Donated During the COVID-19 Pandemic
The year 2020 saw a rise in altruism with celebrities across the globe donating to charities of all shapes and sizes as a way to do their part and give to those that requiring extra support due to the pandemic. Food banks are a top priority for many celebrities, recognizing the large number of families that are going hungry across the globe, but that was far and away not the only charity celebrities donated to during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are seven celebrities who donated during the pandemic.

7 Celebrities Who Donated During the Pandemic

  1. Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds donated $1 million which they split between food banks in Canada, Ryan Reynolds’ home country, and the United States. The couple urged the importance of donating to organizations such as Food Banks Canada as the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted organizations like it throughout 2020. Food Banks Canada saw a total donation of $28 million worth of food in 2020 and fed roughly 8 million families across Canada. Food Banks Canada fed over 1 million people in 2019, while roughly 3.2 million people accessed food banks across the country in 2020.
  2. Shakira: The singer donated ventilators and thousands of N95 masks to health care workers in her home town of Barranquilla, Colombia. The mayor thanked Shakira in a tweet saying, “One of the most beloved Barranquilleras in the world is Shakira, and she is also one of the people who most love 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’s donation will allow doctors to continue to treat COVID-19 patients, as well as continue to help get medicine to those in need safely.
  3. UB40: British reggae-pop group did a cover of “Lean on Me” to help raise funds for NHS Charities Together. The organization includes more than 250 charities across the U.K. NHS donates approximately £1 million a day in providing care for those who are in need across the United Kingdom. It also strives in making medical breakthroughs to better help keep at-risk communities across the globe healthy and safe. NHS started several studies to see how COVID-19 affected various communities by examining the effects it has on school-aged children, communities’ mental health and the health of health care workers, to better prepare for a pandemic of this scale in the future.
  4. Elton John: Elton John, the legendary singer and HIV/AIDS prevention advocate, pledged to donate over $1 million to help support marginalized communities across the globe during the pandemic. John discussed on Twitter how he still intends to focus on preventing HIV/AIDS across the globe, but pushed for awareness of the coronavirus and urged for those who can to donate to communities that are the most at risk across the globe. Elton John’s Aids Foundation has donated over $450 million worldwide, saved 5 million lives and supported over 3,000 projects to help end HIV/AIDS. In addition to the $1 million he donated, he also hosted a living room concert featuring Tim McGraw, the Backstreet Boys, Sam Smith, Dave Grohl, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong, Camila Cabello and Shawn Mendes. The concert raised over $8 million for his foundation’s COVID-19 Emergency Fund.
  5. Rihanna: The global superstar donated a total of $5 million to several different charities across the globe, one of the charities being the International Rescue Committee (IRC). The Committee focuses on helping refugees across 40 different countries by providing them with tools such as education, clean water, shelter, food and anything else that necessary for them to go back to a normal life. In 2019, the organization supplied over 1 million kids with education and provided a million more with clean water.
  6. Akshay Kumar: The Bollywood star donated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s CARES fund. Kumar donated Rs 25 crore, an amount that is equivalent to over $3 million USD. The PM-CARES fund emerged in direct response to India’s lockdown plans to support citizens that are the most at risk and strives to make India a healthier and cleaner country.
  7. Liam Payne: A former member of the band One Direction, Payne donated 360,000 meals through the Trussell Trust. The Trussell Trust is an organization in U.K. that works directly with food banks to directly donate/distribute food. The goal of the organization is to get food to the 14 million people including 4.5 million children who live at or below the poverty line, with the ultimate goal of there no longer being a need for food banks across the U.K.

The fact that these celebrities donated during the pandemic will continue to ensure that those in need across the globe get the food, health care and shelter they require to thrive. It is important that individuals continue to support groups that give back well past the end of this pandemic and continue to focus on ways to help those in need in 2021 and beyond.

– Claire Olmstead
Photo: Flickr

Homeless Youth in CanadaThe plight of homeless youth in Canada is a recent issue in the public eye. The increased representation and awareness have garnered celebrity support, such as from Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds. The married couple has committed to donating $500,000 in total to the cause. Covenant House Vancouver and Toronto, foundations dedicated to opening their door to the homeless youth in Canada, are the lucky recipients.

The Issue

The first majority study done on homeless youth in Canada, “Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey,” was conducted just four years ago in 2016. A recent study found that the youth make up around 20% of the entire homeless population in Canada.

These children often experience housing instability and child abuse prior to their homelessness experience. Once on the streets, children under 16 — around 40% of the homeless youth in Canada — struggle through increased adversity. Further, various forms of oppression often couple homelessness. A staggering number of these children identify as POC, LGBTQ+, and of many other marginalized groups.

However, organizations and philanthropists alike have stepped up to address this dire situation.

Covenant House

Covenant House is an international organization that provides support and aid for homeless youth in Canada. The organization’s mission statement is: “Covenant House launched a federation-wide initiative to design and implement a cutting-edge, data-informed strategy to help even more of our kids achieve meaningful, long-term outcomes.”

It especially focuses on offering services to members of the LGBTQ+ community, POC, and abuse victims. The organization provides more than just direct support for these young individuals. Covenant House commits to restructuring data processing regarding homeless youth, reviewing methods of information analysis and generation, and finding the best performance measurement strategies. The organization works toward short-term as well as long-term change.

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s Involvement

The serious issue of youth homelessness in Canada deeply struck Ryan Reynolds, a Canadian himself. In response, Reynolds and Blake Lively decided to donate $500,000 to the cause. The couple even matches donations up to $375,000 before the end of 2020 to encourage others to donate.

The choice of where the funds should go was a personal one. Reynolds has a long-time relationship with the Covenant House. The dedication they put into their work and the extensive impact they wield in the community inspired his “investment.”

In the interview done by Covenant House, he described the donation as an investment rather than a monetary donation into homeless youth in Canada. Reynolds stated, “The young people who pass through the doors of Covenant House more often than not have a story marked by extraordinary trauma. They are so much more than that trauma. They have so much to offer the world. Matching this gift is saying you believe in them. You believe in the power of compassion to transform the trajectory of a human being.”

The CEO of Covenant House Vancouver, Krista Thompson, expressed her gratitude for the donation and continued relationship with the couple. Thompson remarked, “Ryan and Blake truly understand that young people who are facing homelessness deserve unconditional love and absolute respect.” The money will be used to assist with youth experiencing homelessness and fund much of the research that is occurring to combat the issue of homelessness as a whole.

Manasi Singh
Photo: Flickr

beirut explosionOn Aug. 4th, 2020, an ammonium nitrate explosion occurred at the port in Beirut, Lebanon. This disaster killed more than 180 people, injured over 5,000 and displaced more than 250,000 people. The Beirut explosion also led to more than $10 billion  in damage in the surrounding areas. After the deadly Beirut explosion, countless celebrities shared tributes. Many also donated or directed their followers to donate to various relief efforts. Here are 10 celebrities who helped Beirut after the August explosion.

10 Celebrities Who Helped After the Beirut Explosion

  1. George and Amal Clooney: The power couple donated $100,000 to three charities helping with relief efforts. These included the Lebanese Red Cross, Impact Lebanon and Baytna Baytak. The latter organization aimed to provide relief to Lebanese people in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, after the explosion, the group became more focused on finding shelter for people made homeless or dislocated. In an online statement referencing this organization, the Clooneys said, “We’re both deeply concerned for the people of Beirut and the devastation they’ve faced in the last few days. We will be donating to these charities $100,000 and hope that others will help in any way they can.”
  2. Madonna: The pop singer and two of her children, David Banda and Mercy James, hosted an art sale and donated the proceeds to Impact Lebanon. The organization works with the Lebanese Red Cross to provide aid to victims affected by the blast. Madonna and her family made tie-dye shirts and paintings to raise money, which the singer posted on Instagram.
  3. Rihanna: The singer and businesswoman took to Twitter to persuade her followers to donate to four charities helping with relief in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion. These included Impact Lebanon, Save The Children, the Sadalsuud Foundation and Preemptive Love. Save The Children helps children and families displaced and injured by the disaster. Rihanna’s support for the Sadalsuud Foundation will help it foster community strength and growth through education and baking. Finally, Preemptive Love is a peacemaking and peacebuilding coalition designed to bring an end to violence and war and affect people affected by disasters.
  4. Bella Hadid: The model, whose father is from Lebanon, donated to 13 charities in the aftermath of the Beirut explosion. These included the Lebanese Red Cross, Offre Joie, Impact Lebanon, Bank To School, Arc En Ciel, Bassma, Sesobel and Nusaned. Previously, Hadid has donated to Save The Children, Preemptive Love, UNICEF, International Medical Corps and the Lebanese Food Bank. She also directed her Instagram followers to donate, urging them toward local charities to help pinpoint community needs. Lastly, Hadid has vowed to continue donating.
  5. The Weeknd: The singer donated $300,000 to Global Aid for Lebanon, which supports the World Food Programme, the Lebanese Red Cross and the Children’s Cancer Centre Lebanon. The Weeknd’s donation comes after his manager, Wassim Slaiby, and Slaiby’s wife, Rima Fakih, led efforts for donations. On Instagram, Slaiby thanked The Weeknd for his donation. She also thanked Live Nation, including CEO Michael Rapino, for donating $50,000 to relief efforts.
  6. Rima Fahik and Wassim “Sal” Slaiby: The former Miss USA and her business manager husband, both from Lebanon, launched a campaign with Global Citizen to help in the aftermath of the Beirut Explosion. The fund supports Red Cross Lebanon, the United Nations World Food Programme and the Children’s Cancer Center of Lebanon. The couple kicked off the initiative by donating $250,000.
  7. Russell Crowe: The actor donated $5,000 to the destroyed restaurant Le Chef, which had resided in the Gemmayze neighborhood of Beirut since 1967. On his Twitter page, Crowe said he donated to this restaurant in honor of his late friend, Anthony Bordain. While Bordain was filming his show “No Reservations” in 2006, he visited the restaurant.
  8. Jose Andres: The World Central Kitchen founder and celebrity chef mobilized a team in Beirut and partnered with chef Kamal Mouzawak. Together, they gave out over 800 sandwiches and meals to healthcare workers, first responders and elderly citizens. The organization states that its efforts provided thousands of additional meals to those in need in Beirut. Lastly, it hoped to give people what they needed to stimulate the local economy once again.
  9. Mia Khalifa: The media personality, sports commentator and former adult actress auctioned the trademark glasses that she wore in her adult films to support Lebanon after the explosion. She donated all proceeds to the Lebanese Red Cross. The bidding ended on Aug. 16, with the top bid at $100,000.
  10. Harry Styles: The former One Direction member donated to Impact Lebanon, directing his Twitter followers to do the same. He then tweeted out a link through the crowdfunding site JustGiving. Style’s fundraising effort has so far raised close to $8.1 million for people impacted by the disaster.

While the damage and casualties in Beirut were extensive, celebrities and figures from around the world came together to help after the Beirut explosion. Moreover, many of these celebrities are helping Beirut continue to come together for not only economic but also personal reasons.

– Bryan Boggiano
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

baseball players helping to fight povertyMajor League Baseball encompasses players from all around the world who go to North America to play the highest level of baseball. Players often come from humble beginnings and struggle along the way, in order to make it playing professional baseball. It isn’t uncommon for players to come from impoverished communities to play professional baseball. Players often want to give back to the people in their native communities who helped them achieve their dream, while also inspiring other athletes to help poverty-stricken communities. There are several professional baseball players helping to fight poverty. There are also baseball charity campaigns joining in the fight.

Baseball Players Helping to Fight Poverty

  1. David Ortiz: Ortiz grew up in the Dominican Republic and would later become a sports icon in Boston, winning three World Series titles with the Boston Red Sox. Ortiz founded the David Ortiz Children’s Fund to help children in Boston and his native country of the Dominican Republic have essential cardiac services that they need, like cardiac surgeries. To date, his children’s fund has provided over 1,600 low-income children with detection and screening for cardiac care, support for a regular rural outreach and detection program in the Dominican Republic and child life specialist support for over 4,000 children.
  2. Albert Pujols: Pujols also grew up in the Dominican Republic and is a three-time Most Valuable Player award winner and a two-time World Series Champion. In 2005, Pujols and his wife started the Pujols Family Foundation which aims to meet the needs of children with Down syndrome and improve the quality of life of impoverished people in the Dominican Republic. The foundation provides impoverished people in the Dominican Republic with health care, mentorship and education. The foundation set up a vocational school that teaches women how to sew and make jewelry. Over 18,000 people in the most desolate areas of the country have received medical care thanks to the foundation.
  3. Striking Out Poverty 2019: Throughout the 2019 baseball season, a number of individuals joined together to launch a campaign titled Striking Out Poverty 2019. The campaign is a joint initiative between Big League Impact and Food for the Hungry. Big League Impact helps impoverished communities have basic needs fulfilled like clean water, food and medical care. Food for the Hungry works in some of the poorest countries in the world, helping those most in need with food, along with educational and vocational training. Striking Out Poverty 2019 raised nearly $300,000 for these organizations through six sub-campaigns among individual players or teams.
  4. Luke Weaver: A pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Luke Weaver raised $132,610 through his 22X campaign, which will go towards helping Rohingya refugees. Weaver’s total amount raised came from his strikeout total which was 69. Through his donation and matching donations, each strikeout of his was worth $1,921.88.
  5. Nick Ahmed: Among the baseball players helping to fight poverty is Nick Ahmed. This shortstop for the Arizona Diamondbacks raised $104,575 from his Every Hit Makes a Difference campaign, part of which will go towards a community center in the Dominican Republic. The center will be a place for education and job training as well as a place to receive medicine. The total came through donations and his own contribution. Each hit of his amounted to $736.44 towards his campaign.

As an international sport that brings players together from all over the world and from all different backgrounds, baseball has the power to unite. Players like David Ortiz and Albert Pujols have given back to the communities that they grew up in, improving the lives of those who walk the same ground they walked before they were professional athletes. The Striking Out Poverty 2019 campaign has also helped individuals who are affected by poverty. The Professional baseball community and its fight against poverty shows the impact that can be made when individuals who have a platform help those in need.

Zachary Laird
Photo: Flickr

Clara Lionel Foundation
While people may best know Rihanna for her music, she has also used her fame and influence to become a powerful force for global change. In 2012, she launched the Clara Lionel Foundation. This philanthropic organization works to strengthen vulnerable communities in Africa and the Caribbean. Here are a few ways the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) has fought against global poverty.

Emergency Response

Every year, natural disasters around affect over 200 million people worldwide and push 26 million into poverty. In the wake of a natural disaster, donors and organizations often rush to provide support and resources to impacted areas. However, after donors eventually lose interest, these regions are left helpless; furthermore, numerous organizations trying to help can become ineffective if they do not communicate with each other.

The Clara Lionel Foundation’s climate resilience and emergency preparedness plan proactively helps vulnerable communities prepare for environmental disasters. Rather than focusing on reactionary rebuilding, they can get ahead of future problems. In 2018, the organization worked to strengthen existing infrastructure in the Caribbean to withstand future disasters and eliminate the need for extensive rebuilding.

The Foundation recognized that women’s health centers often go unincluded in typical emergency response assistance initiatives. Therefore, it partnered with the International Planned Parenthood Federation and Engineers Without Borders to improve access to reproductive health clinics in vulnerable Caribbean areas.

Additionally, the CLF issued a $25 million grant for emergency equipment at the beginning of the 2018 hurricane season. This money helped ensure that relief organizations could distribute these supplies whenever necessary. The aim of this proactive emergency response model is to turn the Caribbean into the world’s first climate-resilient zone, a strategy that could eventually scale up and adapt to protect other vulnerable communities around the world.

Global Education

The Clara Lionel Foundation has worked since 2016 to provide access to education for vulnerable children in the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, focusing on Malawi, Barbados and Senegal. CLF partners with the Campaign for Female Education in Malawi to support girls’ secondary education. They provide financial assistance and transportation. CLF also provided paid internships for secondary school graduates to become trained HIV testers. This initiative created employment opportunities and helped to address a prominent health crisis. In Senegal, CLF invests in repairing and constructing classrooms for children who lack a safe place of education.

In 2016, Rihanna and the CLF joined the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) to advocate the importance of accessible education. As the GPE Global Ambassador, Rihanna visited impoverished schools in Malawi and encouraged world leaders to increase support for global education initiatives.

COVID-19

As communities worldwide face the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Clara Lionel Foundation has stepped in to help. The foundation donated $6.2 million in partnership with Jack Dorsey and the Shawn Carter Foundation to help marginalized communities in the U.S., Africa and the Caribbean fight COVID-19. This funding fueled frontline organizations such as Direct Relief, Partners in Health, the International Rescue Committee and the WHO’s COVID-19 Response Fund. CLF’s donation allowed for increased testing capacity, more personal protective equipment and the development of medical facilities equipped to handle the virus.

Through the Clara Lionel Foundation, Rihanna uses her fame to be an advocate, ally and role model in the fight against global poverty. Her actions have transformed the lives of many vulnerable people throughout the world. Rihanna and CLF will continue to have a wide impact as others hopefully adopt her philanthropic spirit.

– Allie Beutel
Photo: Flickr

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