatest things that sets humanity apart from other species on the earth is generosity. Whatever the motivator is, we are kind, caring, compassionate individuals with the capability to help those whom we’ve never met and likely will never meet, and we still care enough about such people to give what we can to help. Selflessly helping others without any monetary gain is something to be exalted, to strive for as a people.
Though it isn’t the only group to answer this calling, the brony fandom is one of the fastest-growing sources of charity work in the world. In fact, we donate so much money that a couple organizations have sprung up exclusively to raise money for those in need, specifically rallying under the flag of the bronies to give all we can back to the world.
Out of all the fandoms in the world, there’s not very many that can claim to have charities as an integral part of their work in the name of a show. Considering that we originally gathered together to discuss and share our appreciation of a simple TV show, not one of the generic reasons for becoming a charity (like publicity, in the case of many funds), thinking about where this carries into the world is fascinating in and of itself.
Think about this for a moment. Bronies aren’t even united under a single creed, yet charity drives and fundraisers tend to raise several thousand dollars minimum. Despite the only thing uniting us being ponies, we come from far and wide to promote the spirit of kindness and generosity. Charity is born out of the core concepts of the show; however varied we may be, whatever walks of life we’ve trodden, the experiences we’ve had both shared and alone, whether we be friends or enemies… the show is the glue that sticks us together, and charity is born naturally out of it. We really do have a great opportunity to help the world.
And how have we taken advantage of this opportunity? By creating charity organizations! The first notable organization, known as Bronies for Good, releases compilation albums that feature brony musicians both big and small, and all proceeds for buying the album go directly to the charities that the fundraiser is sponsored by. In addition to this, they have a blood drive actively running right now, and they just finished a 24-hour livestream this morning that was to raise money for rainwater harvesting tanks in Tanzania.
The second organization that we hear about often, the Brony Thank You Fund, is currently the only brony charity that is currently recognized as a public charity, who, despite having a few corporate donors, are majority funded by bronies. They help fund causes from all over the board; in fact, they are currently funding animation scholarships at the California Institute for the Arts. In addition to this, they donated to the Marine Toys for Tots campaign last year and have gone so far as to help other charity projects that aren’t doing as well as expected. With how many worthy funding projects there are, they are doing their best to make a difference in this world, and they have definitely changed some lives despite how young their charity is, whether they directly paid for it or provided help to those who were trying.
Wherever we seem to look, there are bronies giving for something or other. Ever heard of Kickstarter or Indiegogo? Both of these sites are ways for little-known or underfunded projects to gain some publicity and money to release whatever it is they want to have created. The documentary “Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Fans of My Little Pony” was completely funded by donations the brony community made, as well as the subsequent footage that didn’t make it into the documentary, known as “Bronies: The Unreleased Tapes.” Lab Zero Games, the company responsible for the game “Skullgirls,” gave the brony organization Mane6 use of the Z-Engine for making their new fighting game after they raised a certain amount of money in their fundraiser, ensuring the support of a high number of bronies.
In addition to this, opportunities abound to give to the little people in need. There are plenty of musicians, artists, writers, and other various creators of content who barely scrape by from day to day, and a $5 donation can help them eat like a king for a day at McDonald’s (though they’ll probably spend what they get on something more worthwhile than what I’d spend it on). When you think about it, $.50 for a song or $5 for a 12-song album are very reasonable prices; I’ve seen plenty of EPs that are $10 and full-length albums for $12 in stores, yet, the brony community doesn’t place such a high price on their content. Sure, there are pirates, and that’s to be expected in today’s society, but everyone who does donate helps that creator out just that little bit more. The difference can be anywhere between a meal for the night and keeping a house.
On a more somber note, bronies will also help those who don’t always have the best lot in life. One of the most popular charity drives, this one for the young girl Kiki Havivy, helped her live her life at least somewhat more comfortably while she could still hold on. The loss of Kiki has hit many in the community hard, as she was something of a rallying force for the true, unabated generosity of bronies… but that doesn’t mean we’ve stopped. Another notable charity that has come up more recently is that for Lindsey Stegner, whose brother is a brony, and who is getting help little by little from the community.
Bronies can’t always donate, but when they do, it leaves a lasting impression on those they’ve helped. If a show about multicolored equines is moving enough to turn callous Mr. Scrooges into generous benefactors, it says something about us as a people, perhaps. In the face of brony charity, maybe the selflessness of humanity isn’t a dead utopian ideal after all. For as long as we’re around and we’re willing to help, the world will continue becoming a better place, whether by tiny increments or huge leaps. Some might say it’s a fandom that they’re proud to be a part of.