Holly with her husband and kids at her annual DesignCare event last year benefitting The HollyRod Foundation. From left to right, Ryan Elizabeth Peete (14), Rodney Jackson Peete (14), Rodney Peete, Roman Matthew Peete (7), Robinson James Peete (9), Holly Robinson Peete.
Holly Robinson Peete is an actress, author, talkshow host, activist, philanthropist and Mom. She recently joined the cast of the hit comedy series Mike & Molly and is well-known for playing the character Judy Hoffs on the television show 21 Jumpstreet. Robinson Peete was also a tough competitor on the third season of NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice. Making it all the way to the finals, this renaissance woman set a fundraising record for her charity, HollyRod Foundation and shed a national spotlight on two causes very personal to the Peete Family: autism and Parkinson's disease. Not too long ago she took on rapper 50 Cent about his use of the word "autistic" in a Tweet. You can click here to read her open letter to him setting the record straight on autism.
The HollyRod Foundation was founded in 1997 by NFL quarterback Rodney Peete and actress Holly Robinson Peete. The foundation is dedicated to providing help and hope to those living with autism and Parkinson’s disease and providing a better quality of life through support and resources for these individuals and their families. On July 21, 2012 the couple will be hosting their 14th Annual DesignCare event to raise money and awareness for their cause.
Interview Conducted Via E-Mail By Giacinta Pace
Q: What is your charity and how did you become involved?
Holly: [The] HollyRod Foundation [which] I started 14 years ago with my husband. My father had Parkinson's and we discovered families really needed compassionate care. Some years later our son was diagnosed with autism so we expanded our mission to include autism as well.
Q: Have there been any particularly moving moments you have had while working with them?
Holly: Too many to count. Since HollyRod was founded because of my Dad and son, it's all very personal. Setting a fundraising record on Celebrity Apprentice Season 3 was a high point but by far the best moments are when we can tangibly provide help and hope to a family affected by Parkinson's or autism.
Q: When there are so many other organizations out there, why should people support THIS cause?
Holly: Because autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the country , more prevalent in childen than juvenile diabetes, AIDS and cancer COMBINED. Yet autism receives much less funding. Familes impacted by autism struggle mightily financially and emotionally. [The] same with Parkinson's. HollyRod helps families cope.