The Weeknd’s Charitable Work
Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd to R&B fanatics, is one of the world’s most well-known musicians. However, his passion extends far beyond his love songs. The Weeknd’s charitable work positions him as a humanitarian celebrity as he uses his celebrity platform to help those in need.

The Weeknd’s Biography

The Weeknd was born in Toronto, Canada, to parents who are immigrants from Ethiopia. The musician grew up in Scarborough, Canada, where “the working poverty rate” stands at roughly 10% and 13% of the population is non-working poor. These circumstances of poverty prompted The Weeknd to take action to reduce poverty in the area and beyond.

5 Facts About The Weeknd’s Charitable Work

  1. Supporting Scarborough with COVID-19 relief. Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, The Weeknd began donating profits from the sales of his popular range of face masks, which carry an “XO” label, matching every dollar for COVID-19 relief in Scarborough. In June 2020, the popular singer and songwriter donated $500,000 CAD to the Scarborough Health Network Foundation to provide COVID-19 relief to his hometown. The Scarborough Health Network Foundation began in 1977. It works with volunteers and members of the Scarborough community to build infrastructure and purchase medical technology. This is especially important during the COVID-19  pandemic as hospitals work to fight off the virus. Since implementing a COVID-19 Emergency Fund, the Foundation has raised more than $3 million for COVID-19 relief.
  2. Supporting Musicians During COVID-19. The Weeknd donated $500,000 to MusiCares, a charity that supports musicians with programs to “address financial, medical and personal health issues.” The charity created a COVID-19 Relief Fund to support musicians facing the impacts of COVID-19 and “the cancellation of multiple music events” due to social distancing protocols. The relief fund has provided more than $13 million worth of assistance to about 14,000 people in the music industry.
  3. Providing Food Aid to Tigray. An “ongoing conflict between the government” and the people of the Tigray Region within Ethiopia prompted The Weeknd to give back to his parent’s home country. The conflict arose in November of 2020 after the Ethiopian Prime Minister “ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray” after “an attack on a military base,” home to government troops. The conflict led to thousands of deaths and more than 2 million displacements. A June 2021 article on GlobalGiving indicates that Ethiopia’s Tigray Region now faces the most severe food crisis in 10 years as more than 350,000 people endure “severe famine conditions.” Soldiers within the region “are accused of blocking food aid and stopping farmers from harvesting, plowing or planting” while “killing livestock and looting farm equipment.” Feeling a personal connection to Ethiopia, in April 2021, The Weeknd vowed to donate $1 million through the United Nations World Food Program U.S.A., which would ultimately provide 2 million meals for the people in this region.
  4. Supporting Ethiopic Studies. In 2016, The Weeknd made a donation of $50,000 to the University of Toronto’s Ethiopic studies program. This program commits to helping those of Ethiopian descent with academic, personal and professional achievements. The program works to teach the ancient Ethiopic language of Ge’ez to students in hopes of decoding “excerpts of history” that are rarely understood. The musician also made a donation of $30,000 to the program in 2020.
  5. Assisting Beirut, Lebanon. On August 4, 2020, an explosion in Lebanon’s capital of Beirut led to the deaths of more than 200 people while destroying a majority of the city. In response to his Lebanon-born manager’s call for aid to Lebanon, in August 2020, The Weeknd made a donation of $300,000 to the Global Aid for Lebanon fund which his manager created. The funds went toward supporting “the Red Cross Lebanon, the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon and the United Nations World Food Programme.”

Descending from parents who immigrated from Ethiopia to Canada jumpstarted The Weeknd’s strong passion for helping people in Ethiopia, Canada and beyond. His desire to provide people with entertaining music has made him into a household name throughout the United States, but his ability to influence does not end with just that. Through donations and a commitment to use social media to raise awareness of global issues, The Weeknd’s charitable work makes him a rockstar, both on and off stage.

– Nia Hinson
Photo: Flickr

Kelly Osbourne FashionKelly Osbourne, daughter of actress Sharon Osbourne and musician Ozzy Osbourne, is a triple-threat entertainer, singer, model and fashion designer. She is better known for her impactful discussion when she stars on talk shows and reality TV. The public listens to what she says on The View, Australia’s Got Talent, Big Brother, E! News Fashion Police, and Project Runway. During the past decade, she has successfully intertwined her passion for fashion with her passion for educating people about global issues. Kelly Osbourne has used this large platform to enhance global awareness issues.

Collaborations: Macy’s Style Lab Celebrity Campaign

In October 2020, Kelly Osbourne and celebrity personal shopper, Nick Cannon, promoted Macy’s Mystyle Lab Department and Dosomething.org. Dosomething organizes campaigns for youth to focus on social change, and on raising money to end poverty and violence in the world. The Macy’s campaign made donating easy. When a unique QR code was scanned at the Mystyle Lab in a store or liked Mystyle on Facebook, Macy’s donated a dollar to DoSomething. Teens can also take a Do Something Cause quiz to automatically enter for a chance to win a $250 shopping spree. Anyone who participates in the quiz receives information on how to help the environment in their community.

The Role of an Ambassador

In May 2013, Kelly Osbourne took on the role of ambassador for GenerationCURE, a young adult campaign of amFAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research. A group of twenty-somethings launched GenerationCURE in 2011 with the hope of becoming the “final generation” of AIDS activists. Their goal was to bolster amFAR’s research through raising funds and awareness. In June 2015, Osbourne was one out of 300 young celebrities who attended GenerationCURE’s fourth annual solstice event held in New York City. These solstice events have raised $90,000 for amFAR.

Recently, Kelly Osborne participated as a guest celebrity in GenerationCURE’s Holiday Parties in Los Angeles, New York, and Washington, D.C. in December 2019. In the star’s interview with HIVPLUSMAG.COM, Kelly Osbourne shared how she actually became involved in AIDS activism at a young age. She said, “I remember putting on a garage sale when I was about 10 years old for my mum’s best friends’ neighbor who was HIV-positive…” Osbourne explained that this neighbor was fired because he was HIV-positive, and her garage sale raised enough money for him to keep his apartment until he passed away.

Osbourne’s passion as an HIV/AIDS activist also stems from watching a friend battle the life-threatening disease. She elaborated, “I have actually watched somebody who had to take antivirals, and be there to wipe their puke, and pull their hair back, and see the night sweats they go through, and how much weight they lose or gain.” It is safe to say that experiencing a loved one going through hardships triggered a passion in Kelly Osbourne’s soul.

Auctioning off in Exchange of Support

The Small Steps Project is a United Kingdom-based global humanitarian organization that supports families living in dire poverty on rubbish dumps. It takes steps to get kids out of the rubbish and into the classroom. The Small Steps Project delivers shoes, hygiene products, and emergency aid to protect children. In addition, Small Steps works with celebrities to raise funds through Celebrity Shoe Auctions. While partnering with the Small Steps Project, Kelly Osbourne offered her fabulous Aldo Wedges for auction in exchange for donations. And, Kelly Osbourne convinced the rest of the Osbourne family to auction off their shoes for the cause.

The Osbournes are no strangers to auctions as in the past, they raised $20,000 by donating dinner with their family during a 2014 Race to Erase MS Gala event. Race to Erase MS is a nonprofit that supports multiple sclerosis research and patient support. During the last 27 years, the organization has raised over $50 million, with over $34 million going to research and grants.

Kelly Osbourne’s Small Gesture; a Metaphor for Activism

There is no doubt that Kelly Osbourne raises awareness about numerous global issues. Her passion does not stop when the interviews are over nor when the cameras are off. On April 30, 2021, Osbourne was spotted dressed fabulously, giving a homeless man cash during her LA shopping spree. So many times, we ignore and walk past homeless people as we live our day-to-day lives. Kelly Osbourne’s action is a metaphor that we must acknowledge, and work towards solutions to eradicate homelessness and poverty as well as diseases like HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis.

– Alexis Jones
Photo: Flickr

New Crisis AmbassadorsOn July 15, Crisis announced broadcaster Ayo Akinwolere and actress Imelda Staunton, two award-winning stars, became the organization’s newest ambassadors. The two join other popular and well-known Crisis Ambassadors, including Ellie Goulding and Jeremy Paxman, in an effort to raise awareness for the organization.

Crisis and Homelessness in the U.K.

Crisis is a U.K.-based organization working to alleviate the issue of homelessness in England, Scotland and Wales through various services. Some of those services include one-on-one support, courses and advice. The organization also carries out research on homelessness and helps people find housing.

Homelessness has been a long-standing in the U.K.. It is estimated 280,000 people, or one in every 200, are homeless in England.

Crisis reports the COVID-19 pandemic clearly exacerbated the increase of homeless people in the country. As there are concerns that statistics surrounding homelessness are not accurately captured in official reports, Crisis carries out its own research to fully understand the scope of the problem.

Ambassadors

A Crisis Ambassador is a role that works to increase awareness and donations for the organization and its mission. Before the announcement, both Akinwolere and Staunton provided prior support to the organization.

Akinwolere supported the charity’s Christmas campaign last year by providing entertainment for the guests and appearing in their fundraising film. Staunton has supported the organization for ten years, becoming a regular at various events, fundraisers and services.

Both ambassadors experienced success in their respective careers. Staunton, popular for her role in the Harry Potter film franchise, has acted in numerous critically acclaimed films. Akinwolere has won awards for excellence in broadcasting. Both ambassadors share a large following and commitment to social justice. Therefore, the two fit the role because they can use their platform to increase awareness for the organization.

Akinwolere’s Q&A with Crisis

In a Q&A with Crisis, Akinwolere said he is looking forward to his role because he wants to help raise awareness for the organization and highlight the important work they are doing.

“To be able to highlight Crisis and its work clearly to audiences is so important to ensure those supporting Crisis through donations and campaigning can see the humanity within many of the journeys of people experiencing homelessness.,” Akinwolere said.

He said he has been supporting the charity for years, but their relationship blossomed in the last few years.

Akinwolere also noted the importance of continuing to help the nation’s poorest as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

“Homelessness is a really complicated and complex situation across Great Britain and as coronavirus restrictions lift, we cannot see the levels of homelessness return to what they were previously,” he said. “With the right approach, we can really move forward to end it.”

He also said he is looking forward to moving forward “with a really modern and holistic approach to help end homelessness for good” as he becomes an ambassador.

Staunton and Akinwolere will join others in raising awareness for the work the charity is doing in ending homelessness in the U.K. and supporting those citizens as they transition out of the streets and into housing.

– Laya Neelakandan
Photo: Geograph

The WeekndThe Weeknd is famous for his singing, songwriting and producing career. He performed at the halftime show in the 2021 Super Bowl and even won an Oscar for his song “Earned It,” which was featured in the film “Fifty Shades of Grey.” What many don’t know about The Weeknd is that he is a philanthropist who quietly donates to several organizations that help global poverty relief.

The Weeknd’s Background

Much of The Weeknd’s philanthropy ties back to his cultural roots. Born as Abel Tesfaye, The Weeknd’s parents are Ethiopian immigrants. Although Tesfaye grew up in Toronto, Canada, his first language was Amharic. Amharic is one of the two main languages of Ethiopia, further showing his connection to the region.

Ethiopian Philanthropy

A significant portion of The Weeknd’s philanthropy goes toward his parents’ home country of Ethiopia. In April 2021, he donated $1 million to World Food Program USA, which is the U.S. affiliate of the United Nations World Food Programme. This donation will fund two million meals in Ethiopia. Specifically, these meals will benefit people who do not have access to food in the northern Tigray region where there is an ongoing ethnic conflict with Ethiopia’s neighboring country, Eritrea. Civilians suffer the most from the conflict. They are often in danger, living in poor conditions and risk rape, violence and death.

When announcing his donation to World Food Program USA, The Weeknd stated in an Instagram post that, “My heart breaks for my people of Ethiopia as innocent civilians ranging from small children to the elderly are being senselessly murdered and entire villages are being displaced out of fear and destruction.”

Prior to The Weeknd’s donation, the World Food Programme provided corn, rice and vegetable oil to 60,000 people in the northern Tigray region. The program also began an initiative to support pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as children in the region, with the goal of reaching 875,000 people. The program also has two refugee camps in Tigray, open to people seeking safety and help.

Donations to Beirut

The Weeknd’s philanthropy extends beyond Ethiopia, as he donated to COVID-19 relief as well as relief for Beirut, Lebanon. Following an explosion at the Port of Beirut, The Weeknd donated $300,000 to Global Aid for Lebanon. The explosion damaged homes, infrastructure and hospitals. It injured 6,000 people and killed 180. The detonation also damaged the city’s main hospital and other clinics, making it difficult to treat victims. The explosion was also at the city’s port, which drastically affected their ability to trade and receive imports. Additionally, the poverty rate in Lebanon jumped from 33% to 45%. It came mainly as a result of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the explosion. Global Aid for Lebanon raised more than $1.2 million to provide food, treatment and infrastructure aid to those impacted by the explosion.

The Weeknd’s philanthropy has benefitted many lives and helped many get the assistance they needed following unsafe conditions. While he is a quiet philanthropist, he has been instrumental in helping vulnerable people in global poverty.

– Sana Mamtaney
Photo: Flickr

Nesthy Petecio
Nesthy Petecio was a young child who grew up on a farm in the town of Santa Cruz in Davao del Sur in the Philippines. She spent her childhood helping her family make ends meet on their farm. Most of the time, though, this still was not enough and her family struggled to get by. Despite her start in life, Petecio competed in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as a boxer.

A Rough Start to Life

Petecio’s childhood on her family’s farm was not the picturesque version of farm life that books or TV frequently show. Her job to clean up the chicken poop humbled her often. Though the family had a small plot of land, they still had to work hard to maintain the land enough to support their family.

Despite their hard work, there were times when the farm just was not enough. “During that time we really had nothing and we would just borrow money to be able to buy our food,” Petecio told the “Go Hard Girls” podcast in March. Petecio was used to doing almost anything for food, including fighting.

In her neighborhood, she would enter inter-barangay competitions to earn food. The young girl would physically fight in order to get a shot at a good meal for herself. These inter-barangay fights were not anything complicated — they were simply in neighborhood basketball courts, the beach or anywhere else that seemed plausible.

The Spark of a Lifetime

Nesthy Petecio showed promise, and luckily her dad had once dreamed of becoming a boxer himself. He decided to coach her, starting when she was 7 years old. She worked hard and kept fighting through her childhood. Though she only had her dad to help her learn, she continued to develop her craft.

When Petecio was 11, she fought against a male opponent who was much larger and stronger than she was at the time. Though attendees at the match tried to tell her to stop, she was persistent in wanting to continue. Her firmness paid off as she ended up winning the fight.

This fight, along with her drive for the sport, gave her the public boost she needed to receive recognition from the national team and go further with boxing. She saw this as a way out of poverty for her and her family. She began to win international medals at the Southeast Asian Games and the Asian Championships in the early 2010s.

Almost Turning Away

In 2016, Petecio failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Further down the line, she experienced defeat early on in the 2018 Asian Games. This was almost too much for her to handle at the time. She told Olympics.com about the depression she faced following her loss. “I was going to look for a job. I was looking for other options,” she said. At that time, I was really feeling down. I was feeling depressed, I was stressed.”

After a break in 2018, she came back strong in 2019 and won the World Championships, proving to herself that she could still compete. The COVID-19 pandemic only gave her extra time to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she dominated the competition and took home a silver medal for her country. She is the first Filipino woman to win an Olympic medal in boxing.

Nesthy Petecio worked hard for a sport she loved, but also saw an opportunity to live life better than what she was born into. Boxing was her way of doing just that, and becoming an Olympic athlete was more than she could have dreamed of.

– Riley Prillwitz
Photo: Wikipedia Commons

7 FundDavid Beckham is a father, former professional soccer player, a United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ambassador and a philanthropist. While Beckham played for the Manchester United Football Club he was also supporting UNICEF. In 2005, Beckham was appointed as the new ambassador for UNICEF. The former soccer player is supporting and advocating for the well-being of children globally. In 2015, to commemorate 10 years of supporting UNICEF, UNICEF and Beckham partnered to start the 7 Fund.

The 7 Fund

The 7 Fund aims to empower vulnerable children in nations across the world, including Indonesia, Nepal, Uganda and El Salvador, by addressing issues such as “bullying, violence, child marriage and missed education.” Within the initial three years of its establishment, the 7 Fund had already made a significant difference in children’s lives.

Child Marriage in Nepal

According to the 7 Fund, “Nepal has one of the highest rates of child marriage in Asia.” Girls who marry young often drop out of school, leaving them uneducated and unable to break cycles of poverty. The 7 Fund tackles child marriage in Nepal by ensuring that girls receive the support needed to stay in school or return to school to fulfill their full potential. In addition to helping “build life skills” for both boys and girls, the organization also supports the provision of mental health services for these children. Importantly, the 7 Fund educates parents and communities at large on the detrimental impacts of child marriage in order to reduce its prevalence.

The Story of Rashida Khatun

On its website, the 7 Fund showcases the inspiring story of Rashida Khatun, a 14-year-old girl in Nepal. Child marriage is common in Khatun’s community. Despite her yearning to receive an education, she could not due to her family’s impoverished circumstances. Her parents prioritized the education of her three brothers while she and her sisters had to shoulder household chores. Her four older sisters were “married as teenagers” and she was next in line.

Khatun’s world changed when she joined a “UNICEF-supported non-formal education program for girls” in her area, with permission from her father. The nine-month-long Girls’ Access to Education (GATE) program focused on empowering “out-of-school adolescent girls by giving them basic numeracy and literacy lessons and useful life skills.” Khatun told UNICEF Nepal that when she initially started the classes, she was not aware “that children had rights, or that child marriage was a violation of those rights or that it was actually illegal.”

Through the GATE program, Khatun was educated about the dangers of child marriage and decided against it. Khatun and a GATE class facilitator eventually managed to convince her parents to cancel her marriage, allowing her to continue to pursue an education that would one day help her rise out of poverty. The story of Khatun is an illustration of the importance of 7 Fund efforts to address child marriage in Nepal. Roughly 10,000 Nepali girls are now part of “a return to school” program.

Tackling Malnutrition in Papua New Guinea

In Papua New Guinea, one out of 13 children dies before reaching the age of 5, mostly due to malnutrition. The 7 Fund looks to reduce child malnutrition in Papua New Guinea through lifesaving programs. In a 2015 press release by UNICEF, Beckham says, “I feel very proud to be in Papua New Guinea to see for the first time how the money raised is helping to keep children healthy and safe, by providing life-saving therapeutic food for children suffering from malnutrition.”

Addressing Bullying in Indonesia

The 7 Fund acknowledges that the effects of bullying can stay with an individual for life. With one in five Indonesian children between 13 and 15 experiencing bullying, the issue is important to address as bullying diminishes self-esteem and negatively impacts mental health. The 7 Fund is supporting anti-bullying initiatives in Indonesian schools, focusing on “training teachers and helping schools put safeguarding plans in place, helping to reduce rates of school dropout and child marriage and creating a safer school environment to enable children to thrive.” Due to these efforts, incidences of bullying have reduced by almost a third.

Prioritizing Girls’ Education in Uganda

Within Uganda, nearly 60% of the girls are unable to go to secondary school due to violence in school and pressure to stay home to help manage the household. To ensure girls stay in or return to school, the 7 Fund is supporting “teacher training and creating protection systems to track and report violence.” The Fund is also focusing on educating parents and communities on the lifelong benefits of girls’ education for both the girls and their families.

Beckham’s 7 Fund is a prime example of using a celebrity platform to make a difference. Overall, the 7 Fund protects and empowers children with the knowledge and tools to rise out of poverty.

– Carolina Reyes 
Photo: Flickr

Mental health awarenessMental health is an issue that, until recently, people shied away from talking about. While it can be a sensitive topic for people, it is one that society needs to talk about. By discussing mental health, people can help raise awareness of the issue. Celebrities are known to have an influence on their fans, so when they speak about a cause they care about, people tend to listen. Here are a few celebrities who are known mental health awareness advocates.

5 Celebrities Advocating for Mental Health Awareness

  1. Demi Lovato. Actor and singer Demi Lovato has frequently spoken about their struggles with mental illness. Lovato has been a mental health activist since 2015 when they revealed they were diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Wanting to help others struggling with mental illness, Lovato started the Mental Health Fund, which provides people with free counseling during the COVID-19 pandemic. In society, asking for help can be seen as a weakness. Lovato believes otherwise. In an interview with Deseret News, Lovato said, “The strongest thing someone can do is take that first step in getting help, whatever shape or form that is.” This charity raises money for the Crisis Text Line and crisis counseling options in Canada and the United Kingdom. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on the public’s mental health so organizations like these have a significant impact on society.
  2. Kristen Bell. Actress Kristen Bell is a longtime and well-known advocate of mental health awareness. Fighting the stigma that surrounds mental illness, Bell believes mental health check-ins should be as common as going to the dentist or doctor. Bell has struggled with depression and has spoken about why mental health screenings should be taken more seriously. There are often stereotypes surrounding depression, but like Bell said in an interview with NAMI, “You can’t tell someone has depression just by looking at them, especially since it’s such an internal battle.” With celebrities like Bell speaking about their own struggles with mental illness, fans will better see that there is no shame in asking for help.
  3. Simone Biles. Simone Biles is the most awarded gymnast in history. The Olympian also has her own battles with mental illness. Biles goes to therapy on a regular basis and takes anxiety medication. These revelations arose after Biles stood up as a survivor of Larry Nassar’s abuse. Victims of sexual assault have an increased risk of developing PTSD, depression and anxiety. In 2017, Biles partnered with the #BeUnderstood campaign, which advocated for learning disabilities and ADHD awareness during the month of October. Biles has also spoken out about her experience with ADHD.
  4. Chyler Leigh. Chyler Leigh, known for her roles on Grey’s Anatomy and Supergirl, has not shied away from sharing her experiences with bipolar disorder. As the new face for the Be Vocal: Speak Up campaign, Leigh shared her experiences of growing up without a diagnosis. Leigh says that she did not have an environment where she could speak up, so she kept quiet. She also spoke about self-medicating with alcohol and the struggle she went through with getting help. Joining Be Vocal was a way of opening up to the public. By sharing her story, Leigh hoped for people to hear her experience and relate, knowing that they are not alone in feeling that way.
  5. Justin Bieber. In his YouTube docuseries “Seasons,” Justin Bieber gave his fans an inside look at his struggles with addiction and mental health challenges. His addiction to marijuana became so serious that he became dependent on it. He also spoke about his use of stronger substances like MDMA or hallucinogenic mushrooms. Bieber got help and replaced illegal substances with antidepressants. In his efforts to help advocate for mental health, Bieber gave a fan $100,000 to support her career in social work. Part of the donation helped the fan attend grad school while the rest of it went to Active Minds, an organization that raises mental health awareness for college students.

Global Mental Health

Though raising mental health awareness domestically is essential, there are many people without access to proper mental healthcare globally. As of 2016, high-income nations spent around 5% of their health budgets on mental health. For lower-middle-class nations, that number fell to less than 2%. There are fewer trained psychiatrists in developing countries, which makes it hard to address everyone’s illnesses.

In Indonesia, there was one psychiatrist for every 350,000 people. Haiti, a country with roughly 10 million people, has only about “10 licensed psychiatrists.” Without the proper funding, developing countries struggle to make mental health a priority.

Spreading Awareness

Mental health issues are very common in society, but they often do not spark the necessary discussion. Part of this reason is because of the stigma surrounding mental illness. Everyone is capable of contributing to mental health awareness. By posting about mental health on social media, donating to mental health organizations or supporting people with resources, an ordinary individual can contribute to improving mental health globally.

– Ariel Dowdy
Photo: Flickr

UNICEF Soccer Aid 2021UNICEF has been fundraising with a yearly soccer match since 2006 called Soccer Aid. It has managed to raise approximately £36 million since it began. Money goes toward UNICEF projects that focus on COVID relief, food, clean water, protection against violence, exploitation and abuse. UNICEF is currently working on many projects globally, but all of them focus on children. The organization works in more than 190 countries, and its main goal is to give every child a fair chance. It mainly focuses on saving lives, defending children’s rights and helping children attain their full potential. David Beckham in particular has become a significant part of UNICEF, and he is volunteering to help with the upcoming UNICEF Soccer Aid 2021 event.

Who is David Beckham?

David Beckham is a retired English soccer player who has won league titles in four countries including England, Spain, the United States and France. He played for 20 years winning more than 15 trophies. He tallied six Premier League titles, two FA Cups, one European Cup, and one Intercontinental Cup within 12 years. He’s worth $450 million and is donating his time and money to programs within UNICEF that help vulnerable children. He has specifically been involved as a Goodwill Ambassador.

He has worked and led efforts with The David Beckham UNICEF Fund, the #EndViolence campaign, and has been helping with UNICEF since 2005. Each of these efforts focuses on child survival, violence, education and bullying. The David Beckham UNICEF Fund, more commonly known as the 7 Fund, is a major effort he works on. This partnership focuses on children, especially girls, who are subject to bullying, violence, child marriage and miseducation. Beckham travels to different countries to apply the 7 Fund and put it into action.

What is being done?

One of Beckham’s most recent projects was helping with Soccer Aid for UNICEF 2021. UNICEF Soccer Aid is set up between England and its opponents once a year. The soccer match is organized as a charity event that raises money for impoverished children. The proceeds will go toward child wasting, which is an extreme form of malnutrition. Beckham awarded the trophy to the winning team. He also announced that the Children’s Investment Fund will match each donation made during the event. In 2020, 9.3 million euros were raised for the fund.

How did it go?

The game took place on September 4 at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium. The game was broadcasted live on ITV and STV. Tickets could be purchased online.

Even those who couldn’t attend the game could still donate. In 2021, Soccer Aid raised more than it ever had before, racking up donations worth a little more than 13 million pounds. UNICEF already works with children’s education, malnutrition and health care. Donations made to the fundraiser will help UNICEF distribute vaccines around the world and continue various projects.

– Maddie Rhodes
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Will and Jada Smith Together BandTogether Band is an organization that raises money for various causes in an innovative and trendy way aimed at persuading younger generations to support issues they care about most. It works toward the United Nations’ 17 global goals to create a more sustainable world by 2030. Recently, Together Band also partnered with Will and Jada Smith.

Together Band

The U.N.’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals include no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality, clean energy, equal education, good health, clean water, economic growth, industry innovation, sustainable communities, responsible consumption and production, marine conservation, land conservation, justice, reduced inequalities and partnership.

Each U.N. SDG has an associated color and Together Band produces bracelets of each color. The bracelet color a customer purchases determines which goal their money targets. Together Band directs proceeds to The Freedom Fund, Renewable World, Women Working Worldwide and Power for the People, among others.

Not only do the proceeds go to humanitarian funds but the materials and production of the bracelets are impactful as well. The clasp on each bracelet is repurposed metal derived from seized illegal firearms in Central America. The aim of this sourcing is to end armed violence in conflict-torn countries. The band is made from 100% upcycled plastic found on shores in coastal communities and on remote islands. Finally, formerly trafficked Nepalese artisans use the materials to craft the final product. The jobs created help communities build stable economies.

Together Fund

Together Band created the Together Fund to combat COVID-19. Now, when a customer purchases a bracelet, 50% of the proceeds go to support COVID-19 relief while the other 50% continue to go to the original organizations that the bracelet supported before the pandemic. The organization splits COVID-19 relief funds between the U.N. COVID-19 Solidarity Fund for WHO and Médecins sans Frontières.

Together Band added COVID-19 relief to their initiatives because communities around the globe urgently need accessible healthcare. “It’s important that we act quickly in response to COVID-19 to ensure patients can access the care they need as well as supporting disease prevention and frontline health workers across the globe.”

Partnering With the Will and Jada Smith Foundation

Celebrities Will and Jada Smith created the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation in 1996 in order to make the world “better because we touched it.” The foundation has donated millions of dollars for innovative solutions to the world’s problems. Recently, the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation partnered with Together Band to tackle both COVID-19 and racial injustice. Working with WJSFF, Together Fund has expanded to support U.N. Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities and Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

Money can be donated to the fund directly from the WJSFF homepage. Half of the proceeds go to additional COVID-19 relief funds such as the World Health Organization, Alight and Doctors Without Borders. The remaining half supports nonprofits that fight racial injustice. They include My Brother’s Keeper, the Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Equal Justice Initiative and the Leadership Conference Education Fund.

In addition, Will and Jada Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, founded an eco-friendly version of bottled water called Just Water. Just Water customers now have the option to round up their purchases in support of the Together Fund.

Overall, the Smiths are an inspiring example of a celebrity family using their fame to support humanitarian causes and reduce global poverty.

Sarah Eichstadt
Photo: Flickr

Ryan Reynolds and Blake LivelyHaiti’s present reflects its past as a French colony, when the country faced intensive slavery, natural resource exploitation and a costly independence process, among other abuses and challenges. As of 2019, almost 60% of Haiti’s population lives in poverty, experiencing problems such as a lack of access to clean water, electricity and sanitation. Moreover, the Associated Press affirms that the country has not fully recovered from the 2010 earthquake or the 2016 hurricane. The assassination of Haiti’s president Jovenel Moïse on July 7 intensified the nation’s instability at the political level. 

The 7.2 magnitude earthquake that happened on August 14, 2021, exacerbated an already difficult situation. Now, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere is even more endangered. Fortunately, the event had an effect on some celebrities including Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who went out of their way to help Haiti after the most recent earthquake. Although the country needs much more help to be lifted out of poverty, donations from celebrities and the general population can make a positive and meaningful impact.

The Earthquake Horror

Geological studies show that Haiti is prone to earthquakes because it sits near a boundary between two tectonic plates. Furthermore, the makeshift material used to construct most of the country’s buildings has proved to be susceptible to the violent shaking of the ground. In 2010, for example, around 100,000 buildings collapsed because of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The most recent event on August 14 destroyed more than 50,000 homes, killed at least 2,207 and injured more than 12,200 people. USA Today stated that “more than 3,000 humanitarian nongovernmental organizations operate in Haiti” amid an atmosphere of both sadness and hope. The country stands to benefit from different kinds of aid, including food and personal hygiene supplies. 

A Notable Donation to Haiti

Some celebrities have been pitching in and doing their part to improve Haiti’s situation. A few days after the earthquake, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds donated a total of $40,000 to 4 humanitarian organizations assisting the population in the country. Hope for Haiti received a fourth of the amount and thanked the couple on social media. On Instagram, Hope for Haiti posted, “Our entire organization would like to thank @vancityreynolds and @blakelively for their generous donation to our #HaitiEarthquake Response & Recovery efforts.”

The organization also said, “This donation will help empower our team to continue to respond in the hardest-hit areas of southern Haiti in the days and weeks to come.” According to People, the organization stated that the money will be used to build clinics and pay for food delivery costs from World Central Kitchen. The other three organizations that received the donations are Ayiti Demen (Fokal Haiti Relief Fund), Airlink Haiti Relief and Haiti Air Ambulance Service.

The Power Couple’s Philanthropy Example

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have a history of philanthropy that can inspire other celebrities and the public. In 2020, the couple donated $1 million to two food banks in the U.S. and in Canada as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact. The couple donated another $1 million to the same two organizations at the beginning of 2021. The couple also pitches in to help non-emergency causes; for example, Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds gave “$250,000 USD to help launch a Canadian mentorship program for Indigenous post-secondary student” this year.

The couple’s most recent move was to help Haiti after the earthquake’s devastation. Considering their philanthropic history, it will not be the last time they give back to those who need it. Events similar to the earthquake in Haiti expose the nation’s vulnerable system and the suffering of a population that calls for broader, global help. Although it is only part of the poverty-reduction equation, the money donated by celebrities inspires the public’s action, draws attention to the cause and equips humanitarian organizations to better provide local services.

– Iasmine Oliveira

Photo: Flickr