These celebrities who give back raise millions, putting their star power—and sometimes their wallets—to good use.
The oft cited maxim “to whom much is given, much is expected” doesn’t always hold true when it comes to celebs and charitable work. However, some stars align their names and fame to meaningful causes. They are a driving force, from vocal advocacy for change to giving millions to those in need. Here’s a look at some A-list celebs who aren’t just about the headlines. As a result, they make palpable change for a range of worthy causes. Better known as celebrities who give back.
The Academy Award-winning star is one of the most active advocates for eco protection and climate change. A perfect example of celebrities who give back First of all, he helps raise millions for environmental projects and charities (and donated millions out of his own pocket). Further, he runs The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, which raises millions more to help support eco-friendly projects. Some include protecting wildlife from extinction. Others support native and underprivileged people who are greatly affected by the changing environment. Still more focus on restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and areas.
Finally, he doesn’t just fund-raise and pledge money. He literally puts his money where his mouth is. After multiple Academy Award nominations, DiCaprio won a Best Actor award for his starring role in The Revenant. DiCaprio used his acceptance speech to again speak out about the importance of protecting natural resources and those who rely on them. “Making The Revenant was about man’s relationship to the natural world. A world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history … Climate change is real, it is happening right now,” he said. “It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world who do not speak for the big polluters, but who speak for all of humanity, for the indigenous people of the world, for the billions and billions of underprivileged people out there who would be most affected by this.”
Making a Difference
For years, DiCaprio combines his Hollywood presence with the causes he believes in. He hosted an Earth Day celebration and interviewed former President Bill Clinton for a television segment focused on global warming. DiCaprio also co-wrote, produced as well as narrated an environmental documentary, The 11th Hour. He took a significant role in the production of the climate change documentary, Before the Flood.
While DiCaprio continues his humanitarian and environmental work—most recently, through his foundation, DiCaprio pledged $5 million to help fight the thousands of fires scorching the Amazon—he is also hard at work in Hollywood. During his successful career, he has worked alongside famed producers like Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood and Quentin Tarantino. His latest film co-starring Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, was released this past summer to rave reviews. The future for DiCaprio? There are more films on the horizon—playing a killer, a president and artist Leonardo Da Vinci. And his foundation partnered recently with Earth Alliance. The Plan? To “work to accelerate the rate of change and adoption of environmental solutions on a global scale.” leonardodicaprio.org
Anyone who follows Jennifer Garner on social media can’t help but fall in love with her. Do yourself a favor and head to her IGTV for her “Pretend Cooking Show.” What’s not pretend is her kind and giving nature, so it’s fitting that she’s a strong supporter of and ambassador for Save the Children. According to the organization, children in rural America have about a one-in-four chance of living in poverty. Garner, who grew up surrounded by generational poverty, lends her stardom to the issue. Hence she travels around the country to raise funds and awareness, for starters. Celebrities who give back of their time is as important as those who donate money. She also recently testified on Capitol Hill about poverty’s impact on developing minds. savethechildren.org
Nearly a decade ago, supermodel Christy Turlington founded Every Mother Counts. Her charitable organization devotes its efforts to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. It raises funds to support maternal health programs around the world. She started the charity after completing a documentary, No Woman, No Cry. The film is about pregnant women and their caregivers in Tanzania, Bangladesh, Guatemala and the United States. A few years later she directed a follow-up short film, Every Mile, Every Mother. In the film, her charity’s participation in a long distance race is used as a metaphor to highlight the distance some women must travel to get proper maternal care. everymothercounts.org
Beyoncé involves herself with several charities, most notably her BeyGood initiative. It’s tagline: “We’re all in this together. Each and every one of us can make a difference by giving back.” She has used this initiative to collaborate with local partners worldwide during past tour stops. Now BeyGood works with other causes to support disaster relief aid, college scholarships, clean water programs and more. Beyoncé and BeyGood have also teamed with Chime for Change, a global campaign founded by Gucci and co-founded by Beyonce and Salma Hayek. This organization advocates gender equality worldwide and partners with other influential organizations. These include the Kering Foundation, Hearst Magazines, Facebook and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. beyonce.com/beygood and chime.gucci.com
The actor co-founded water.org more than 25 years ago. For that reason, he was one of the OG celebrities who give back. The mission? To provide safe water and sanitation to those in need. Since its inception, the organization has helped more than 22 million people get access to life-changing clean water. What’s interesting about the organization is that it is working to radically change how to achieve access to clean water in impoverished countries. So rather than funded entirely by grants like other programs, water.org’s projects are also funded through loans. The idea is that this strategy helps the people in need build credit while building confidence in banks. water.org
Being the highest-paid actor on TV isn’t lost on big man Dwayne Johnson. He founded The Rock Foundation in 2006. The goal was to fund various programs designed to empower the lives and self-esteem of children who are hospitalized for medical disabilities, disorders and illnesses. He has also supported charities working towards an end to Parkinson’s Disease and AIDS.
Bring Change 2 Mind is a mental health-focused nonprofit started by Glenn Close nearly a decade ago. Through the organization, she works to help end the stigma surrounding mental illness. This is a cause close to the actress’ heart with her sister’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder and her nephew’s of schizoaffective disorder. Among the organization’s standout achievements is a PSA created with Ron Howard featuring people wearing the names of their diseases on t-shirts. It has more than a billion views. bringchange2mind.org
Proving once and for all that models are more than just a pretty face, Karlie Kloss created Kode With Klossy. This free coding camp for girls ages 13 to 18 takes place across the United States. It gives young girls career opportunities and learning experiences of which they may have never dreamed. Through the camp, Kloss makes coding, and specifically encouraging under-privileged girls to learn how to code, her passion project. Even more it confronts the stigma that girls in STEM are not cool. To the contrary. kodewithklossy.com