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

Top 4 Songs That Raised Money to Fight Poverty
The year 1985 marked the final year of a major famine in Ethiopia that would inspire an onslaught of humanitarian efforts. Some of the primary advocates for this action were producers and artists who would spark the trend of fundraising through music. Many critics have picked apart songs-for-profit for problematic lyrics and annoying melodies. However, the releases have proven to be incredibly effective for raising awareness and aid. When some of the world’s top entertainers come together to send out a message, there is no doubt that it will be heard. Songwriters wrote or re-wrote many songs to help fight poverty. Here are the top four songs that raised money to fight poverty.

Top 4 Songs that Raised Money to Fight Poverty

  1. “Do They Know It’s Christmas.” This song is a benefit pop single that U.K. group Band Aid released in 1984. The band created the song in response to the rising famine in Ethiopia; the lyrics lament the stark contrast in living conditions between developed Western societies and impoverished nations during the holiday season. Several well-known British pop artists, including Phil Collins and Duran Duran, contributed to the single alongside Band Aid. The song was a major hit, raising $1.7 million within the first five minutes of its release; it has since garnered a total of $14 million in fundraising. Since then, Band Aid has rewritten and re-released the song on two occasions. The first re-release took place in 2004 to raise funds and awareness for humanitarian issues in Sudan. The second re-released in 2014 to endorse relief for the Ebola crisis. Additionally, each release of this song was incredibly popular worldwide and contributed immensely to the fight against global poverty because they simultaneously raised awareness and directed financial aid.
  2. “We Are The World.” USA For Africa released “We Are The World” in 1985. The charity-driven musical group, amassed by Quincy Jones, featured some of America’s most famous pop stars such as Lionel Ritchie and Michael Jackson. The song itself calls on listeners to come together to give to those less fortunate. It also works towards developing a better and brighter future for the world. USA For Africa spent about 12 hours recording the single in one night. Many of the musicians involved had just participated in the American Music Awards that same evening, but Jones advised them to check their egos at the door. In addition, Jones encouraged them to record the song in casual attire. The song raised more than $63 million to aid impoverished populations in Africa. Moreover, it was America’s fastest-selling pop single at the time of its release.
  3. “Stars.” This song by Hear N’ Aid brought a new genre of music to the rising trend of hit charity singles upon its release in 1985. A group of 40 heavy metal musicians, including Rob Halford and Ted Nugent, gathered to attempt their rendition of a philanthropic ballad for a good cause. The metal song carries similar themes to those in “We Are The World,” emphasizing togetherness and the importance of acknowledging less privileged nations. While not as financially successful as its predecessor, “Stars” did harbor nearly $1 million in global famine relief. For what it lacked in monetary profit, it compensated with the sheer number of renowned rock n’ roll artists that participated in its creation, staking a major milestone in music history.
  4. “Tears Are Not Enough.” This was a charity single also released in 1985 by a supergroup of more than 50 of Canada’s top entertainers. Originally, David Foster crafted the tune for the soundtrack of St. Elmo’s Fire. However, the film’s director rejected the song, so Foster revamped the lyrics for charity. The song would serve as Canada’s contribution to USA For Africa’s “We Are The World” album. Additionally, it featured artists such as Joni Mitchell and Anne Murray. The lyrics of this song invite listeners to come together to fight global poverty and it has become a humanitarian hit. Furthermore, it achieves triple-platinum status and raises $3.2 million for famine relief in Ethiopia.

Considering the amount of aid that each of these songs has garnered, charity fundraising through music has the potential to make great waves in philanthropy. The key to making change happen is raising awareness for the issue at hand. When world-famous voices speak out for a good cause, listeners across the planet will inevitably feel moved to take action. Since the release of these four songs that raised money to fight poverty, the world has undoubtedly opened its eyes and ears to better acknowledge. It helps develop impoverished civilizations such as Ethiopia.

Harley Goebel
Photo: Flickr

Bizarre Charity FundraisersThere is no denying that fundraising is incredibly effective when it comes to raising awareness and support for a particular issue. Fundraising has contributed billions of dollars to causes such as cancer research, education and global poverty. Typically, these donors are celebrities and wealthy philanthropists. However, it is the general public that has endorsed some of the most successful charity fundraisers. Local communities are especially likely to participate in charity fundraisers when they are creative and engaging. Here are the top five bizarre charity fundraisers to tackle global poverty.

Bold Hope and Paintballs

In 2013, five willing victims took on the pain of being shot with 21,000 paintballs to raise awareness for global child poverty. Non-profit organization Bold Hope published a video featuring the five volunteers being shot with 21,000 paintballs to represent the 21,000 children that die each day due to poverty. Since being posted, the video has amassed more than 800,000 views. Bold Hope is responsible for food aid, vocational training, educational initiatives and medical care in poverty-stricken areas. Areas the organization has supported include Haiti and the Bahamas. There is no doubt that the paintball stunt drew attention and support to bolster these developments.

OneXOne and Charlize Theron

In 2009, actress Charlize Theron auctioned off a kiss to a fan when a charity auction for a South Africa travel package she was conducting did not meet her fundraising expectations. An anonymous buyer won the travel package and the 20-second kiss for $140,000. Theron donated this money to OneXOne, a Canadian organization that focuses on tending to the world’s impoverished children. They provide children in need with necessities such as water, food, recreation and education.

Akanksha Foundation and the Uniform Project

Also in 2009, Sheena Matheiken wore the same dress for an entire year to raise money for the Akanksha Foundation, a non-profit foundation that provides education to impoverished children living in India. Matheiken not only had to wear the dress but also make it look unique every day. By the end of the year, she raised more than $100,000 for the Akanksha Foundation. The stunt was the beginning of the Uniform Project, a web-based organization that challenges the public to participate in challenges like Matheiken’s “Little Black Dress” movement to raise money for various non-profits that address the issue of global poverty.

WaterAid and Feces

Finally, the organization WaterAid used a remote-controlled piece of human feces to raise awareness for impoverished populations living without toilets. The organization posted a video to YouTube in 2010 that featured the plastic toy raising eyebrows throughout the streets of London. WaterAid’s mission is to provide clean water and sanitation to people in need. This advocacy allows for the development of healthier communities, which can help alleviate poverty. The remote-control poo stunt garnered more than 400,000 views on YouTube. This proves that even the most bizarre charity fundraisers can efficiently tackle global poverty.

These are just a few examples of the most bizarre charity fundraisers to tackle global poverty. By thinking outside of the box, the people behind these stunts successfully drew attention and ample financial support to the cause. It goes to show that fundraising can be particularly effective when it is engaging, creative and fun.

Harley Goebel
Photo: Flickr

Millennial Celebrities Fighting Global Poverty
The term “millennial” is one that has garnered some negative attention in the past decade in that many associate the generation with adjectives like “lazy” or “entitled.” While there are people of all dispositions and work ethics in every generation, the following is a list of five millennial celebrities fighting global poverty and challenging stereotypes about their age group.

5 Millennial Celebrities Fighting Global Poverty

  1. Harry Styles: Former member of the hugely successful group One Direction, Styles is showing that he is not only a talented singer but also a generous philanthropist. Styles’ “Treat People with Kindness” slogan is proving to be a mantra that he takes seriously as he raised $1.2 million in donations for 62 charities around the world during his 10-month tour in 2017. Styles’ 2020 tour is also supporting various charities worldwide including Freedom from Hunger and Help Refugees. He will be donating proceeds from exclusive merchandise purchases and a portion of ticket sales to various charities across the globe.
  2. Rihanna: Singer and businesswoman Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty founded the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) in 2012 in honor of her grandparents. CLF supports and funds education and emergency response programs in various parts of the world including Malawi and Barbados. Rihanna is also an advocate for HIV/AIDS awareness. Through her lipstick campaigns with MAC Cosmetics, she helped raise $60 million in 2013 to benefit women and children affected by the disease.
  3. Drake: Record-breaking hip-hop artist Drake has been involved with a number of philanthropic efforts. In 2010, Drake visited a poor community in Kingston, Jamaica, and became inspired to give back. He donated $30,000 to a learning center in the community, stating that “I went there and they had ‘Drake’ all over the walls, spraypainted, and all the kids were running after us. So I donated $30,000 to build computer schools for the kids.”
  4. Emma Watson: Former star in the Harry Potter franchise and more recently in the film “Little Women,” Emma Watson is not only a talented and intelligent actress but also an active philanthropist. Watson, a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador, recently visited Malawi to celebrate achievements that U.N. Women and the Malawian Government made including the annulling of child marriages to allow many women to return to school. Watson stated that “It’s so encouraging to see how such a harmful practice can be stopped when communities work together to pass laws and then turn those laws into reality.”
  5. Beyoncé: Bestselling singer-songwriter Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is no stranger to poverty-fighting efforts. Beyoncé headlined the Global Citizen Festival in 2018 alongside guests like Ed Sheeran and her husband Jay-Z. Together, they raised $7.1 billion to aid Global Citizen in its fight to end global poverty. This money will go towards improving education, sanitation, health care and women’s rights around the globe.

These five millennial celebrities are breaking down negative stereotypes about their generation and serve as inspiring role models for the world when it comes to reducing global poverty. These celebrities’ efforts and generosity are changing the lives of countless impoverished people around the world for the better.

– Hannah White
Photo: Flickr

Sports have always been integral in society. They serve as an outlet for many to escape their daily troubles and exist as a way to unify groups of people. Athletes in modern times are lauded for their skill and their lavish lifestyles. However, the truth of the matter is that many of these competitors did not grow up with the privileges they have earned today. These are five athletes that rose from poverty.

5 Athletes Who Rose From Poverty

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo: Hailed as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, Ronaldo did not have an easy upbringing. Ronaldo was born in a poor neighborhood in Fungal, Portugal in 1985. His father was an equipment manager at a local soccer club while his mother was a cook and a housekeeper. Ronaldo did not grow up with much but grew fond of soccer because of his father’s profession. After being recruited by a local boys’ soccer club, Ronaldo left his family to go to Lisbon at the age of 12. Despite being frequently ostracized due to his thick accent, Ronaldo kept surging forward. At age 16, Manchester United signed Ronaldo to a more than $14 million contract. This was the largest ever given to a player his age. Ronaldo went on to win a plethora of awards and accolades for his feats in soccer. Outside of soccer, Ronaldo has been extremely charitable. In 2015, Ronaldo donated more than $6 million to help those impacted by the earthquake in Nepal. Ronaldo also worked to improve medical facilities in Portugal. His net worth currently sits at $460 million, making Ronaldo the wealthiest of these five athletes who rose from poverty.
  2. Jose Aldo: A renowned UFC fighter, Aldo is another athlete that vanquished the detrimental effects of poverty. Aldo was born into a poor household in the city of Manaus in Brazil. Aldo’s father was a bricklayer while his mother was a housewife. Love tied the family of six together, but that took a turn when his mother and father split when Aldo was young. Aldo stayed with his father. Frequent street fights prompted Aldo to learn capoeira. Despite being talented, capoeira classes were draining his finances, so he moved on to pursue jiu-jitsu with his mentor, Marcio Pontes. At age 17, Aldo went to Rio de Janeiro without a dime to his name. There were days when he had little to no food, but this did not disrupt his resolve. Aldo currently holds the most wins in UFC and WEC featherweight history. He is a two-time UFC Featherweight Champion and one-time WEC Featherweight Champion. Outside of the ring, Aldo also routinely performs charity work and donates funds to help those in need. In 2015, Aldo played in a charity soccer match in his home country to raise food for people in need; it was immensely successful.
  3. Kassim Ouma: A former professional boxer, Kassim Ouma has, perhaps, the most appalling story out of these five athletes who rose from poverty. Born into extreme poverty in Uganda in 1978, Ouma’s life was already very difficult. At the age of five, he was kidnapped from his family and forced to join the National Resistance Army. Ouma was trained to do horrific things that no child should have to bear. Ouma did not see his family for three years. In 1998, Ouma was considered to have deserted the Ugandan army because of his venture to the U.S. to compete in a boxing tournament. Ouma pursued boxing to make money and ensure that his family never has to share his experiences. Ouma went on to win the IBF world junior middleweight title in 2004. He serves as an activist for global issues surrounding poverty despite being unable to physically return to Uganda. Furthermore, in 2006, Ouma started a charity called Natabonic Incorporated to help the needy in Uganda.
  4. Yasiel Puig: Surrounded by poverty and suboptimal living conditions, Yasiel Puig had longed to go to the United States and play baseball from an early age. Puig was born in Cienfuegos, Cuba. Puig played baseball for Cuba, but he only earned $17 per month due to the impoverished conditions as a product of the Castro dictatorship. As a result, Puig became desperate to go to the U.S. and play baseball there. In June 2012, when he was successfully smuggled to Mexico by an illicit group with ties to the drug cartel, Los Zetas. Through negotiations with the president of two Miami companies, Raul Pacheco, Puig was released and went on to play for the Dodgers. In the field, Puig founded the Wild Horse Children Foundation to inspire children in less affluent communities and ensure that they do not struggle with the same things that he did.
  5. Bibiano Fernandes: The last of these five athletes who rose from poverty is Bibiano Fernandes. His resilience can be attributed to his early life struggles. Like Jose Aldo, Fernandes was born in Manaus, Brazil. His mother died when Fernandes was seven years old and his father left his five kids because he could not provide for them. After scavenging and begging on the streets, Fernandes went hunting for food in the Amazon forest. He and his siblings stayed there for several years. Fernandes returned to the city after contracting an illness that nearly killed him. He discovered jiu-jitsu while washing car windows at a streetlight near a dojo. After some assistance from a friend, Fernandes was able to partake in lessons at the dojo and soon became a top student. He evolved into one of the best jiu-jitsu fighters in the world, winning three championships. He has since taken up MMA fighting with a Canadian mentor.

Sports are an avenue for athletes to get their stories heard. These five athletes who rose from poverty are a small sample of athletes who have endured a significant amount to attain success. As acclaimed Olympian, Emil Zatopek once said, “An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head”.

Jai Shah
Photo: Flickr

One Common Goal
Common Goal has 765 members who benefit 133 organizations with just a 1 percent pledge. All it takes to overcome the social challenges of the world is one common goal. Common Goal has a large team, larger than the 11 players that usually suit up to take on an opponent on the soccer field, but it takes all players sharing one common goal to tackle the social problems of the world.

The Cause

Common Goal’s campaign unites “the global football community in tackling the greatest social challenges of our time.” With one common goal, the world’s toughest opponents, like HIV/AIDS, gender discrimination and youth employment, must face a team of 765 individuals committed to a better tomorrow.

Two hundred and sixty-five million people play soccer, with 5 million more refereeing the game. Soccer is without a doubt the world’s most popular sport as nearly 4 percent of the global population is involved with the game to some degree.

Members of the Common Goal campaign donate 1 percent of their earnings to a central fund which then allocates the resources towards the advancement of the United Nations’ global goals.

Signature Names

Soccer superstars from around the world pledge their commitment to a common goal, acknowledging that individuals are only so powerful, but as a team, they can change the world. The United States’ Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe, Spain’s Juan Mata, Canada’s Christine Sinclair and Germany’s Mats Hummels are among those representing their countries with one common goal.

World leaders identified 17 goals that the world should achieve by 2030. With eliminating poverty at number one, the top five global goals include zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education and gender equality.

Health and Hunger Crisis

Poverty and hunger are linked. The Hunger Project identifies hunger as a “dimension of extreme poverty” and “the most severe and critical manifestation of poverty.” While not every person living in poverty faces chronic hunger, nearly all facing chronic hunger live in poverty. Resources like The Hunger Project combat the hunger problem by increasing women’s economic support, boosting agricultural support efforts and creating self-reliant food banks.

Political, social and economic injustices are often the causes of poor health worldwide. Poor health sometimes entraps individuals in poverty in which poor health then traps communities in poverty. In turn, this negatively affects economic growth. Disease and infection often impact marginalized groups the most. The Global Goals’ action reduced childhood deaths by half over the past 15 years showing the world’s ability to win against every illness and disease. Worldwide good health is possible through healthy lifestyles and efficient health care.

Knowledge is Power

Education is one way to prevent the cycle of poverty. In some situations, people living in poverty often forgo education to work, and then the cycle continues. Educational programs, like those provided by ChildFund International, aim to provide programs by teaching literacy and numeracy skills to open a world of opportunity.

Across the world, women’s voices are often deterred in favor of their male counterparts. Young girls are the ones who miss out on educational opportunities because people see their worth as less. Girls and women’s human rights are at risk in poverty situations. Equality across all frames benefits not only females, but it could unlock the world’s potential. Gender Equality Programming aids women by ensuring equal access to decisions and humanitarian aid.

The Common Goal campaign looks to combat these social problems. A young soccer player from Chile cites soccer as a source of life. Chile faces a poverty rate of 18 percent. Common Goal and Wash United combated period poverty in India, a nation where people do not often talk about periods.

Through the reach of the soccer community, millions of people are united in the fight. In fact, the world’s social challenges have no chance against a team of 765 members.

Gwendolin Schemm
Photo: Flickr

musicians who dealt with poverty
Music is an integral part of society as almost every single culture from indigenous tribes to developed societies have some sort of music that binds people together. Today’s musicians are icons in popular culture and while some had an easy path to stardom, others had to walk on a rocky one. These are five musicians who dealt with poverty.

5 Musicians Who Dealt With Poverty

  1. Shania Twain: Regarded as one of the best country singers of all time, Shania Twain had an extremely rough childhood. Twain was born in Ontario, Canada and grew up in the small town of Timmins. Her mother and stepfather worked to make ends meet. Due to financial struggles, Twain and her four siblings often went to school famished. To add on to her struggles, her father was abusive, especially to his wife. In 1987, Twain’s parents both died in a car crash, forcing her to raise her siblings alone. Twain continued to pursue music and Polygram Records eventually signed her. She began her rise to stardom in 1995 after releasing her album, “The Woman in Me.” She went on to release a widely acclaimed album “Come on Over” in 1997, which stood as the number one country album for a total of 50 weeks.
  2. Ringo Starr: The famous drummer for the Beatles, Ringo Starr grew up in unideal circumstances. Born as Richard Starkey in the inner city of Liverpool, Starkey faced many obstacles as a child. His mother worked as a barmaid and housemaid. Poverty and violence plagued Starkey’s neighborhood, but things got worse for him when he contracted peritonitis after an appendectomy and had to live in a children’s hospital for one year. Soon thereafter, he contracted tuberculosis and had to spend two years in a sanatorium. Upon release, he took on menial jobs but still attempted to pursue music. In 1962, Starr officially joined the Beatles. Despite not receiving the same praise as Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Starr was an integral member of the band and serves as a model for drummers across the world.
  3. Nicki Minaj: Minaj, a famous rapper and singer, has the most outlandish wardrobe collection of these five musicians who dealt with poverty. Minaj was born in 1982 in Trinidad and Tobago, the southernmost island in the Caribbean. Her father was a violent drug addict and his troubles impaired the family even after they moved to Queens, New York when Minaj was 5-years-old. The family was immersed in a life of poverty and violence. Furthermore, her father attempted to burn the family’s residence down in an attempt to kill Minaj’s mother. Minaj initially signed with Dirty Money Records, which paved the way for her success by associating her with rapper Lil Wayne. The Young Money label later signed Minaj. In 2010, Minaj won the Best Hip Hop Female at the BET awards and her album”Pink Friday” went triple platinum.
  4. Celine Dion: One of the most acclaimed singers of all time, Celine Dion rose from humble beginnings. Dion was the youngest of 14 children in a poor French-Canadian home in the town of Charlemagne in Quebec, Canada. There was not enough room for the entire family, with three to four people sleeping on the same bed. Her mother and father owned a piano bar and took home less than $200 per week. Despite all this, love bound the family and thus they perceived their financial issues as less severe than they were. Dion earned her first recording contract at the age of 12 with help from her mother. Perhaps her most famous song, “My Heart Will Go On,” alludes to her own life and her perseverance against adverse conditions.
  5. Bombino: Bombino, a Nigerien guitar player and singer, is the least well known of these five musicians who dealt with poverty. He was born as a member of the Ifoghas tribe in Niger. In 1984, a severe drought hit the region, killing a significant amount of crops and livestock. In 1990, the first Tuareg rebellion began, forcing Bombino, his father and grandmother to flee to Algeria in fear of retaliation by governmental bodies. This experience exposed Bombino to music and he taught himself how to play the guitar. Bombino wanted to become a successful musician and traveled back and forth between Algeria and Niger to make his dream come true. The second Tuareg rebellion began in 2007 which killed many civilians. Bombino fled to Burkina Faso and recorded his album “Agadez.” Since then, Bombino has enjoyed success all over the world and uses his work to help secure the rights of the Tuareg people.

Music is emblematic of both the artist and culture it comes from. These five musicians who dealt with poverty are prime examples of musicians who did not receive the greatest hand in life but achieved unimaginable feats with dedication. Music creates a bond between people that may otherwise polarize themselves from each other, for as Billy Joel once said, “…music in itself is healing. It’s an explosive expression of humanity. It’s something we are all touched by. No matter what culture we’re from, everyone loves music.”

– Jai Shah
Photo: Flickr

Borgen Project Initiatives
In the fight against extreme poverty, people often think about ways to donate and how to make their concerns known to politicians. As a global issue, poverty is gaining support from all over the world in various fashions, revealing how celebrities are a huge asset to the discussion of global poverty.  Below are a few celebrities who are working in unique ways to support the fight against poverty and The Borgen Project initiatives they would most likely support.

Oprah: Keeping Girls in the Classroom

People know Oprah Winfrey for the charitable donations she has given to a variety of causes for decades. Winfrey donated $1 million to the N Street Village project. This project provides resources to women who are either homeless or have low-income to help stabilize them and promote their quality of living, such as assisting with employment, health care and various other recovery initiatives. Winfrey has also donated to causes that target young girls, such as providing about $140 million to pay for girls attending the Oprah Winfrey Leader Academy since its founding in 2007. Given the initiatives Winfrey has supported in the past, one can assume that Winfrey would support The Borgen Project’s initiative The Keeping Girls in School Act, as it works to expand the educational opportunities for young girls.

Elton John: Fighting the Spread of Disease

People know Elton John mostly for his musical abilities; however, for nearly half of his musical career, John has advocated for awareness of HIV/AIDS and continues to indirectly support legislation changes for poverty. In 1992, Elton John was motivated by the loss of friends like Freddie Mercury to HIV/AIDS and he created the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The Foundation has raised over $125 million, fought discrimination of those diagnosed and has worked in over 50 countries. If one considers John’s dedication to preventing and treating severe diseases, one can assume that he would support The Borgen Project’s initiative the End Neglected Tropical Disease Act, as it serves to support U.S. foreign policy that advocates for conditions that people often overlook but occur at rates worth congressional attention.

IU: Reaching Out to Children

IU is a South Korean singer known for her charitable donations to numerous causes over the years, both social and environmental. Following the breakout of a wildfire in South Korea, the star donated nearly $100,000 to ChildFund Korea. ChildFund Korea provides relief in Korea and across the world in areas including education, child protection and health. When IU made her donation, she did not specify it to an isolated situation, but rather to the whole organization and allowed it to decide how to use it. A Borgen Project initiative that reflects IU’s passions might be the Reaching Every Mother and Child Act as this policy addresses the health risk related to the health care of expectant mothers and their infant children.

Trevor Noah: Closing the Education Gap

Trevor Noah is a comedian and TV host. Noah founded the Trevor Noah Foundation in early 2018 in his home country, South Africa. Noah’s Foundation focuses on education and emphasizes closing the gap between those who have access to education and those who do not. It especially highlights how, as different communities face economic disparities, the progression of education sometimes outpaces those who have varying amounts of financial flexibility. Noah financed the Foundation in its first year, but just before 2019 began, he announced that he would match the donations of others. Noah’s form of philanthropy is unique because his goals come from his personal experiences. For this reason, Noah is likely to support The Borgen Project initiatives that strive to close the digital gap between those who have access to the internet and those who do not, especially in developing countries.

Each of these celebrities has a different reason for supporting various initiatives to fight global poverty and, depending on how they have chosen to fight against poverty, they reflect an initiative, act or bill that The Borgen Project is pushing U.S. foreign policy to support. Whether timing, location or experience influences these celebrities, they each made a personal decision to make a difference that can inspire everyone.

Kimberly Debnam
Photo: Flickr