Many world-renowned actors, musicians, politicians, and iconic figures have been pursuing initiatives in helping and providing assistance to developing countries. Whether it be initiatives in humanitarian aid, urban development, medical assistance, gender rights, environmental work or any charity geared towards the underprivileged, below is a list of renowned celebrities and their charitable initiatives and self-built foundations, as they are seeking to make a positive global impact for our future generations:
Alicia Keys is the ambassador for Keep A Child Alive, and has traveled to countries such as Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa. While she was there she spoke to teens and young adults who’ve lost their parents to AIDS and are now the heads of their own households. Keys was also the musical director for the 2006 Keep A Child Alive Charity Gala, and offered a private concert as a prize in an auction to benefit the charity.
The Jolie-Pitt Foundation, dedicated to eradicating extreme rural poverty, protecting natural resources and conserving wildlife, donated $1 million to Doctors Without Borders, an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. The organization provides aid in nearly 60 countries to people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe, primarily due to armed conflict, epidemics, malnutrition, exclusion from health care, or natural disasters, for emergency medical assistance to help victims of the Haiti earthquake.
The singer, who received the British Red Cross’ Services to Humanity Award in 2008, dedicates much of her time to raising awareness of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Africa. Lennox released a special fundraising single called Sing, which featured a 23-member choir of female celebrities, including Madonna, Faith Hill, Pink, and many more. Proceeds from the single went to the Treatment Action Campaign (TAC), an organization that that provides much needed support in the continent’s struggle against the deadly virus.
The William J. Clinton Foundation was set up to promote and provide for a number of humanitarian causes. Within the foundation, the Clinton Foundation HIV and AIDS Initiative works to make treatment for HIV/AIDS more affordable and to implement large-scale integrated care, treatment, and prevention programs. The Clinton Global Initiative, funded by the Clinton Foundation, was established in New York City to coincide with the 2005 World Summit. The focus areas of the initiative include attempts to address world problems such as global public health, poverty alleviation, and religious and ethnic conflict.
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest private foundation in the world, founded by Bill & Melinda Gates. It was launched in 2000 and is said to be the largest transparently operated private foundation in the world. The primary aims of the foundation are, globally, to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and in America, to expand educational opportunities and access to information technology. The foundation, based in Seattle, Washington is controlled by its three trustees: Bill Gates, Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet.
The Irish front-man of U2 knows no limitations when it comes to fighting poverty and hunger, and is constantly in direct contact with world leaders and policy makers in his quest to make the world a better place. Bono has been a leader in the fight against poverty, and has helped to create the ONE Campaign, DATA, (RED) and EDUN, a clothing company which is striving to stimulate trade with poverty stricken countries. He was on Forbes’ Generous Celebrity List for his work with Debt AIDS Trade Africa (DATA) against the spread of AIDS and for debt relief in Africa, participation in fundraising concerts like Live 8, and his donation of $50,000 to One in Four Ireland, a charity that helps survivors of sexual abuse.
Bono has received 3 nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, and was knighted in 2007.
In the band’s early years, Coldplay was known to give 10% of their profits to charity.
Coldplay teamed up with REM’s Michael Stipe for a charity single to continue aid for Hurricane Katrina victims; proceeds benefit Mercy Corps. The band has donated items for auctions benefiting Cancer Active and Kids Company, and for several years they have supported Kids Company further by donating proceeds from their Under 1 Roof charity concerts.
The Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) was established in the United States in 1992 and in the United Kingdom in 1993 by Sir Elton John. Together, both entities have raised more than $225 million for worthy programs in 55 countries around the globe since inception.
Today, EJAF is one of the world’s leading nonprofit HIV/AIDS organizations supporting innovative HIV prevention programs, efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS.
Clooney famously founded Not On Our Watch with his Ocean’s 11 co-stars Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt, and producer Jerry Weintraub. The organization’s main goal is to stop the genocide occurring in Sudan. Clooney has visited the area personally, and spoken with victims of rape and torture. His charity has donated millions of dollars to help those suffering in the region, with much of the funding going through the United Nations World Food Programme. Clooney has been known to give generous donations to homeless people, is a supporter of Bono’s poverty-fighting ONE Campaign, and is also on the Board of Trustees for the United Way.
Jessica’s extensive advocacy includes her active support of several non-profits, including V-Day,Healthy Child Healthy World, Step Up Women’s Network, The Children’s Defense Fund, Declare Yourself, and VotoLatino, as well as a role as the global ambassador and co-chair for 1Goal, an international campaign tied to the World Cup to expand global education, alongside Queen Rania Abdullah of Jordan and Bono. She has led several trips to Capitol Hill advocating for women and children’s social justice and as a spokesperson for the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families Coalition, joining leading public health experts to demand government leadership increase protections against toxic chemicals.
Legend established the Show Me Campaign to raise the required funds soon after his fact-finding mission, and partnered with Sachs’ Millennium Promise Alliance to serve needy African villages. In 2008, both Legend and Sachs made a tour of universities all over the US to encourage social, economic, personal, and educational growth. Called the Poverty Action Tour, the sessions challenged people to support the fight against poverty, and promote the charities and groups that champion the cause.
Jon Bon Jovi is the founder of the Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, which exists to combat issues that force families and individuals into economic despair. Through the funding and creation of programs and partnerships, they support innovative community efforts to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. It is the organization’s goal to recognize and maximize the human potential in those affected by poverty and homelessness by offering assistance in establishing programs that provide for permanent, affordable housing while supporting social services and job training programs.
Gaga is keen to harness entrepreneurial energy as evidenced by the substantial sum her concert raised for Haiti. In the wake of the Haiti earthquake, she dug deep and donated all of her proceeds from the January 24 show of her current tour, the Monster Ball (ticket sales, merchandise, etc.), and from her online store; the total amount donated was over $500,000. She has also been very proactive with raising awareness with young women about the risk ofHIV/AIDS. Along with recording artist Cyndi Lauper, Gaga teamed up with M·A·C AIDS Fund’s VIVA Glam campaign, which raised over $160 million to fight against AIDS and HIV, and bring awareness about the diseases to women around the world. By purchasing VIVA Glam lip gloss and/or lipstick, all of the proceeds go directly towards the fund to aid those infected with the disease.
Lance ran the NY Marathon in support of the Lance Armstrong Foundation– Giving inspiration and empowerment to people with cancer through education, advocacy, public health and research programs. (LIVESTRONG)
In 2006 Madonna and Michael Berg founded Raising Malawi, a non-profit organization supporting community-based organizations that provide vulnerable children and caregivers with nutritious food, proper clothing, secure shelter, formal education, targeted medical care, emotional care and psychosocial support. In addition, Raising Malawi supports non-government organizations that offer impoverished families with innovative opportunities for sustainability such as Millennium Promise and International Medical Corps. On corporate, community, and academic levels, Madonna matches every dollar donated to Raising Malawi and is partnered with SocialVibe, the leading social media utility connecting people with brands, empowering them to engage with sponsors and share branded content with their social graph to benefit a cause of their choice.
Portman helped launch FINCA’sVillage Banking Campaign to mobilize the people and resources needed to bring financial services to one million of the world’s lowest-income families through 100,000 Village Banks annually by 2010.
The Australian actress supports a number of charities and has been a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF since 1994. Beginning in 2006, Kidman is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNIFEM. Kidman was involved with the ‘Little Tee Campaign’ for Breast Cancer Care to design T-shirts or vests to raise money for breast cancer.
Oprah Winfrey has donated millions of dollars to various charities and organizations, with most of her money going to three foundations: The Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation.
Hosted PETA’s “Party of the century” gala in 1999, honouring his late wife Linda and those who have committed themselves to carrying on her work for animals.
In 2000, McCartney released A Garland For Linda, a choral tribute album to his wife, who died of breast cancer. Proceeds went to The Garland Appeal, a fund to aid cancer patients. He is a patron of Adopt-A-Minefield.
Prince Harry co-founded the charity Sentebale with Lesotho’s Prince Seeiso to help the orphans of Lesotho. In 2009, he co-founded The Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry with his older brother Prince William. The Foundation’s three focuses are on giving guidance and support to disadvantaged young people, building awareness on sustainable developement and environmental conservation, and on the welfare of members of the Armed Forces and their families.
Robin’s charity work has covered the spectrum from health care and human rights, to education, environmental protection, and the arts. He toured the Middle East with the USO a total of five times, including visits to Iraq and Afghanistan, to help raise morale among the troops and was, perhaps, best known philanthropically for his affiliation with Comic Relief, which was founded in 1986 as a non-profit organization to help America’s homeless. In 2010, Robin gave 100% of the proceeds from his shows in New Zealand to victims of the devastating earthquake in Christchurch.
Scarlett Johansson served as an Oxfam Ambassador for eight years, starting in 2007, and created a video journal of her visit to Kenya with the organization. In 2007 she skipped the Oscars in order to tour India and Sri Lanka as part of Oxfam projects. During her 10-day trip she visited an Oxfam-funded school in Uttar Pradesh, got involved in a few healthcare projects and one domestic violence project involving Indian women, and travelled to Sri Lanka to see how the charity was helping in reconstruction projects after the 2004 tsunami. Johansson also spent time helping Hurricane Katrina victims by dishing out food from USA Harvest to the homeless at the Made Love Cafe in St. Benard Parish in New Orleans.
Sharon Stone is spokesperson for the American Foundation for AIDS Research since 1995. She donated $10,000 at the World Economic Forum to help with malaria-related health efforts, and raised $1 million from the rest of the crowd within minutes of her donation.
Sheryl Crow has been inspired by what the World Food Programme does every day to help children around the world, and encourages her fans to make donations to this non-profit organization. She performed a free concert as part of the All-Star Game festivities, helping to raise money for the cancer charity, Stand Up To Cancer. Crow also did a performance to support the El Faro Orphanage.
The Righteous Persons Foundation was established with Spielberg’s earnings from “Schindler’s List” to fund projects which impact on modern Jewish life (e.g. “to engage Jewish youth, to support the arts, to promote tolerance and to strengthen the commitment to social justice”). As of fall 1995, the foundation had made 30 grants totaling nearly $10 million. The organization projected to distribute more than $40 million over its first decade of existence. The USC Shoah Foundation Institute was established in 1994 by Steven Spielberg to collect and preserve the testimonies of survivors and other witnesses of the Holocaust, the USC Shoah Foundation Institute maintains one of the largest video digital libraries in the world: nearly 52,000 video testimonies in 32 languages and from 56 countries. Following the events of Katrina in 2006, Spielberg donated $750,000 to the American Red Cross, the nation’s premier emergency response organization. He also donated another $750,000 to The Bush-Clinton Fund.
Sting co-founded The Rainforest Foundation with his wife, Trudie Styler, to help save rainforests in South America. An annual benefit concert is held for the Foundation, and the singer had a species of Colombian tree frog, Dendropsophus stingi, named after him in recognition of his “commitment and efforts to save the rain forest”
Whoopi has served on the Advisory Committee for FilmAid International. She has channeled her celebrity into bringing attention to countless causes including AIDS, children’s issues, healthcare and substance abuse. In addition, Whoopi was named a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2003, and serves on the Board of Garden of Dreams.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."