Guarding the Light: The 501st Legion

Image from 501st.com.

I can’t think of a better place to start showcasing the good in our community than by starting with the 501st Legion. You’d be hard-pressed to find a group of fans that are as devoted to the franchise while being as devoted to doing wonderful things both locally and globally.

I’ll just quote the website here to give you an idea of their mission:

The Legion seeks to promote interest in Star Wars through the building and wearing of quality costumes, and to facilitate the use of these costumes for Star Wars-related events as well as contributions to the local community through costumed charity and volunteer work…

So what does the 501st do, exactly?

Well, here’s one example: in September 2016, they announced the 501st Legion Make-A-Wish Endowment Fund. The goal was to raise $150,000 by September 2021, and the fund would help Make-A-Wish and Make-A-Wish International grant Star Wars-related wishes to children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions.

They easily met this initial goal, and it’s only grown from there. The current target is to raise $501,000 (a callback to the 501st Legion moniker) by September 2021, and they’re over halfway there already. If you want to contribute to this (and Make-A-Wish is a wonderful organization to contribute to), you can click here.

Just recently, the Chicago Tribune ran a story on just some of the things the Legion does in the greater Chicago area for those in need. Two of the activities highlighted in the article included the Make-A-Wish work we mentioned above, as well as appearing at Bug’s Pals at Hope Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, IL. At this event, the 501st delivers books and body pillows to children staying at the hospital.

Over in New Jersey on February 9th, the 501st appeared at a screening of Return of the Jedi which was accompanied by a live performance by the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra (not going to lie, I thought about taking a 7 hour drive to check this one out!). As is common with the 501st, the appearance here was made in exchance for donations to charity.

And these are just a couple examples of the work the 501st accomplishes. But one thing I want to highlight here: the work of the 501st also is bringing out the best in those around them. They don’t raise over $250,000 for Make-A-Wish on their own; fans (as well as those who couldn’t care less about Star Wars) are getting involved in great things because of the 501st’s initiative.

All of this (and more) is not only an obvious choice to kick of Guarding the Light, but it makes it easy to see why the 501st Legion really are “Bad Guys Doing Good.”

If you missed the links above, please be sure to hit these up to check out some of the things the 501st Legion is up to:


Guarding the Light is all about Star Wars fans making a difference and using their love of Star Wars to make their friendships, communities, and even the world a bit brighter. If you have an example that you think fits this perfectly, please let us know.

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