In a world full of need it is amazing to see celebrities taking an active role to help those who are less fortunate. Furthermore, it is even more eye-opening to discover that these famous actors and actresses do so out of the kindness of their hearts, rather than for public approval.
Some famous people have even created their own foundations. The plus side of owning a foundation is that the founder(s) have control of where and how the money is donated. Most of these charities place their monies in more than one non-profit organization.
However, there are other charities, like the one founded by actor Michael J. Fox, that address only one cause. The downside to having many charities and non-profit organizations asking for money is the donations become sparse.
8 Actors and Their Charitable Hearts
- Orlando Bloom is best known for his roles in “Lord of the Rings” and “Pirates of The Caribbean,” however, the 38-year-old actor joined the fight against Ebola. He made four trips to Liberia as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.
- Taylor Swift, a multi-Grammy award-winning singer-songwriter, endlessly donates to charity. She donated $4 million to the Country Hall of Fame Museum. Swift has granted $150,000 to a school in Alabama that was affected by tornadoes. The singer has also devoted hours of her time to children with cancer, in New York. Swift was named the most charitable celebrity in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
- Keira Knightly played Elizabeth Swann in “Pirates of the Caribbean.” In July 2014, Knightly visited a refugee camp in South Sudan with Oxfam. The actress requested help from the British people to support the 1.5 million victims.
- First lady Michelle Obama launched the Reach Higher Initiative in 2016. The charity encourages young adults in the United States to continue their education beyond high school.
- Emma Watson, 24, is known for her role in the “Harry Potter” series, where she played an intelligent witch with an impressive right hook. During the launch of the United Nation’s #HeForShe Campaign, she delivered a memorable speech. In October 2014, she called on the men of the world to help achieve gender equality. Watson was also named Feminist Celebrity of the Year.
- Star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, Johnny Depp surprised one of his fans after reading a letter she wrote. Depp made an appearance, at her school, as the infamous Captain Jack Sparrow. The actor also donated 500 coats for a film crew working on-set, in the cold. He donates regularly to Dogs Deserve Better, Fans for Charity, and the Actors Fund of America Children’s Hospice and Palliative Care Coalition.
- “The Matrix” star. Keanu Reeves reportedly shared his $80 million, from the films, with the special effects and costume designer teams. He also paid debts for crew members and purchased meals for them. After his sister was diagnosed with leukemia, Reeves took care of her and donated millions to the hospital, in order to speed-up research for the disease.
- Award-winning actress Meryl Streep and her husband Don Gummer donated $1 million to The Public Theater. The couple also granted an undisclosed amount of money to the National Woman’s History Museum.
Other Charities and the Actors Who Donate
- A Place Called home – Al Roker.
Located in South Central Los Angeles, this organization offers a safe and nurturing environment through education and the arts.
- After-School All-Stars – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kobe Bryant, and Maria Shriver.
This charity funds after-school programs to keep children safe and help them succeed. They offer free programs for at-risk youth.
- The American Film Institute (AFI) – Gregory Peck, and Steven Spielberg.
This national institute was founded in 1967. AFI trains the next generation of filmmakers through the exploration of new digital technologies in entertainment, at the AFI Digital Content Lab and K-12 Screen Education Center.
- Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) – Arianna Huffington, Dan Rather, Diane Swayer, and Tom Brokaw.
The committee promotes freedom around the world while defending the rights of journalists, so they are able to report the news without fear of reprisal. CPJ helps to advocate and ensure a free flow of commentary and news. They also take action when journalists are imprisoned, killed, attacked or censored, in their line of work.
- Free the Slaves – Desmond Tutu
Launched in 2000, this charity helps change the conditions that still allow slavery to persist. Free the Slaves explains why it continues to exist, where slavery conditions are the worst. The organization also educates people in order to cultivate a comprehensive response.
- Joyful Heart Foundation – Linda Feinstein, Mariska Hargitay, and Peter Hermann.
This foundation’s goal is to stop sexual assaults, child abuse, and domestic violence. They want to change the response to the victims and support them in their time of healing.
- Marijuana Policy Foundation (MPP) – Adam Carola, Bill Maher, Jack Black, and Jesse Ventura.
This charity was founded in 1996. They focus on public education about marijuana. The goal of the foundation is to become a nation that recognizes cannabis as legally similar to alcohol. The foundation believes the biggest harm that comes from the plant is a prison sentence. Therefore, they are focusing on removing the criminal penalties associated with marijuana use. They emphasize the medical use of the plant for the seriously ill, with a doctor’s approval.
- National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. – Amy Grant, Bon Jovi, Donny Osmond, Martina McBride, and Reba McEntire.
This charity was founded in 1991, by breast cancer survivor Janelle Hail. They provide help for women by inspiring hope to those affected by the disease. The foundation advocates for the education of the illness and early detection through free mammograms for women in all 50 states.
With the help of these actors and actresses, cultivating relationships with charities increases the public’s awareness and stimulates more donations. The work charities and actors do together to help those in need is heartfelt. However, these celebrities are not the only people who can make a difference by donating time and money to charity organizations.
By Tracy Blake
Edited by Jeanette Smith
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Image Courtesy of Kingsley Huang’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License