About Bonnie Abaunza
Bonnie Abaunza is renowned in both the entertainment and non-profit worlds for successful campaigns forwarding vital causes.
She developed and executed the social impact campaigns in support of the groundbreaking Emmy-nominated documentary The Hunting Ground, which tackles campus sexual assault, and Joshua Oppenheimer’s Oscar-nominated The Look of Silence about the 1966 genocide in Indonesia. Diane Warren and Lady Gaga’s song Till it Happens to You, from The Hunting Ground’s soundtrack, was nominated for an Oscar and won an Emmy. Lady Gaga performed the song at the 2016 Oscars. The music video has been viewed over 37 million times and has been embraced as the anthem for the movement to end sexual assault on college campuses.
Bonnie has spearheaded the social impact campaigns for the feature film The Promise by Oscar winner Terry George, and the documentary Intent to Destroy, both about the Armenian genocide, as well as Cries from Syria (HBO) from Oscar nominated director Yzgeny Afineevsky, about the crisis in Syria, Bending the Arc, about Paul Farmer and Partners in Health, Harry and Snowman, which focuses on animal rescue, and The Heart of Nuba, about the genocide and crimes against humanity occurring in the Nuba mountains of Sudan, Angelina Jolie’s new animated feature The Breadwinner, and other ground-breaking works. Her campaigns have moved the needle on critical issues including genocide with the Hotel Rwanda campaign, conflict diamonds with Blood Diamond, and abuses by the food industry with Food, Inc.
As a consultant for the United Nations agency, the International Labour Organization, she assisted with outreach to the entertainment community. She launched the ILO’s artist engagement program, Artworks (http://www.iloartworks.org) and spearheaded their End Slavery Now , 50 for Freedom, and Red Card to Child Labour campaigns.
From 2009-2014, Bonnie led the Special Projects & Philanthropy division for Academy Award winning composer, Hans Zimmer. Her initiatives included raising humanitarian aid for Haiti, Pakistan and Japan for International Medical Corps, and working with Madeleine Albright and the National Democratic Institute to advocate for the disenfranchised Romani people in Europe. She launched a successful online advocacy effort with Elizabeth Warren for passage of the Dodd-Frank Bill and the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Prior to joining Hans Zimmer’s company in 2009, Bonnie served as Vice President, Social Action and Advocacy at Participant Media, where she developed social action campaigns to promote the documentaries and feature films produced by Participant Media. From 2001 to 2007 she served as Director of the Artists for Amnesty program for Amnesty International from 2001 to 2007, raising Amnesty’s profile in the entertainment industry and the visibility of human rights campaigns with the public. She co-produced four film festivals, four Academy Awards viewing parties to benefit Amnesty, produced quarterly entertainment industry salons and more than 50 feature and documentary screening events, fundraisers and art exhibits. She worked on numerous high profile campaigns including human trafficking and slavery, ending rape as a tool of war, rehabilitation of child soldiers, justice for the murdered women of Juarez, ending small arms trafficking, protecting the rights of indigenous peoples, and other global issues.
Artists for Amnesty ambassadors and supporters included: Salma Hayek, Jennifer Lopez, Nicolas Cage, Halle Berry, Mira Sorvino, Patrick Stewart, Benicio del Toro, Don Cheadle, Leonardo diCaprio, Jennifer Connelly, Djimon Hounsou, Ryan Gosling, Oliver Stone, Hans Zimmer, Paul Greengrass, America Ferrera, Charlize Theron, Tom Morello, Gregory Nava, Patricia Arquette, Yoko Ono, Geoffrey Rush, Phillip Noyce, Martin Sheen, Antonio Banderas, Emma Thompson and others.
Her Artists for Amnesty events were covered by the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, London Telegraph, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, TIME, People Magazine, US weekly, Variety, Billboard, Hollywood Reporter and international publications and news networks.
Bonnie has received commendations for her human rights work from the United States Congress and from the City of Los Angeles. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Unlikely Heroes, Women in Leadership Award from the City of West Hollywood, Global Champion Award from the International Medical Corps., KCET Local Hero/Hispanic Heritage Award, and was named Goodwill Ambassador to the Government of East Timor (appointed by President and Nobel Peace Laureate, Jose Ramos-Horta). She is a Senior Non-Resident Fellow for Enough Project’s Fellows Program, is a Board member of the ACLU Foundation (Southern California), a Board member of thecommunity.com and Chairman of the Advisory Board of thecommunity.com’s Human Rights Campaign.
She graduated from UCLA with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science with specialization in International Relations. She is fluent in Spanish.