Fans of FX’s hit television show Sons of Anarchy know most of the characters as members of a California biker gang who ride on the wrong side of the law, but when the cameras stop rolling, these actors give a great deal of their time and energy to promoting and raising money for various charities. Kim Coates, who plays “Tig,” was a guest this past weekend at Chiller Theatre’s Toy, Model, and Film Expo and was gracious enough to talk to Woman Around Town about the various charities he and his fellow castmates support.
Kim’s favorite charity is One Heart Source, a non-profit organization that provides sustainable homes as well as community-based programs focusing on education, health, and empowerment to children in Tanzania and Cape Town who were orphaned as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Kim’s passion for One Heart Source not only stems from the incredible work it’s done, but also for the fact that his daughter, Kyla, travels to Africa for several months each year as the Education Programs Manager along with other staff to execute various programs that have included building homes for the children to live in, developing nearby sustainable agriculture, establishing after-school programs in English and the arts, and implementing HIV/AIDS prevention courses. OHS was founded in 2008 by UCLA students and is staffed completely by volunteers.
When Kim wanted to raise money for OHS, he came up with the idea to host an event where fans could meet and mingle with the entire cast of SOA and bid on rare auction items. The idea became reality, and the first Hogs for Heart held last October proved to be an incredible success. A total of $53,000 was raised, providing the eleven children who were permanent residents of the OHS home to receive academic and medical sponsors for 2013. Building on the success of the first event, a second Hogs for Heart was held just weeks ago and brought in $92,000, including $20,000 specifically for a mobile classroom, which was raised in eight minutes flat.
In addition, when Kim participated and won the celebrity pole position at the Long Beach Celebrity Grand Prix for the 36th annual Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race, he selected One Heart Source as the beneficiary of the $15,000 donation from People Magazine awarded in conjunction with the 15th annual People Pole Award.
Most actors would be satisfied with supporting one charity or raising money at one event. Not Kim Coates. He, as well as cast member and close friend Theo Rossi, who plays “Juice” on Sons of Anarchy, are ambassadors of the Boot Campaign, a grassroots initiative which encourages everyone to “get their boots on,” providing a way for Americans to show their appreciation for the troops fighting overseas and cultivating an awareness of the challenges they face upon return as well as raising funds for military programs to meet the physical and emotional needs of our heroes. The cast of SOA also supported the Boot Campaign by participating in three annual Boot Ride and Rally events where fans were able to ride their motorcycles alongside the actors.
The Boot Campaign began with five women from Texas and has grown into a movement supported by actors, musicians, politicians, sports figures, and American heroes. Boots as well as t-shirts and other items are available for sale on the website, and 100% of the proceeds goes to support the mission of the Boot Campaign Programs, which help wounded military and their families with job placement, mortgage-free homes, PTSD counseling, and more.
Also in support of America’s troops, Kim has done three USO tours. “On my first tour we went to Iraq and Kuwait and that was a life-changing experience for me.” Other cast members who have done tours include Theo Rossi, Mark Boone Junior (Bobby), Ron Perlman (Clay), and Dayton Callie (Unser).
Originally from Saskatchewan, Canada, Kim still has strong ties with his homeland and participates in a variety of charities and events up north such as the Car Rally for Kids with Cancer Scavenger Cup in Toronto. This week fans and friends in his hometown will be joining him at Creative Mayhem, an event held by Creative Kids Saskatoon, an organization that provides financial assistance for children to participate in the same art and cultural activities as their peers, regardless of a family’s social and financial barriers.
A dog owner and huge animal lover, Kim appeared in a video to promote the Burbank Animal Shelter as well as the adoption of shelter animals needing a forever home.
Kim is also a big supporter of Theo Rossi’s charity, Staten Strong. Originally from Staten Island, Theo was devastated by the effects Hurricane Sandy had not only in his hometown but in his own neighborhood where he grew up. He immediately sprung to action, and along with his family, friends, and neighbors, he quickly founded Staten Strong to raise money for families in immediate need of groceries, clothing, fuel, and generators, and over this past year, he and the Staten Strong team have re-built three homes that were damaged by the storm.
Even though it’s been a year since Sandy, there’s still much work that needs to be done to rebuild the Staten Island community and help people whose homes and businesses have suffered significant damage. Staten Strong will be having fundraisers in the upcoming months. Check out their Facebook page to keep up to date on various events to participate in and support, and visit statenstrong.org to sign up to volunteer, make a donation, or buy t-shirts and other merchandise, with the proceeds going directly to those in need.
When Kurt Sutter, the creator and executive producer of Sons of Anarchy, cast the show six years ago, he didn’t just pick amazing actors, he picked amazing people—people who truly care about helping others less fortunate. Knowing this makes watching new episodes with the “Men of Mayhem” every Tuesday night an even greater experience.
Watch Sons of Anarchy every Tuesday night at 10 pm on the FX Network.