Improv Inc. uses humor to raise money for Haiti

Hurricane Matthew, classified as a tropical storm on Sept. 28, was the first hurricane of Category 3 or higher to hit the southeast U.S. in more than a decade, according to Time.

Ripping through the Caribbean, the storm produced winds of up to 160 miles per hour. More than 1,000 Haitians were killed by the storm, according to a report by Reuters. Then the storm hit Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, bringing heavy rains and flash flooding, according to The Weather Channel. In the U.S., millions of people across multiple states were evacuated and 43 people have been killed.

Junior integrated educational studies major Dayna Sipila (left) donates money to Improv Inc.’s Haiti relief fundraiser before the show, as freshman film production major Kelly Cripe collects donations. Photo by Chloe Arrouye

Junior integrated educational studies major Dayna Sipila (left) donates money to Improv Inc.’s Haiti relief fundraiser before the show, as freshman film production major Kelly Cripe collects donations. Photo by Chloe Arrouye

In a public address, President Barack Obama said, “Even as we prepare for the hurricane here at home, I want us to keep in mind that Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the world, already suffering from a range of previous disasters, has been hit really hard by this storm, and we anticipate that they are going to need substantial help. There may be similar needs in places like the Bahamas.”

Chapman’s Improv Inc. held a performance Oct. 10 to benefit those affected by Hurricane Matthew. The club raised $450, said Jake Ellenbogen, senior television writing and production major and president of Improv Inc.

The money was donated to Sustainable Organic Integrated Livelihoods, a nonprofit that transforms waste into resources in Haiti through ecological sanitation. The donations, which were made via CommitChange, will be used to distribute emergency supplies in affected areas of Haiti.

“To me this means I don’t have to worry about being charitable again for a little while, which is nice because I’ll be able to focus on important things like improv and catching up on that new Netflix series ‘The Ranch,’” Ellenbogen said.

Many students who attended the event were eager to help victims of Hurricane Matthew.

“It is devastating to see all the destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew,” said Zak Pesner, a senior communication studies major. “All of those who have died in Haiti, it makes me sad. Haiti has struggled to recover after their destructive earthquake back in 2010, this only exacerbates the problems the country faces. It is nice that (Improv Inc.) and the rest of the Chapman community (came) together and (helped) victims across the world.”

Ellenbogen said it was hard to tell how many students attended the event.

“I try not to look at the audience during the show, so it is hard to say for sure how many people were there, but it felt like thousands,” Ellenbogen said.

The show filled most of Irvine Lecture Hall, which seats up to 150 people.

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  • […] The SOIL team was thrilled to hear that a Chapman University improv comedy troupe called “Improv Inc” was inspired to raise funds in support of Hurricane Matthew relief work by making people laugh! Proceeds from the troupe’s most recent show on the Chapman campus in southern California were donated to SOIL – and we are honored to have been selected as the recipient of Improv Inc’s generosity. To learn a bit more about the troupe and the inspiration behind the benefit show, read this article … […]

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