Celebrities Who Grew Up Poor
Celebrities lead lavish, luxurious lives, and are often subjects of envy for many common people. However, some of them came from less than affluent backgrounds and never imagined that they would achieve the status and wealth they possess today. Here are three celebrities who grew up poor and how their past affects their philanthropy today.

Jennifer Lopez

Considered the most influential Latin performer in America, actress and singer, Jennifer Lopez has released a plethora of hit songs and acted in many movies. She is currently engaged to famous baseball player Alex Rodriguez and lives on a property worth $28 million. This is a far cry from her childhood, where she grew up sharing a bedroom with her two sisters in the Bronx. Her parents worked tirelessly to provide just enough for Jennifer and her sisters. She inherited a strong work ethic from them. Despite her fame, Lopez has not abandoned her roots. Her popular song “Jenny from the Block” is about how she has not forgotten her roots.

Perhaps due to her own difficult upbringing, Lopez pays specific attention to supporting children’s charities. She works as an activist for the ALAS, a program promoting early childhood development in Latin America, and has performed many concerts to raise donations and awareness for the cause. Lopez also participates in the Noche de Los Niños Gala hosted by the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, raising funds for their patients.

Ralph Lauren

Fashion icon Ralph Lauren had dreamed of being rich since his high school days. However, he was anything but at the time. Lauren grew up in the Bronx, the youngest son in a Jewish immigrant family. He often fantasized about living a better life and loved watching movies to help him escape the feeling of poverty.

From a young age, his entrepreneurial instinct was prominent. Since he was a child, Lauren had an extravagant taste in clothing and sold handmade ties to children at school to pay for them. This consequently became the root of his extremely successful fashion career. Now, with a net worth of billions, Lauren is giving back. His Polo Ralph Lauren Foundation has donated millions to causes like education and cancer care. Lauren, who has not forgotten his life as a Jewish immigrant child, is a supporter of groups like the American Jewish Committee.

Jay-Z

Jay-Z is an award-winning songwriter and rapper who seems to have it all—success, a famous partner and several successful business ventures. However, the artist came a long way from the conditions he grew up in. Jay-Z was the fourth child in his family. Born into an impoverished neighborhood where drugs and violence were rampant, Jay-Z turned to rap as a way to cope with the issues surrounding him.

Now, he is passionate about helping others escape those same problems. Jay-Z has spoken out repeatedly against racial injustice, drug use and other problems he grew up dealing with. Additionally, his charity, the Shawn Carter Foundation, has donated millions to programs and scholarships for children growing up in difficulty. Jay-Z’s past is deeply intertwined in his career and philanthropic efforts. Therefore, he is one of the most notable celebrities who grew up poor.

Despite their fame and success, these celebrities have not forgotten the poverty they grew up in. These three hard-working philanthropists are now helping to fight the same problems they dealt with growing up. With the determination and influence of celebrities, the movement against poverty should greatly advance.

– Alison Ding
Photo: Flickr

Songs Recorded for COVID-19
As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, performers and musicians from several different countries and continents have given back through music. Here are five songs recorded for COVID-19 relief.

5 Songs Recorded for COVID-19 Relief

  1. “One Love/People Get Ready” (Bob Marley and the Wailers): In July 2020, Amplified Music and Tough Gong International rereleased a new version of this 1977 reggae classic. The new song has performers and scenes from several countries, including Brazil, India, Jamaica, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sudan, Nigeria and the United States. Two of Marley’s children, Stephen and Cedella Marley, appear, as does Skip Marley, his grandson. Some children in the video are from the Ghetto Youths Foundation, which three of Bob Marley’s children founded. All funds will go to COVID-19 relief through UNICEF’s Reimagine campaign, helping to provide soap, personal protective equipment, masks and information for children and families around the world. On social media, UNICEF partnered with Pandora to create an augmented reality Instagram filter for the campaign, #OneLoveOneHeart. Pandora will donate $1 to UNICEF for each use of the hashtag, and Pandora is promising $1 million in total.
  2. “I’m Standing With You” (Chrissie Metz): Diane Warren originally wrote the Oscar-nominated song for the film “Breakthrough,” which Chrissy Metz performed in 2019. However, the new version, released in May 2020, takes on a different delivery. Music video director Gev Miron and composer Sharon Farber created a remastered song and video with 170 artists from all continents. Some of the performers who appear are Valeria Altobelli (Italy), Mario Frangoulis (Greece), Wahu (Kenya), Chris Mann (U.S.), Hariharan (India) and Rita (Israel). The video includes the artists singing in front of backdrops showing various global landmarks. On YouTube, the video had a donate button in late May and early June 2020. All funds generated went to the United Nations’ COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which in turn went to the World Health Organization. The effort raised over $5 million for COVID-19 relief.
  3. “Times Like These” (The Foo Fighters): BBC 1 Radio organized a Live Lounge song cover of The Foo Fighters’ 2003 single to serve as a charity single. The cover, released in April 2020, features over 20 artists billed under the name Live Lounge Allstars. Some of the artists featured include Dua Lipa, Ellie Goulding, Rita Ora, Sean Paul, Chris Martin of Coldplay and Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters. In its first five hours, the song sold 43,000 copies in the U.K. The next week, it became a number-one hit with 66,000 equivalent units sold, most of those from downloads. All U.K. proceeds went to Comic Relief and Children in Need, which will help people impacted by the pandemic. Revenue generated from sales and streams elsewhere goes to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
  4. “The Real Folk Blues” (Mai Yamane): This song originally came out in 1998 and was the ending song to “Cowboy Bebop,” a Japanese anime series. Yoko Kanno and her band, Seatbelts, composed it. Mason Lieberman organized the new project alongside Sunrise, Inc. and Funimation. Kanno, Steve Blum and more than 40 people from the anime and gaming industries appear in the music video. The track was released to streaming and digital platforms, including YouTube, Spotify and Bandcamp. In May 2020, the latter waived its revenue share and donated all proceeds to COVID-19 relief. Q Rates also made a vinyl available, which sold more than 2,800 copies, translating to roughly $70,000 in total sales. All funds raised from the song go to the CDC Foundation and Doctors Without Borders.
  5. “Gotta Be Patient” (Stay Homas): Three Barcelona roommates originally released this song when they performed it while locked down. Michael Bublé heard the song and decided to perform a cover. The new song is a bilingual doo-wop song with contributions from Canadian band Barenaked Ladies and Mexican singer Sofia Reyes. Proceeds from the track across all streaming and download platforms will benefit various causes. Bublé will donate his earnings to the Canadian Red Cross and the Argentina Red Cross. The Barenaked Ladies will donate their earnings to Cultural Survival to help various indigenous communities, while Reyes will donate her earnings to multiple Latin charities. They originally performed the song as part of the Stronger Together, Tous Ensemble Canadian benefit concert. That event raised over $6 million CAD for Food Banks Canada.

These five songs recorded for COVID-19 relief are among the many efforts that musicians and celebrities have taken to provide aid during the pandemic to date. Their work shows that something as simple as a song can go a long way toward helping people around the world stay safe and healthy.

– Bryan Boggiano
Photo: Flickr

Celebrities and Global Poverty
Many organizations focus on eradicating global poverty, which remains a persistent and important problem. Two-thirds of the world population lives on less than $10 per day, and one in 10 people live on less than $1.90 per day. One organization working to address this issue is the Global Poverty Project (GPP), which has partnered with other organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations to create a movement aiming to eradicate global poverty by 2030. The GPP’s initiatives have helped increase global poverty awareness, and many celebrities fighting global poverty have supported the cause. Here are some campaigns that the GPP has headed, along with some of the celebrities that have helped fund them.

The Global Citizen Festival

The Global Citizen Festival is the project’s annual event, which draws over 60,000 people in attendance and over 20 million people tuning in via livestream. It is a music festival that raises money and awareness of global poverty issues, with the ultimate goal of removing global poverty by 2030. Through the festival platform, patrons (or “Global Citizens”) are able to learn about the causes of global poverty, as well as the part that they can play in reducing it.

In 2012, the festival helped the GPP raise over $1.3 billion in pledges toward the fight against poverty, in conjunction with other charities. Music stars such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Shawn Mendes and Rihanna have all participated in Global Citizen concerts over the years, cementing their status as celebrities fighting global poverty.

Becoming a Global Citizen

Global Citizen is the GPP’s individual campaign movement that allows people to engage with both the organization and its embedded community. Through an app, Global Citizens are challenged to make small actions, commitments and announcements about global poverty, which add up to significant change in areas such as education and sanitation. These actions come in the form of contacting leaders and signing petitions. The Global Citizens site also helps to inform people about the leading issues in global poverty.

Global Citizens’ actions help to influence policy and political leaders. Participants have taken over 25.2 million actions through the app, committed $48.4 billion to fight poverty and impacted more than 880 million lives thus far. Music artists and bands such as Clean Bandit have also held concerts to promote awareness and increase monetary commitments to these issues.

In addition to musicians and artists who contribute to the GPP, famous actors have funded anti-poverty causes and become representatives for certain issues. Idris and Sabrina Elba have spearheaded campaigns to help African farmers, raising awareness about the harmful impacts of climate change. By supporting the Elbas’ cause and contacting world leaders, fans are able to help over 100 million rural farmers.

Other celebrities fighting global poverty who have supported GPP’s campaigns and contributed to fundraising include The Weeknd, Usher, Bruno Mars and Janet Jackson.

A Global Impact

Overall, the work of the GPP has impacted over 800 million lives across the world so far. By including celebrities fighting global poverty, the GPP has seen astonishing results, and the organization stands ready to help achieve the international goal of eradicating global poverty by 2030.

Kiana Powers
Photo: Wikimedia

domestic violence and covid-19

More than 50 female celebrities have pledged funds and support to actress Charlize Theron’s Together For Her Campaign. The campaign’s goal is to address additional cases of gender-based violence that could result from the lockdowns around the globe. When quarantine began, Charlize’s thoughts immediately turned to the people in her native South Africa. Theron had concerns regarding women and children experiencing domestic violence and how COVID-19 could potentially worsen conditions for these women and children.

Domestic Violence and COVID-19

According to the United Nations Population Fund, “Significant levels of lockdown-related disruption over 6 months could leave 47 million women in low- and middle-income countries unable to use modern contraceptives, leading to a projected 7 million additional unintended pregnancies. Six months of lockdowns could result in an additional 31 million cases of gender-based violence.” Although estimates, these numbers reveal the startling consequences that women could face.

There are two main ways the pandemic has led to increased domestic violence. The first is through the disruptions in services provided to prevent abuse and help those who have experienced it. The second is that the lockdowns are tying women down at home where their abusers are.

There have already been increases in abuse. In only the first two weeks of quarantine, calls to the National Hotline on Combating Domestic Violence increased by a reported 25%. Ghadeer Mohammed Ibrahim Qara Bulad, the director of the Women’s Development Project at the Islamic Charitable Association in Homs, Syria, has seen cases firsthand. While raising awareness for disease prevention, she witnessed husbands beating their wives, sometimes openly in front of their children.

Together for Her

Charlize’s organization, the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), partnered with the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF) and CARE to address increased domestic violence during COVID-19. Both were very supportive of the cause and Together For Her. So far, the CTAOP has donated $1 million to fighting the coronavirus, with $500,000 going to the Together For Her Campaign.

Funds from the Together For Her campaign are being distributed to “shelters, psychosocial support and counseling, helplines, crisis intervention, sexual and reproductive health services, community-based prevention and advocacy work to address gender-based violence,” said Charlize in an interview with Vogue.

The campaign has united women across the fields of film, entertainment, sports and more. Some figures that have pledged their support include Octavia Spencer, Amy Schumer, Lauren Conrad, Reese Witherspoon and Viola Davis. Many are survivors of abuse themselves. Viola Davis stated “I am a child survivor of domestic violence. It is the last of the acceptable abuses. It thrives on silence and metastasizes into lifelong trauma that can’t be quantified. The abused have been physically, emotionally and financially incapacitated as a result. They stay…. They are continually abused and, in a lot of cases, killed. Providing funds to give them the means to get out and the emotional support to know they are worthy is everything. They are worthy of better, of real love.”

In the midst of a chaotic pandemic, issues like domestic violence are often overshadowed. Fortunately, Charlize Theron’s Together For Her Campaign is working to ensure that victims of abuse can receive the help and protection they need.

– Alison Ding
Photo: Flickr

Celebrities Who Advocated for YemenYemen is currently facing the largest humanitarian crisis in the world. Around 80% of 24 million Yemen citizens are in dire need of humanitarian aid. Around 50% of them are children. On top of battling high poverty and famine rates, they also have to handle the rapid spread of COVID-19. Many healthcare workers are volunteering their services because they are not provided a salary. Today, 10.2 million children do not have access to basic healthcare, and now, their futures are uncertain. Fortunately, there have been many celebrities who advocated for Yemen in the efforts of turning things around for the best.

What is Going on in Yemen?

The ecology issue in Yemen is partially responsible for its political instability. Each citizen, on an annual average, has around 140 cubic meters of water usage. Yemen’s lack of a main water source has led to its low supply of food. This unfortunate problem has created many disputes in rural areas over food and water supplies. The quarrels are responsible for about 4,000 deaths each year. In addition, Yemen has been a part of an ongoing war. The war in Yemen started in 2014 when the Houthi rebels controlled the capital of Yemen and the largest city, Sana’a. They demanded lower fuel prices and a new constitution. Due to that, as of 2015, over 100,000 Yemen citizens have lost their lives and homes. As of now, Yemen is in need of foreign aid. Thus, many individuals, including celebrities, are shedding awareness to Yemen’s humanitarian crisis.

American Celebrities Who Advocated for Yemen

Halsey is an American singer, songwriter and activist. She advocated on her social media about the humanitarian crisis Yemen is currently experiencing. She shared that she has made a $20,000 donation to help the children who are suffering. Halsey encourages her supporters to shed a light on Yemen’s issue by sharing her posts and tells them to donate.

Additionally, George Clooney is an American actor, film producer, director and activist. Back in 2017, he began advocating on the crisis in Yemen and other neighboring countries. He is actively known for his humanitarian services. At the time, he encouraged all Americans to contribute donations for those suffering on impoverished lands.

Gigi Hadid, an American fashion model, is also one of the celebrities who advocated for Yemen. She did this by advocating for its crisis through her Instagram story. She brought awareness by sharing a post from an Instagram account named @muslim. In addition, Hadid provided a post with links for her fans to donate.

More Celebrity Advocates

Furthermore, Ben Stiller is an American actor, comedian, film producer, film director and writer. Since 2017, he has been urging citizens to pay attention to countries facing huge humanitarian crises. These countries include Somalia and its neighboring territories. He posted a two-minute video on his Twitter, informing viewers on how certain countries’ citizens are dying due to the lack of resources.

Mark Ruffalo is an American actor and producer who is famously known for his role in the film “Avengers: EndGame.” He called for citizens to help stop the ongoing illegal war in Yemen. In a video he spoke in, Ruffalo informed his viewers that the United States is providing weapons to Saudi Arabia, who are also using starvation as a tactic of war. He stated that the U.S.’s involvement is unconstitutional and needs to be stopped. Ruffalo urged people to call Congress and vote for the Sanders-Lee Resolution to end the unauthorized U.S. war in Yemen.

 

Overall, when celebrities advocate on behalf of countries in need of aid, such as Yemen, they are bringing awareness to millions of their social media followers who were possibly unaware of foreign issues. By making generous donations, celebrities and their fans are able to make changes and improve the living conditions of Yemen citizens.

 

Megan Ha
Photo: Flickr

The Afghanistan Relief Organization is a nonprofit based in the United States that provides aid and education to underprivileged people in Afghanistan. Afghans Abdul Satar and Aboul Fazil Khalili founded the organization in California in 1998. It is operated primarily by volunteers, including both Afghans and Americans, and is non-political and non-religious. In addition to providing direct aid, the organization promotes self-sufficiency in Afghanistan with its educational programs. The Afghanistan Relief Organization has impacted the lives of thousands of impoverished Afghans.

Direct Aid

Afghanistan is one of the most impoverished countries in the world. Over 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. Many more live just above the poverty line and are extremely vulnerable. In order to diminish the effects of poverty, the Afghanistan Relief Organization provides direct aid to thousands of Afghans. This aid includes food, school supplies, hygiene supplies, medicine and winter clothing. Many Afghans do not have stable access to these resources without the aid of an NGO like this one. By giving these supplies directly to people in need, the organization is able to improve the lives of countless impoverished Afghans.

Changing Lives With Education

Another service provided by the Afghanistan Relief Organization is education, which is available at its Technology Education Center in Kabul. This school provides free classes for children and adults, and has had thousands of students since its creation in 2003. The classes teach things like English, computer skills, physical education and job training. The instructors and staff at the school are willing to work for small salaries. As a result, the Afghanistan Relief Organization is able to use the majority of its funding to provide educational resources for the students.

The Afghanistan Relief Organization has also created a series of women’s literacy classes. In Afghanistan, there is a large gender disparity in education, and many women lack basic literacy. These classes give women an opportunity to develop the crucial literacy skills they need to support their families. There are multiple levels of classes available, and the organization also provides $50 per month for its students as support.

Celebrity Support

A wide range of celebrities have publicly supported the Afghanistan Relief Organization, including Jake Gyllenhaal, Benicio del Toro, Halle Berry and Richard Gere. In addition to providing financial support, these celebrities use their fame to give publicity to the organization. This helps mobilize more volunteers and donors. In 2007, the organization held an auction of traditional Afghan kites to raise funds. Celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Will Ferrell and Natalie Portman signed some of these kites to increase their values. Support from celebrities like these has greatly helped the Afghanistan Relief Organization’s ability to fundraise and have a greater impact.

Afghanistan faces many problems due to its extreme poverty, and many Afghans do not have access to the resources they need. However, the Afghanistan Relief Organization has improved the living conditions of countless Afghans. The education that the organization provides, through its Technology Education Center, helps thousands of students. The Afghanistan Relief Organization is able to function due to the devotion of its instructors and staff who work for small salaries, as well as celebrities who continue to support the organization’s efforts.

– Gabriel Guerin
Photo: Needpix.com

Many American celebrities are donating their money and time to American charities during this pandemic, but actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and her husband, singer-songwriter Nick Jonas, are taking it one step further. They have recently joined forces with the shoe brand Crocs and are donating 10,000 shoes to both healthcare workers in California and healthcare workers in India.

Previous Charity Work

In a tweet from March 31, Nick Jonas listed 10 organizations to which he and his wife have donated, one of which being UNICEF. Priyanka Chopra Jonas has worked as a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF since 2016, acting as a voice for refugees, especially children. As an ambassador, she has visited many impoverished parts of the world and has witnessed lack of access to basic needs, one of which being clothing. Chopra Jonas and Crocs share a history of philanthropy as they donated 50,000 pairs of Crocs to poor children in Belize in 2019, with the help of UNICEF.

Why It Matters

With the rise of a global pandemic, Chopra Jonas and Crocs have teamed up again, this time for healthcare workers. Around 45% of Indian adults do not own cars and with an overwhelmed public transportation system that is now on lockdown, many Indians must walk to work–especially those with lower incomes. Nick Jonas, Chopra Jonas and Crocs are donating 10,000 Crocs to healthcare workers in India. The value of this donation is about $450,000 worth of shoes.

On its website, Crocs reports that overall, it has donated over 860,000 pairs of shoes to healthcare workers around the globe since March 25, 2020. The right pair of shoes can be helpful in many ways. Firstly, having protective footwear can prevent exposure to deadly toxins and parasites on the ground. Additionally, shoes that fit can allow people to walk, exercise and play without the risk of blistering. This is both a comfort issue and a health issue as blisters can lead to infection. People in poor communities often do not have the necessary antibiotics to stop infections. Shoes also have a lot of cultural importance. Footwear is used in many religious ceremonies around the globe, including India, and wearing shoes is considered a sign of cleanliness and pride.

How to Help

An organization called Soles4Souls works to help people bring themselves out of poverty by providing them with footwear, either to wear themselves or to sell. On the website is information about nearby drop-off locations and how to get free shipping with Zappos to donate shoes through the mail. Even just one pair of shoes can help a child get to school and can help an adult get to work.

Poverty often seems like an overwhelming and impossible problem, especially during a global pandemic. Fortunately, even a seemingly insignificant action – like donating shoes instead of throwing them away – can change a person’s outlook on life by helping them protect their feet and helping them get to and from work every day. UNICEF, the Jonas couple and Crocs are doing their parts to help lift people out of poverty, one pair of shoes at a time.

Levi Reyes

Photo: Flickr

Celebrities Giving Back During COVID-19
COVID-19 cases topped more than 6.1 million with over 373,000 deaths worldwide as of June 2, 2020. As most can imagine, a celebrity donation can take the COVID-19 fight to new heights and emboldens morale for benefitting communities around the world. During the pandemic, celebrities are pitching in for those at home and abroad. Here are five celebrities giving back during COVID-19.

5 Celebrities Giving Back During COVID-19

  1. Bismack Biyombo: The NBA star Bismack Biyombo donated over $1 million worth of medical equipment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “The Congo is not a county where you can tell people to stay at home,” Biyombo told USA TODAY Sports. “The population is roughly 80 million and about 70% of the population lives in poverty. They’re depending on daily pay. You can’t say, ‘Listen, I want you to stay at home.’ How is that going to work?” This celebrity donation during COVID-19 provides approximately 10,000 medical masks and 780 hazmats suits to the nation. Biyombo is also working to get incubators for the neonatal intensive care units along with medical beds to those in the Congo. In addition to this celebrity donation during COVID-19, Biyombo and his parents meet with government officials, clinics and hospitals to distribute supplies and aim to get clean drinking water to this area.
  2. Rihanna: The pop singer donated nearly $1 million to underserved communities, from the U.S. to Malawi, through the Clara Lionel Foundation. This celebrity donation during COVID-19 goes to accomplish accelerating testing and care, mobilize resources, improve capacity, protective equipment for frontline health care workers, diagnostic labs and establishing and maintaining intensive care units in countries like Haiti and Malawi. Additionally, the donation aids in health care worker training, virus prevention and containment in countries on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19. Distributing critical respiratory and medical supplies mobilized several on-the-ground partners including Direct Relief, Feeding America, Partners in Health, The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Funday and the International Rescue Committee.
  3. Cher: Cher is donating the proceeds of her newly released cover song, ABBA’s “Chiquitita,” to UNICEF to relieve efforts worldwide. The singer reported that she has long since admired the work UNICEF does, especially for young women. “Now more than ever it’s critical that we prioritize every child around the world as if they were our own,” she says to The Hollywood Reported. In addition to this celebrity donation, she created the foundation CherCares Pandemic Resources and Response Initiative with Dr. Irwin Redlender, the head of Columbia University’s Pandemic Resource and Response Center and co-founder of the Children’s Health Fund. CherCares Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative distributed $1 million to people that others chronically neglect and forgot about, and are often unable to receive services, such as Latinos and Native Americans.
  4. Shakira: Shakira donated thousands of N-95 respirator masks to Columbia to aid in the fight. The celebrity’s donation during COVID-19 already helped with over 11,000 cases of the virus in her home country. The mayor of Barranquilla tweeted the celeb, “One of the most beloved Barranquilleras in the world is @shakira, and she is also one of the people who most loves this city. Huge thank you for your contribution of thousands of N95 masks for our health care workers, and ventilators that will save lives.” Shakira retweeted stating, “Thanks to the Mayor’s team for helping us coordinate this effort, I hope that we will continue adding resources to protect our own!”
  5. Shawn Mendes: The Shawn Mendes Foundation gave $175,000 to the SickKids Foundation, a health care network dedicated to improving children’s wellness. This celebrity donation provides COVID-19 screening tools for children in the singer’s home town of Toronto. Any donations to The Shawn Mendes Foundation will go to SickKids and the World Health Organization (WHO).

These five celebrities giving back during COVID-19 have shown extreme generosity. This lavish relief inspires and equips those on the front lines to continue the fight.

– Danielle Beatty
Photo: Flickr

Celebrities Donating to Fight COVID-19
COVID-19 continues to threaten the world. Although celebrities cannot be on the frontlines, they are doing their part in the battle against the virus. From creating their own nonprofit organizations to donating to global charities, these public figures continue to support the improvement of global poverty and health. Here are five celebrities donating to fight COVID-19.

5 Celebrities Donating to Fight COVID-19

  1. Justin Bieber: Back in February 2020, before COVID-19 began largely affecting the U.S., Canadian-born singer Justin Bieber made a donation to the Bejing Chunmiao Children Aid Foundation. The organization, a public charity, focuses on bringing health, home and joy to underprivileged children in China. In Bieber’s donation announcement post on Instagram, he said, “China, we stand with you as a collective humanity.” Bieber recognized the importance of donating globally as countries fell one by one to COVID-19. A month later, he canceled his 2020 U.S. national tour to protect the well-being of his fans.
  2. Lady Gaga: When COVID-19 struck, singer sensation Lady Gaga took it upon herself to do more than just donate. She wanted to give voice to underprivileged communities, essential workers and volunteers risking their lives to help others. In collaboration with international advocacy organization Global Citizen, Gaga created the “One World: Together at Home” broadcast. This 8-hour fundraising phenomenon included performances and videos from superstars like John Legend and Beyonce. The event raised $127 million. All of the money is for the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and UNICEF.
  3. Priyanka Chopra Jonas: At the end of March 2020, Priyanka Chopra and husband Nick Jonas announced that they donated undisclosed amounts to 10 organizations, including UNICEF and Doctors without Borders, to do their part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Chopra, an Indian actress, also has her own organization, The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education. The Foundation works to support underprivileged children across India. A global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Chopra is part of many efforts to protect child rights and promote education for girls.
  4. Rihanna: Popstar Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty created The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF)  in 2012. The nonprofit aims to protect and improve education and emergency response programs around the world. The organization donated $5 million to global COVID-19 response organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Rescue Committee. Additionally, CLF also joined forces with Twitter/Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation to donate $6.2 million to 11 organizations responding to COVID-19’s global impact.
  5. Jack Dorsey: Along with partnering with Rihanna and Jay-Z, billionaire Jack Dorsey pledged $1 billion, 28% of his net worth, to his own limited liability company called Start Small. Furthermore, Dorsey intends the fund to support global COVID-19 relief and girls’ health and education. Although he has not specified how much of the $1 billion will go to COVID-19 relief, Dorsey is maintaining transparency. He tracks all donations on a spreadsheet open to the public. If 10% of the fund goes to supporting the COVID-19 crisis, the donation would be the largest from a public philanthropist in the U.S. during this pandemic.

These five celebrities donating to fight COVID-19 show that while some celebrities invest money into existing global charities and others create their own, all fight to improve people’s livelihoods. These celebrities serve as a reminder to use privilege and societal standing to benefit those who are less privileged, especially during a global pandemic when the entire world is struggling.

– Kiyomi Kishaba 
Photo: Flickr

Recognized as one of the top-selling artists in history, Sir Elton John has continued to have an enormous impact on the music industry and pop culture. However, his influence goes beyond music. Over the years, John has used his platform to raise awareness for several charitable organizations. Here is a glimpse of Elton John’s impact through his efforts with five organizations.

Elton John’s Involvement

  1. Elton John AIDS Foundation – Elton John founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) in the U.S. in 1992 and a separate entity in the U.K. in 1993. This organization aims to fund programs that alleviate the financial, emotional and physical pain caused by HIV/AIDS. EJAF fights to raise awareness, educate, treat and prevent HIV/AIDS. In 2018, it enabled 235,000 adolescents to receive HIV testing and connected more than 68,000 patients to treatment programs. Since 2010, the organization has reached and over 11.5 million people and has raised $125 million to support similar programs around the globe.
  2. Riders for Health – In 2008, Elton John donated 120 motorcycles to healthcare workers in Lesotho. The bikes enable doctors and nurses to reach patients in remote areas of Lesotho, where many suffer from HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. Lesotho has the second highest number of individuals infected by HIV, and the second highest number of cases in tuberculosis.  Additionally, almost 73 percent of patients infected with tuberculosis are simultaneously infected with HIV. John made the donation in partnership with the Lesotho Ministry of Health and Riders for Health. Founded in 1996, Riders for Health is an international nonprofit dedicated to increasing accessibility and efficiency of healthcare in Africa. The organization manages motorcycles, ambulances and other vehicles that provide healthcare to seven countries in Africa.
  3. Breast Cancer Research Foundation – Through his performances and donations, Elton John has supported the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) for over 15 years. BCRF provides essential funding to cancer research worldwide and is the highest-rated breast cancer organization in the U.S. At the NYC Hot Pink Party in 2016, BCRF honored John with a research grant in his name due to his dedication to the organization. He capped off the night with a performance. This event alone raised over $6.8 million for breast cancer research.
  4. Starkey Hearing Foundation – In 2012, Elton John and spouse David Furnish joined the Starkey Hearing Foundation on a trip to Manila to help fit more than 400 children and adults with hearing aids. The Starkey Hearing Foundation is committed to raising awareness, education and protection of hearing care. The organization provides more than 100,000 hearing aids annually and has reached over 100 countries. Additionally, John has previously preformed at the So the World May Hear Awards Gala to raise funds and awareness for hearing accessibility.
  5. The Elton John Sports Fund – Elton John’s impact is also present through the Elton John Sports Fund. Rocket Sports started the Elton John Sports Fund in 2014 in partnership with SportsAid. This partnership supports young athletes by providing money to travel, to get necessary equipment and to decrease the overall financial strains of a given sport. The recipients of the Elton John Sports Fund are promising athletes who come from a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds and sports interests.

Throughout his career, Elton John has championed numerous causes, earning him awards such as the Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2017 and the BAMBI Award in 2004. John has performed at countless benefit concerts, raising awareness for organizations that range from rainforest conservation to supporting first responders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Elton John has made a lasting impact on the world, using his star-studded platform for good.

Megan McKeough

Photo: Flickr