What Exactly Is A Not-For-Profit Actor?

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The idea of buying a house might seem like a pipe dream for a lot of us.

But in 2019, Twilight actor Michael Sheen was more interested in selling his.

In a recent interview with The Big Issue, Sheen described himself as a ‘not-for-profit actor’, and spoke about how liberated he feels after deciding to use the money he makes from acting to fund various projects that he believes in.

Not For Profit Acting

In a business sense, profit is the leftover money that a company makes once all of its costs have been accounted for.

It’s the cash that can turn an entrepreneur into a billionaire.

But there are heaps of not-for-profit organisations too.

And any extra money they make is usually re-invested back into the organisation, or any social causes it wants to support.

Like The Big Issue, for example.

It was founded as a newspaper in 1991, and its whole focus is around supporting people who experience homelessness.

When Sheen spoke to The Big Issue this month, he talked in depth about why he now sees himself as a ‘not for profit actor’.

He’s reportedly pledged to use the money he makes from acting to fund social enterprise projects.

One of those is a bursary that helps students from Wales study at Oxford University, which Sheen has pledged to give £50,000 to over five years.

Why Sheen Turned Not For Profit

In the interview, Sheen spoke about a specific moment from two years ago that had a big impact on his mentality.

He had committed to helping organise a soccer tournament that’s put on every year by an organisation called the Homeless World Cup Foundation.

The tournament takes place over a week, with more than 500 players representing over 50 countries taking part, who have all faced homelessness and social marginalisation.

In 2019 it was meant to be held in Cardiff, but Sheen told The Big Issue that not long before the event was planned to go ahead, the money for it dried up.

He said that when it did, he felt that he had to make a decision.

He could walk away from the tournament – it wouldn’t happen, and all the people who had been looking forward to what he called a ‘life-changing experience’ wouldn’t get it.

But he didn’t want that to happen, so Sheen bankrolled the tournament himself.

He put the two houses he owned up for sale, and said that the whole thing was ‘scary and incredibly stressful’.

But the tournament went ahead, and for Sheen it was a moment of realisation.

He told The Big Issue that he realised he can keep earning money from acting – that giving it away isn’t going to ruin him financially.

And that the idea of putting large amounts of money into different things, knowing that he’ll be able to earn it back again, was something he had found to be quite liberating.

Sheen’s Philanthropy

A lot of people have tweeted their admiration of Sheen since The Big Issue interview was published.

One doctor wrote that Sheen’s been supporting various healthcare campaigns in the UK since 2015.

He is also the president of a charity that provides rehabilitation and therapy in Waales, where he’s from.

And he’s also a patron of many other charities, as well as the Welsh ambassador of one that offers after-school film clubs to schools in an effort to improve children’s literacy levels.