News and analysis
July 01, 2015

Push-Up Challenge Draws Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Carson Daly


The NY Mets participating in the #GiveThem20 campaign.

Celebrities including Jimmy Kimmel, Carson Daly, and the entire New York Mets baseball team are flexing their muscles as part of a new social-media-driven nonprofit campaign.

Under the hashtag #givethem20 on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, participants are challenging one another to do 20 push-ups, sit-ups, or other calisthenics in a salute to military veterans.

Behind the campaign is American Corporate Partners, a New York-based organization whose mission is to create professional development opportunities for post-9/11 veterans. The challenge is designed to drive attention to its online platform, ACP AdvisorNet, which connects private-sector workers with transitioning veterans to share career advice and other types of support.

"We are trying to give people a way to share their thanks but also to give a few more options for people to engage," said Colleen Deere, vice president at American Corporate Partners.

Some participants have made donations as part of the #givethem20 campaign, Ms. Deere said, but she declined to provide a dollar amount and said that fundraising is not the focus.

She and her colleagues wanted the campaign to feature activities that would be easy for people to participate in during barbecues and other traditional summer social gatherings. They also needed to be easy to videotape on mobile devices and share on social media, Ms. Deere said.

Comedian Jon Stewart, a longtime advocate for military veterans, kicked off the #givethem20 challenge on Memorial Day.

It got a boost this week when Stephen Colbert accepted a challenge from John Oliver to do 20 push-ups, executing the task with his trademark humor and some clever camera work. In turn, Mr. Colbert challenged James Corden, Jimmy Kimmel, and "either Karl Lagerfeld or the Pope, you two work it out guys."

Still, while it has attracted some big-name participants, the #givethem20 remains a far cry from last year’s ice bucket challenge. The hashtag has been used 1,388 times in the last month, according to the Twitter analytics site Topsy. It has been used a total of 133 times on Instagram. Meanwhile, the ice-bucket challenge attracted an estimated 5 million participants and generated $115 million for the ALS Association.

Send an e-mail to Megan O’Neil.