Ben Cohen’s been a busy rugby stud since he launched his Acceptance Tour in Atlanta three months ago and surprised fans by announcing that his namesake StandUp Foundation will be headquartered here, too.
This week, the foundation’s website went live with new charitable partners and so did a line of merchandise created to support Cohen’s anti-bullying work. How much of an impact might it have? The $30 T-shirts proved so popular that it overwhelmed the foundation’s servers – four times.
“It is all good news now, and we appreciate everyone’s patience,” Cohen says in a prepared statement about StandUp’s busy week. “The support we have received from around the world has been overwhelming. Those who believe in what we are doing have enabled us to do more so soon after launching. The shared passion of our team and our supporters really can make the world kinder.”
The foundation is partnering with the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, U.K. gay rights group Stonewall and Bully-Free Zone, a British-based peer-support project.
The merchandise – which includes the blue T-shirt Cohen is wearing (photo) – is from Ben Cohen, USA, the for-profit arm of Cohen’s ventures. But the profits are donated to the foundation, says Patrick Davis, the Atlanta-based president of both organizations.
“The key to really changing culture is making this a brand that people can incorporate into their daily lives,” Davis says in a prepared statement. “Our own StandUp branded merchandise is the first step to doing that. We hope to build a powerful social-commerce brand, like Livestrong or (RED), to unlock profits that are donated to help people who are bullied.”
Better yet, there are hints that Cohen may launch a second acceptance tour. But it will be hard to top the one that started in Atlanta in May. There was the evening spent warming up the Bucks at a practice, downing a few pints at an opening reception, hitting the pitch with them, and joining them at the Eagle.