Whenever we see celebrity news, it usually centers around who is twerking whom and what new blended name we need to remember now that two powerhouses have merged their lives in love.
The truth is while many celebrities do spend racks-on-racks on-racks on the latest Gucci whatever, they also frequently put their money where their hearts are. Check out these amazing celebrity charities and let the spirit of giving rub off on you this holiday season.
This organization takes its name from the prison number given to Mr. Mandela when he was incarcerated on Robben Island. Initially created to support global HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention, Mandela realized he would need to engage the support of people and the attention of the youth by locking in the support of high-profile ambassadors. These ambassadors are committed to supporting 46664s values and taking it forward to find new hands to lift the burdens. Two such supporters for this organization include: Alicia Keys and Beyoncé (who was the first artist to perform at a 46664 event). As 46664 continued in its work, its social emphasis naturally expanded to include Mandela’s humanitarian legacy through activities and projects as well as confronting issues of social injustice.
THE JOLIE-PITT FOUNDATION
Angelina Jolie is well known for her charitable efforts around the world. In 2006, Jolie and her partner Brad Pitt founded the Jolie-Pitt Foundation that has been used to fund several worldwide projects such as: Schools around the world; a boarding facility for girls at Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, and another school for girls in Tangi, Afghanistan. The Jolie-Pitt Foundation has also donated $333,000 to SOS Children’s Villages, an organization that has a strong commitment to raising orphaned and abandoned children throughout the world. To launch the Foundation back in 2006, the pair made donations of $1 million to Doctors Without Borders and Global Action for Children.
OMOTOLA YOUTH EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME
The Nollywood superstar, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde’s love for advocacy and humanitarian work has gotten her involved in several projects including work with her foundation, Omotola Youth Empowerment Programme (OYEP). In addition to that, she is currently a United Nations World Food Programme Ambassador and an Amnesty International Campaigner, dedicated to human rights and youth activism. One of OYEP’s most notable accomplishments was an initiative Omotola used to mark the passing of her mother, a much-publicized event where the Omotola Youth Empowerment Programme team showed love and gave a major transformation to 20 widows in an effort to encourage widows who have strived to keep the home front in order despite the demise of their spouses.
THE WILL AND JADA SMITH FAMILY FOUNDATION
Founded in 2001, the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation focuses on areas of education, health, inner-city community development, sustainability and the arts. The foundation has been recognized for awarding PACT (an organization dedicated to providing the promise of a better tomorrow to the communities it serves) with a $15,000 grant to enable its therapists to provide group sessions for children with eating disorders, multiple delays and poor motor skills. According to an article by The Huffington Post, The Smith Family Foundation has also made donations totaling $900,000 to the Lupus Foundation, the Baltimore School for the Arts, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Among the foundation’s major supporters are Tisha Campbell and Malcolm-Jamal Warner.
THE SILVER MOUNTAIN FOUNDATION OF THE ARTS
Founded in the 1980s by Meryl Streep and her husband, The Silver Mountain Foundation of the Arts has been making contributions to the arts for years. According to The Huffington Post, in 2012, Streep donated $10,000 to a struggling charter school in Central Falls, RI. When the check arrived to the director of the Segue Institute for Learning, the note said it was done in support of actress Viola Davis, who’d made a plug for the school and grew up in Central Falls.
Within that same time frame another $10,000 check was donated to Upward Bound, which prepares low-income students for college. In the last three years alone, the foundation has donated about $1 million to Vassar College and a generous amount to a number of other organizations including: Oxfam America, New York’s Meals on Wheels, the Coalition of the Homeless, and the National Women’s Museum.
KEEP A CHILD ALIVE
In addition to Keys’ work with 46664, the 14-time Grammy Award winner also founded Keep A Child Alive (KCA) in conjunction with make-up artist, journalist, and artist agent Leigh Blake. During her first trip to Africa in 2003, Keys was struck by the drastic impact AIDS has when left largely unchecked. Keys’ and KCA have helped raise millions of dollars to care for AIDS patients in Africa and India. Keys is not only the co-founder of KCA, she is also the Global Ambassador. Her work includes media initiatives such as the Spirit of a Child campaign, a controversial “Drug Deal” campaign, and a star-studded “I am African” campaign. In 2008, Keys introduced the KAC campaign “Text ALIVE” where mobile phone users donated $5 to KCA by texting the word to 90999, making it the first charity to have successfully implemented an ongoing texting campaign in the United States. In 2013 the organization earned its second consecutive highest four-star rating from Charity Navigator for demonstrating exceptional financial health.
THE OPRAH WINFREY LEADERSHIP ACADEMY FOUNDATION
The world at large is well aware of Oprah Winfrey’s benevolent persona. Overall she has donated millions to various charities and organizations. To date, Winfrey is using her Oprah Winfrey Foundation, founded in 2007, to support her established Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. In 2006, Winfrey added $36 million of her own money to jumpstart the foundation. Winfrey’s Leadership Academy for Girls is a female boarding school located in Henley on Klip near Meyerton. Since its inception, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls has seen its first graduating class.
The U2 frontman has long fought poverty and hunger. Among his efforts, in 2002 he co-founded DATA (debt, AIDS, trade, Africa) to raise public awareness of the issues in its name. DATA is a founding member of ONE, “the campaign to make poverty history.” Bono launched Product (RED) alongside Bobby Shriver in 2006 to raise money from businesses to buy AIDS drugs for people in Africa. All of the money raised through Product (RED) goes to work helping the countries citizens. Bono also helped launch EDUN, an ethically-sourced high fashion clothing company run by his wife Ali. EDUN produces clothing in developing countries with a mission to drive sustainable employment there.
THE MICHAEL J. FOX FOUNDATION FOR PARKINSON’S RESEARCH
Since its inception in 2000, Michael J. Fox’s foundation has been dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s disease and to ensure the development of therapies for those living with the condition. The organization has funded over $375 million in research.
Although Fox didn’t disclose the news of his condition for seven years, he was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991. When he later announced his retirement from the show Spin City in January 2000, he did so to launch his foundation. Today the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research is the largest nonprofit funder of Parkinson’s drug development in the world.
THE LEBRON JAMES FAMILY FOUNDATION
Founded right before LeBron went into the NBA draft, this organization was created by James and his mother to give back to the community by enriching its support systems. Staffed by volunteers, James’ mother, and his fiancée Savannah, the foundation is truly a family affair. One initiative, the Bike-a-Thon, now dubbed Wheels for Education (WFE) was started in 2011, brings in a group of third-grade students, and begins each year with a two-week technology camp. Throughout the year, the students receive support, encouragement and incentives (like bikes) to push them along their journey to graduation.
The LeBron James Clubhouse in partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and The LeBron Advisory Board is a group of Akron community members who come together to support and create programs focused on helping the children of that city. There are actually other programs involved, showing the depth of commitment.
JULIAN D. KING GIFT FOUNDATION
Since the horrific deaths of Jennifer Hudson’s mother, brother, and nephew Julian, Hudson and her sister Julia have put their grief to good use through the creation of a foundation in Hudson’s nephew’s name. The foundation collects and distributes holiday toys and school supplies to needy children in Chicago. The foundation is dedicated to providing stability, support and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds.
According to DoSomething.org, in another act of charity, Hudson has teamed up with 7-Eleven, a part of the company’s “Cups With A Cause” program, to design a special coffee cup. All proceeds from the cup (featuring Hudson’s candle design and handwriting) will be donated to the charity of Hudson’s choice: Boys & Girls Clubs of America.