30 celebrity-backed charitable causes
Charitable giving has become part of daily life for many celebrities. In 2017, Americans gave more than $410 billion to charity, breaking records for the third year in a row. 70% of last year’s total donations came from individual donors, a 3% increase from 2016.
Celebrities often have both the wealth and platform to make charitable contributions and raise awareness for a range of important issues. A variety of non-profits also look to celebrities for endorsement or promotion.
The top celebrity charitable givers are Elton John, Bill Clinton, Annie Lennox, Paul McCartney, and Bono, who each support dozens of causes. In 2017, however, the most charitable celebrity was Chance the Rapper, who started a foundation to empower youth, raising more than $2 million for Chicago public schools. Colin Kaepernick was a close second, while Ariana Grande came in third.
Read on to find out which charitable causes your favorite celebrities support.
Humane Society International
The Humane Society, one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations, works with local animal rights activists to advocate for humane protection legislation. Paul McCartney, Ricky Gervais, Steve Aoki, Judi Dench, and Ke$ha are among some of the celebrities who have supported the Humane Society’s work. In 2006, McCartney visited the Harper Seal nursery as part of an effort to end seal slaughter in Canada.
Water.org draws the public’s attention to unsafe and inadequate water supplies around the world, which is the largest global health problem. Matt Damon founded the organization in 2007, along with entrepreneur Gary White. A number of other celebrities have also jumped onboard to support the cause, including Bono, Justin Timberlake, Madeleine Albright, and Jason Bateman.
Small Steps Project
Small Steps Project is a United Kingdom-based humanitarian organization that raises awareness of poverty, helping to deliver shoes, hygiene supplies, and first-aid kits to children in need. The organization is backed by some of the world’s best-recognized celebrities, including Beyonce, Madonna, George Clooney, and Serena Williams.
Michael J. Fox Foundation For Parkinson's Research
Michael J. Fox started a foundation for Parkinson’s disease research after being diagnosed with the condition in 1991. Barbara Walters, Ben Stiller, and John Mayer have all backed the cause, helping the non-profit fund more than $750 million for research.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project promotes acceptance of all sexualities for teenagers, and suicide prevention among gay and questioning youth. Daniel Radcliffe recorded a PSA for the group in 2012, telling teens he believed that “reaching out for help is the bravest thing a person can do.” Lady Gaga, Betty White, and Queen Latifah also support the organization.
Save the Music Foundation
The VH1 Save the Music Foundation raises awareness for music education programs in public schools. Since its founding in 1997, it has donated $53 million dollars in new musical instruments to more than 2,000 public schools. It should come as no surprise that several famous musicians back this organization, including Britney Spears, Ne-Yo, Nicki Minaj, and Snoop Dogg.
Stand Up to Cancer
Stand Up to Cancer was co-founded by Katie Couric, and raises money for cancer research, while providing information about cancer screenings and treatment. The organization held a telecast in September, and raised nearly $124 million. The organization’s famous supporters include Jon Bon Jovi, Stevie Wonder, Derek Jeter, and Miley Cyrus.
Special Olympics offers sports training and competition to more than two million people with disabilities in 150 countries. Michael Jordan, Bruce Springsteen, Christina Aguilera, and Eva Mendes are all among the organization’s celebrity supporters. Chance the Rapper and Usher also performed at Special Olympics’ 50th anniversary concert earlier this year.
The United Nations Children’s Fund, or UNICEF, works to improve children’s quality of life in more than 190 countries, offering emergency relief, healthcare, and education services. Orlando Bloom visited as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Liberia. “Communities have been at the center of the fight against Ebola, and must continue to be supported,” the actor said. Alicia Keys and Liam Neeson are also UNICEF supporters.
American Foundation For AIDS Research
The American Foundation for AIDS Research supports AIDS prevention, education, research, and advocacy. The organization hosts an annual Cinema Against AIDS gala that has raised more than $22 million for research. Famous hosts of the gala have included Elton John, Elizabeth Taylor, and Sharon Stone. Other celebrities that support the cause: Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian, and Mick Jagger.