There’s nothing more refreshing to hear about than celebrity charity work. Learning that your favorite celeb is not only a great singer, actor, etc. — but actually a good person — is one of the greatest feelings ever. Whether it’s donating their own funds, raising awareness for pressing issues, or using their resources for the greater good, it’s important for celebrities to use their influence (and bank accounts, hello) for something other than their own lifestyle. Here are some celebrities who have gone above and beyond when it comes to sharing the wealth.
If you needed another reason to love Rihanna, you should hear about the insane amount of celebrity charity work she does. Rihanna works with numerous charities, most notably UNICEF, the Red Cross, Raising Malawi, and her own foundation — The Clara Lionel Foundation. Rihanna’s foundation works to benefit impoverished communities all over the globe — primarily focusing on education and healthcare. She works with countless other celebrities and global leaders in the hopes of giving back. In 2017, RiRi even won Harvard University’s Humanitarian of the Year award.
15. Angelina Jolie
It’s almost hard to remember a time when Angelina Jolie was only known as an actress. When it comes to celebrity charity work, no one has dedicated nearly as much of their time as Angelina. She’s involved with nearly 30 charities, but is most well-known for her work as a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, meaning she helps to educate the public about the refugee crisis and what we can do to help. She’s also a co-chair of the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict and was the first person to ever receive the Citizen of the World Award from the United Nations Correspondents Association. Impressive!
14. Emma Watson
You know her best as Hermione, but Emma Watson has also done a few magical things when it comes to celebrity charity work. Most notably, Emma is very vocal about women’s rights and gender inequality across the globe. Her passion for feminism flourished after she graduated from Brown, and began traveling the world to involve herself in humanitarian efforts. In 2014, she was even named a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women and served as an advocate for the UN’s HeForShe campaign.
Since the beginning of her career, singer Kesha has been hugely involved with charity, especially when it comes to animal rights. She has worked on several campaigns to bring awareness to issues like animal testing, shark hunting and the environmental effects of fishing. She even won the Humane Society’s Wyler Award in 2013. Recently, however, her celebrity charity work has focused on more personal issues after her highly-publicized lawsuit against Dr. Luke. She has since held benefit concerts to raise money for charities such as the Humane Society International, the National Eating Disorder Association, and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
12. Colin Kaepernick
Recently Colin Kaepernick has been a hot topic of conversation, primarily due to his more recent activism and his efforts to bring awareness to police brutality. Kaepernick is most well-known for his vocal stance against racism in our country after his protests during NFL games’ National Anthem. But he also donates huge amounts to charities and he has almost reached his pledge to donate $1 million to causes that bring even more awareness to the issues he cares about. He rarely speaks with the public about these efforts but has become a quiet champion of racial justice in our country through his charity work. Kaepernick is involved with dozens of non-profits that aim to better the situations of underprivileged children and marginalized groups.
11. Nicki Minaj
When it comes to celebrity charity work, no one has been quite as personal about it as Nicki Minaj. Nicki has always been an advocate for children’s education, showing her support for charities like Save the Music (which helps to promote music education). But recently, Nicki took it upon herself to respond to direct requests from her fans. She helped fans pay for things such as student loans, textbooks, and summer classes. After completing these impromptu donations, Nicki announced she will soon be launching an official organization to help students with financial difficulties.
10. Miley Cyrus
Miley Cyrus is another celebrity who’s constantly involved in many different events, organizations and campaigns involving charity work. Just this year she donated $500,000 dollars to Hurricane Harvey victims. While she’s been associated with over 40 charities, most of the charity work that Miley does is actually through the organization she started herself, the Happy Hippie Foundation. This org works to help raise money and provide resources for homeless youth, LGBTQ+ youth, and other vulnerable groups of young people.
9. Demi Lovato
Demi Lovato’s celebrity charity work is something extremely personal to her. After her public battle with an eating disorder, bipolar disorder, and other mental health issues — Lovato decided to become an advocate for other people in her situation. Most notably, she works to remove the stigma of mental illness.
She has received several awards and was even chosen to speak at the Democratic National Convention about the mental health crisis in our country. She has also donated a significant amount of money to countless charities and started the Lovato Treatment Scholarship Program to help individuals pay for treatments surrounding mental wellness.
Although Zendaya is most well-known for her singing and acting skills, she’s also made a name for herself when it comes to celebrity charity work. On her 18th birthday, she started a campaign asking fans to donate to feedONE, an organization that can feed impoverished children all over the world, and on her 21st birthday asked fans to donate to Hurricane Harvey victims. Additionally, she created the 12 Days of Xmas Giving project this holiday season, revealing a new charity each day leading up to Christmas.
7. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is best known as Jack from Titanic and Jordan AKA The Wolf of Wall Street, but recently he’s been doing a whole lot for the planet. DiCaprio’s celebrity charity work has primarily been focusing on environmental issues. He even started The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation — an organization that raises money to try and preserve the precious resources, ecosystems, and organisms on our planet. He donated $20 million last September through his foundation to over 100 charities.
While Beyoncé is fairly good at keeping her private affairs under wraps, it’s hard not to hear about the celebrity charity work she does. She’s worked with a seemingly-infinite number of charities and causes. Most notably, she and hubby Jay-Z promote the Shawn Carter Foundation (started by Jay-Z and his mom) with the hopes of empowering children through education, scholarships, and community programs. Additionally, Beyoncé started the Formation Scholarship Program (named after her empowering anthem) for young women persuing degrees in creative arts, music, literature or African-American studies.
5. Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez is no stranger to the entertainment industry, but she’s also well-versed when it comes to celebrity charity work. She’s worked with nearly 25 charities throughout her career, but her true passion is for feminism and the rights of children. That’s why in 2010, she started the Lopez Foundation, which helps to improve the global state of healthcare and education for women and children. Over the years, the foundation has established countless health centers and in 2015, Lopez was named as the first Global Advocate for Girls and Women at the UN Foundation.
4. Ellen DeGeneres
Ellen DeGeneres has been involved with celebrity charity work, pretty much since her show first began. In nearly every episode of Ellen, you can probably find her giving away a giant check to another deserving individual or family. She’s given away a total of over $50 million this way!
Additionally, she’s donated $75,000 to Hurricane Harvey victims, $12.5 million to breast cancer research, and $10 million to Hurricane Katrina victims, among other programs.
3. John Legend
John Legend is another celeb who has the voice of an angel and a heart of gold. His celebrity charity work has extended to over 45 charities, but most notably — John focuses on global poverty and giving aid to needy communities. He has traveled the globe visiting impoverished regions to help assess their needs and help out in any way he can. The singer even started the Show Me campaign, which not only tours the country to help educate U.S. college students about how they can help out, but also raises funds for practical things like mosquito nets, water access, and free meals in underprivledged communities.
2. Lady Gaga
It’s no secret that Lady Gaga feels pretty strongly about human rights and social justice. Gaga and her Little Monsters are known for being outspoken, especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights. In 2012, Gaga started the Born This Way Foundation with her mom, which works to improve the mental wellbeing of and provide support for LGBTQ+ youth. They work with researchers and community outreach programs. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for Gaga, who has also worked with charities that fight homelessness, HIV/AIDS, and youth poverty.
1. Chance the Rapper
Since making it big in the music industry, Chance the Rapper has pretty much become synonymous with celebrity charity work. Proudly hailing from Chicago, Chance dedicates most of his time and funds to making life better and easier for kids growing up in underprivileged areas of the city. He runs a youth empowerment charity called SocialWorks, which has donated nearly $2.2 million to help support arts and literature Chicago Public schools. Even Michelle Obama took notice and awarded Chance with the 2017 BET Humanitarian of the Year Award for his efforts, as well as the multimillion-dollar donations he has personally made towards supporting CPS.