“I am actually going to Trisha’s studio in person, and it’s the first time I’ll have left (home). I’m going to do it and come right back,” Fonda said last week from California. “I’m a big fan of Trisha’s, but I don’t know her. She comes from the South and likes the fact that I did this organization 25 years ago, and I’ve stuck with it, and it’s become the go-to organization in Georgia for issues concerning adolescents. She finds that very cool.”
Georgia native Trisha Yearwood played Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre in October 2019. She'll join Jane Fonda in Nashville for a virtual fundraiser for GCAPP.
Robb Cohen Photography & Video/ RobbsPhotos.com
Credit: Robb Cohen Photography & Video/
Credit: Robb Cohen Photography & Video/
Yearwood, who also hosts “Trisha’s Southern Kitchen” on the Food Network, will curate a gourmet meal, which an Atlanta caterer will prepare and deliver to homes to those who donate starting at the $10,000 level. (Turner is supplying bison meat from his Ted’s Montana Grill chain, Fonda said.) The country star will also perform a free concert at the end of the fundraiser and live auction. Sign up for the link to watch the show at gcapp.org/empower.
When Fonda learns during our interview that Yearwood hails from Monticello, she lets out a throaty laugh.
“Oh! Monticello! Will we have things to discuss! Fifteen minutes from Monticello Ted has a plantation where we spent every Christmas and Thanksgiving. I have driven through Monticello so many times.”
Fonda expects many of her friends to call in — castmates from her charming Netflix hit with Lily Tomlin, “Grace and Frankie,” are on the invite list — and a lifetime humanitarian award presentation to Turner by Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron will also take place virtually.
HLN’s “Morning Express” host Robin Meade (“I love her, she’s so enthusiastic,” Fonda said) has been tapped to host the event. Patrons or sponsors can access the event at gcapp.org/empower.
In 1995, Fonda founded what was then called the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention as a method to arm young people with knowledge and skills to shape their futures.
Jane Fonda (second from right) with (from left) Robin Meade, Sheryl Crow and Ludacris at the 2019 GCAPP "Empower Party to Benefit Georgia's Youth."
Since then, teen births in Georgia have decreased 71%, according to GCAPP, progress that allowed the organization to broaden its scope.
“It’s partly the fact that we were so successful in helping the rates to drop. But there were other things that needed to be addressed to help teenagers have healthy, productive lives — exercise, physical health, combatting obesity. I know personally through my own life how important it is to a young person to gain agency over their lives,” Fonda said.
A firecracker in her early 80s, Fonda remains indefatigable. Her efforts as an activist haven’t been quelled by the pandemic. She still hosts “Fire Drill Fridays” online — as well as numerous environmental fundraisers — and recently released the book, “What Can I Do?: My Path From Climate Despair to Action.” Coupled with her onscreen work, which includes the final season of “Grace and Frankie” (expected to resume filming in January), Fonda maintains a rigorous schedule.
“I’m going on 83 [years old], and I think this is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life,” she said of her activism.
But her devotion to GCAPP is undiminished.
“This is the first organization I ever started on my own,” she said. “When I decided in 1994 that I wanted to do it, I traveled all over Georgia. I know Georgia better than Ted (Turner) does, I’ll tell you! I’ve been in counties in North Georgia, South Georgia, Middle Georgia. I wanted to see what was already being done on behalf of adolescents and their reproductive health. I’m grateful to GCAPP because it allowed me to know Georgia so well.”
While Fonda is the figurehead for GCAPP, this year’s “special” presentation online with Yearwood might allow flexibility for additional fun.
“Hey, I sang backup for Dolly Parton at the Grand Ole Opry,” Fonda said with a laugh. “So hopefully Trisha will let me join in (a song).”