We love them, sometimes we even hate them, but mostly we just can’t get enough of them. Celebrities are in the spot light for a reason. They’re entertaining and they do it well. However, this isn’t your typical list on celebrities — today we’re praising them for the different ways they have positively affected different communities they have donated money or time to.
In a world where it’s easy to be distracted by the negative or the scandalous, let’s take a moment instead to appreciate what kindness can do.
1. Leonardo DiCaprio
There doesn’t seem to be a guy alive who loves the environment more than DiCaprio. He has been relentless in his advocacy for it, tweeting, doing talks, picketing, and even donating to the cause. He showed he was truly invested in helping the environment by donating a whopping $15 million from his foundation to partners and groups involved in conservation, as well as to a grant which will help protect portions of the rain forest.
Everyone held their breath while waiting for his name to be called out when he won his oscar. It was an astounding moment that seemed frozen in time — particularly because of how the internet had turned the poor actor into a bit of a lasting joke. However, when DiCaprio won his oscar, he used that moment not to help himself shine, but to use his spot light to talk about environmental issues, denouncing the greed of the coal, oil, and gas industries. He is truly a beautiful cinnamon roll too good for this world, too pure.
2. Ellen DeGeneres
She’s known for being a fun and quirky television host who frequently goes out of her way to help a guest in need. She even did a parody of herself in a video with Jimmy Fallon on Jimmy Kimmel Live where they got into a “Nice Off” — with her being the winner. Since she first gained her celebrity status she has made efforts towards improving the lives of others, giving away an upwards of $50 million dollars of her own money just to her audience alone.
Perhaps, then, rather than being known for her huge donations to charities, she is known for the multitude of her kind gestures on a smaller level. Her humanitarian efforts are no less important though, as all of her acts made in kindness are never done in vein — and equally give hope to those who bear witness.
Though most only know him for his music, and his rapping career— Akon has been doing brilliant things in the background. The Senegal born musician not only founded the Konfidence foundation, which aims to help underprivileged African youth, but also helped cofound the foundation Akon Lighting Africa, whose goal is to bring light to over 600 million Africans left in darkness.
Akon wisely noted that most African charities fail, and the ones that succeed usually involve actual African people in the process. He thinks that will make a large difference in bringing the solar powered energy into the community of the people. Anon seems to be attempting to implement the age old premise of teaching a man to fish so he’s fed for a lifetime.
This Barbados born beauty holds balls in her grandparents’ honor, who believed in fostering a loving and family oriented environment. Her most recent ball earned as much as $3 million which will be used towards The Clara Lionel Foundation, helping to rebuild broken communities all around the world.
When most people think of Rihanna they likely don’t immediately jump to thinking of her as a famous philanthropist. They might be more likely to think about her music or how she’s often pushed into the spotlight for her excellent taste in fashion, but they’d be wrong if they thought that was all there was to her.
When most people think of Rihanna they likely don’t immediately jump to thinking of her as a famous philanthropist. They might be more likely to think about her music or how she’s often pushed into the spotlight for her excellent taste in fashion, but they’d be dead wrong if they thought that was all there was to her.
5. Patrick Dempsey
He helped found the The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing. In their last annual report they noted an earning of $5 million from the 5 consecutive Dempsey Challenges. (For those who don’t know, a Dempsey Challenge is a biking/running challenge.) Even before that though, he donated $250,000 of his own money to the hospital he set up his charity in, where his mother was successfully treated for her ovarian cancer, and that he was even born in.
Nicknamed McDreamy for a reason, Patrick Dempsey is likely better known as the doctor onscreen or love interest in one of our favorite rom-coms. But he’s more than just a talented actor and onscreen love interest. He’s a man with a desire to help others.
6. Michelle Obama
This celebrity choice shouldn’t come as a surprise. The first lady is well known for being very involved in charitable pet projects. However, it’s the passion she puts into her projects, and the outcome of the projects that make them noteworthy.
She not only always conducts herself in a respectable manner, but inspires others to become equally involved in her projects — making a huge difference which ripples with the positive after affects. Recently she became involved in a project with Jill Biden in the charity Joining Forces, which aims to improve the lives of veterans and their families, yielding over $160 million for their efforts. And for that, she deserves her place in this list.
7. Jack Black
Jack Black traveled all the way to Uganda for Red Nose Day recently, along with several other celebrities to see the living conditions of the local children. His visit deeply touched him, bringing him to tears when he heard the personal story of a young child who was forced to collect trash and recycle just to survive, incapable of getting an education but deeply desiring one.
With his concerted efforts in appearing on television and speaking about his experience there and the needs of those he’d met, he helped raised $122 million.
8. Miley Cyrus
I bet you didn’t expect to see her name on this list — but Cyrus has been deeply involved in charities nearly since she began her career in the spotlight. Her most recent venture was to stay the The Happy Hippie Foundation, which aims to pull homeless LGBT youth off the street and offer them basic necessities like food and clothing while they try to find their footing.
Though the charity is still young, Cyrus has managed to help them allocate $4.5 million for their cause, as well as help raise their first location in L.A.
9. Jamie Foxx
People often donate to or help out with charities that are close to their hearts, and there’s no exception here with Foxx. Foxx’s kid sister, DeOndra, has Down Syndrome — which is likely something that’s not common knowledge.
The pair appeared at the Global Down Syndrome Gala, which was a sold out event. Their appearance, along with the appearance of others, helped raise a record breaking $2 million.
10. Liam & Louis
They come from the boy band One Direction, and they took these little girl’s hearts by storm. That part isn’t news, but what they ended up doing for them beyond stealing their hearts is even more precious. These sweet guys helped host a charity event in partner with the Believe in Magic Foundation, which aims to bring some joy to terminally ill children and their families. One of the boys even got his face painted!
After not only dancing with, singing with, and even getting their faces painted with these princesses, they both generously made a combined donation of nearly $7.8 million dollars. I wonder if they know they’re beautiful?
11. Taylor Swift
Once a country star and now a pop icon, Taylor Swift easily has earned her way onto this list. She frequently shows extreme acts of kindness to her fans, like paying for their college or visiting children’s hospitals regularly. She even spares the time for a random group selfie or two, for her fans.
Taylor Swift also started her own education center, which is housed in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Her founding of the education center was the largest single donation ever gifted to the Music Hall, coming in at a whopping $4 million. T-Swift clearly means business.
12. Gordan Ramsey
A celebrity chef? Why not? Everyone should know him by now with all the memes floating around of him yelling about improperly cooked food! Well, he’s known for more than just yelling at incompetent people cooking in a kitchen — he just started his own foundation.
He and his wife Tana started the Gordon Ramsey foundation which will donate its earnings of over $3 million to places like Cancer Research UK, Action Against Hunger, and the Scottish Spina Bifida Association. All of which are causes he says, that are close to his heart.
13.Beyoncé & Salma Hayek
We have another twofer here. Both of these beautiful women have shattered expectations and risen to the tops of their respective fields. Not only do they have wonderful careers to be proud of, but also the differences they’ve made in the lives of others through their combined efforts.
Both ladies teamed up with Gucci in an effort to raise money for Chime for Change, an organization dedicated to improving the lives of girls and women around the world. Together they were able to raise $7.3 million in two years. More than most of us make in a life time!
14. James Franco
Actor and comedian, Franco is an extremely talented guy that we love to see on the big screen. He often shows his diversity in skills in his work, but more recently has been channeling his inner comedian for his public shenanigans. So, what did he do? He threw himself a fake bar mitzvah, of course. Never mind that he’s way past the age of 13.
The event was cohosted by all of his equally famous friends, where they had live performances by Miley Cyrus herself, and Jeff Goldbloom even gave him a fake circumcision on stage. Phew! Thank goodness some good came out of their extreme entertainment. The proceeds for that night tallied to over $2.5 million and went to the Alzheimer’s Association.
15. Kate Winslet
She’ll go down in history both for her unforgettable role in titanic, and for her charitable contributions. Who doesn’t love a sweet story in real life that affirms our image of the actress in movies?
Kate Winslet helped co-found the Golden Hat Foundation which partnered with Amplify Austin in 2015, an online giving festival, earning a whopping $7.7 million. The proceeds went to over 500 different charities in Austin. A girl’s work is never done! Thank goodness for people like Kate Winslet. Picture below is one of the photoshoots Winslet did, promoting The Golden Hat Foundation.