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

Celebrities that are ending world hunger

Many celebrities are doing their part to end poverty and illness around the world, searching for ways to contribute to the end of these injustices.  Below is a list of five celebrities that are ending world hunger.

50 Cent

From rags to riches, 50 cent is a prominent American rapper who is using his platform to end hunger in Africa. 50 cent has stated that “every day, families in Africa go without food and water, never knowing when their next meal might be; but we can change that if we all work together.” With every purchase of his new energy shot Street King, a meal is being provided to a child in need.

50 cent is strategically using his social media to promote donating to poor countries. He is using his Street King Facebook page to encourage aid. For every like he gets on the page, he doubles in terms of meals. This means that with a goal of a million likes, 50 cent will donate two million meals.

Bono

For Bono, The F Word campaign is not tied to the bad word or obscenity most commonly related to that letter, but rather from the word ‘famine.’ ONE’s F Word campaign created a movie called The F Word: Famine is the Real Obscenity, to showcase the fight to end famine in countries like Somalia, and to encourage action.

ONE.org is raising awareness about the more than 30,000 children that die every three months. Although ONE.org does not solicit funding, there is a petition on the website that pressures world leaders, calling on them to live up to promises already made.

Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera is a spokesperson for the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Yum! Brands World Hunger Relief Campaign. She has raised over 148 million dollars. Christina is an active humanitarian who often does field missions around the world in places like Rwanda and Guatemala. She supports WFP’s priority program: Zero Hunger.

Zero Hunger is Goal number 2 in the 17 Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Christina Aguilera proudly supports that Zero Hunger “pledges to end hunger, achieve food security, improve nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture”.

Karlie Kloss

Karlie’s Kookies, courtesy of Karlie Kloss and Momofoku’s Milk Bar Christina Tosi, have made an effort to end childhood hunger by donating meals to schools all around the world through FEED.  For every cookie purchase, FEED donates 10 school lunches around the world. To date, FEED has provided 107,532,896 nutritious meals to children in 63 countries around the world.

Matt Damon

Matt Damon is a co-founder of the H2O Africa Foundation and campaigning as a spokesperson for Feeding America. He works with the foundations to provide aid for 13 countries to end the water crisis. There are more than 22 million people who are benefiting from Matt Damon and the campaign’s aid.

Celebrities are seeing the need to provide aid to countries in need and are using their platforms to reach these goals. Matt Damon, Karlie Kloss, Christina Aguilera, Bono and 50 cent are just 5 stars that are helping the fight to end world hunger.

Francisco Benitez
Photo: Flickr

World Changing Celebrities
People often recognize celebrities for their music and performances but there are a variety of stars that use their fame as a platform to support charities, create foundations and change the world. Below are five world changing celebrities that are actively using their voice to fight global poverty.

Leonardo DiCaprio Protects Indigenous Rights

Along with spreading awareness and educating followers about climate change on his Instagram page, DiCaprio created the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation which focusses on protecting all of Earth’s inhabitants. It has recently partnered with Earth Alliance to address and take steps to find solutions to major threats to the planet’s life support systems.

One of his most notable works is the protection of indigenous rights. Dicaprio’s Foundation helps fund programs focused on and led by indigenous people. It helps indigenous people defend their rights, create renewable energy sources, develop sustainable livelihoods and increase the political impact of advocacy efforts. As of 2015, The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation accumulated $15 million in grants to fund innovative organizations and environmental projects focused on preserving and protecting the planet.

Christy Turlington Assists with Childbirth Safety in Haiti and Uganda

Because of her personal experience with complications in childbirth, Turlington is using her voice to advocate the importance of making childbirth safe for every woman. In 2010, she worked on “No Woman, No Cry,” a documentary that told the stories of pregnant women in four different countries: Bangladesh, Guatemala, Tanzania and the United States. She expressed the need for lifesaving medical care for women giving birth in case of the occurrence of complications.

She also founded the nonprofit Every Mother Counts, an organization that focuses on the health and wellbeing of mothers all over the world. As of now, her organization has partners in countries like Guatemala, Haiti, India, Tanzania and the U.S., and has impacted more than 600,000 lives.

Matt Damon Gives Access to Safe Water

Another of the world changing celebrities is Matt Damon, who is the co-founder of Water.org, an organization focused on providing families with safe water and sanitation. The foundation hopes that less time spent searching for water will allow children to go to school and get an education, improve health and help the economy. Damon’s foundation expresses the importance of access to affordable financing through WaterCredit. WaterCredit is a pay-it-forward system that makes it possible for household water and toilet solutions by bringing repayable loans to those who need access to affordable financing. In total, Damon’s foundation has benefited more than 20 million people across 12 different countries.

The Lewis Family Improves Access to Health Care

In the 1980s, Ryan Lewis’ mother, Julie Lewis, contracted HIV due to a blood transfusion from pregnancy complications. She lived through her prognosis and decided to create the 30/30 project. The 30/30 project’s main focus is to improve access to comprehensive health care by building multiple medical facilities worldwide. The project has placed a total of 30 medical facilities in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, South Africa, Togo, India, the U.S., Rwanda, Bolivia and Puerto Rico.

The organization places medical facilities based on the needs of the area. For example, the Mbita Clinic in Kenya intends to prevent and treat major diseases, which include HIV, TB, malaria, water­borne illnesses and respiratory and heart ailments. The Mbita Clinic reduces waiting cues, prioritizes critical care needs, improves conditions for the staff and allows for service expansion due to the district’s high infant mortality rate and the prevalence of HIV/AIDS. In total, the medical facilities have had 215,963 patient visits.

Bono Fights to End Extreme Poverty

In 2004, Bono co-founded the ONE organization. ONE’s goal is to end extreme poverty and preventable illnesses and diseases by 2030. ONE is a nonprofit organization with diverse groups of people. These groups come together and take action to organize, mobilize, educate and advocate for gender equality, youth employment, quality education and equal access to health services. ONE has secured over $30 billion in funding for historic health initiatives. It also helped pass the Electrify Africa Act of 2016, a U.S. legislation on energy poverty.

From actors to musicians, these five world changing celebrities put their public reputations to use by showing everyone that their voices matter and are an important key to make a difference and change the world.

– Juliette Lopez
Photo: Flickr

Celebrities are Donating
The Amazon rainforest fires of late 2019 are some of the worst to occur since 2010 with an increase in deforestation rates as a primary cause. Celebrities are donating to the Amazon, pledging money to organizations like the Rainforest Alliance, Amazon Watch and Rainforest trust. Many celebrities are donating to help the Amazon so that the indigenous peoples that live there can continue to do so. Other celebrities are raising awareness about the role politics is playing in the Amazon fires.

The Situation

The Amazon rainforest covers much of northwestern Brazil and extends into Colombia, Peru and other South American countries. It is the world’s largest tropical rainforest and is notable for its extensive biodiversity. It is also home to nearly one million indigenous peoples consisting of over 400 tribes, each with their own language, culture and territory. These people rely on their land for everything, from food to shelter to medicine, which is why the fires are so devastating to them.

 The anti-indigenous government of Jair Bolsonaro is a root cause of the fires. Bolsonaro normalizes, incites and empowers violence against the environment of the Amazon rainforest and against the tribes who live there. Bolsonaro pledged to increase agricultural activity in the Amazon by opening it to logging, industrial-scale agriculture, ranching and mining.

France’s President Emmanuel Macron tweeted “Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produce 20 percent of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!” Along with urging other world leaders to help on social media, Macron threatened to scrap a huge trade deal between the European Union and South America, putting pressure on Bolsonaro to take action.

Alongside the destruction and devastation, celebrities have begun to raise funds and awareness to help put a stop to the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest.

Celebrities Donating to the Amazon

Many celebrities are donating monetarily to provide aid. Vanessa Hudgens donated to the Amazon Conservation Team to try to proactively help and Violette Beane gave to multiple organizations while urging her fans to donate if they could and share information if they could not.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s environmental initiative, Earth Alliance, pledged $5 million to Amazon relief. People widely know DiCaprio for his work as an actor, but also for his work to end climate change. Earth Alliance created an emergency fund specifically for the preservation of the Amazon. The money pledged will be going to five local organizations.

In addition to donating, many celebrities are then nominating other celebrities to do the same. Lana Condor of “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” donated and then nominated co-stars Janel Parris and Noah Centineo to do so as well. Zoey Deutch donated to the Rainforest Alliance and called on Camila Mendes to do the same. After donating, Mendes nominated “Riverdale” co-star, Charles Melton to give.

“Umbrella Academy” star, Robert Sheehan, went one step further with his donation to the Rainforest Alliance by making it a monthly donation. He also plans to follow the Rainforest Alliance’s 30-day sustainability challenge.

One does not have to be a celebrity to provide aid to the Amazon fires, though. Donating is something anyone can do. The Rainforest Alliance is redirecting 100 percent of its donations to the frontline organizations in Brazil that work to protect the indigenous people. Rainforest Action Network works in Brazil’s Sawré Muybu Indigenous Territory supporting the Munduruku people’s campaign to create a recognized territory and monitor the area for illegal logging and mining activity. Other organizations include, but are not limited to Rainforest Foundation U.S., Amazon Watch, Earth Alliance, Amazon Conservation Team and World Wildlife Fund for Nature.

– Darci Flatley
Photo: Flickr

Celebrities HelpingCelebrities are regularly known for their top hits, exquisite gala ensembles and daily routines. However, there are many celebrities supporting charities and organizations through advocacy, fundraising and donations. Below are five celebrities helping the current HIV/AIDS crisis.

Elton John

British singer, songwriter, pianist and composer Elton John established the nonprofit organization Elton John AIDS Foundation (EJAF) in 1992. The Foundation was created to support various HIV/AIDS prevention programs, increase public awareness about the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and ultimately end the disease. EJAF prioritizes grant-making and donations and has raised more than $350 million across the world over the past 25 years.

The Elton John AIDS Foundation held their first-ever Midsummer Party on July 24, 2019 to support HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment services and raised six million dollars with the help of celebrity donors from all over the world.

Bill Gates

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was launched in 2000 and is reported to be the largest private foundation in the world. Along with many other causes, the foundation has promised to donate $100 million towards HIV/AIDS awareness and support in India.

At the announcement in New Delhi, Gates said the foundation is dedicated to supporting India’s efforts to contain its HIV/AIDS population at a low level. India currently has only a small population living with HIV/AIDS, and therefore the foundation wants to help terminate the epidemic at the earliest stage possible. Gates has faith that India could be a global leader in developing new and improved HIV prevention technologies.

Victoria Beckham

The fashion designer and former Spice Girl was appointed UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador in 2014 and continues to support HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment through spreading awareness about the virus. The designer has designed t-shirts for World AIDS Day over the past years and 100 percent of t-shirt sales are donated to the charity Born Free Africa, which works on Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT).

Beckham has also joined the mothers2mothers (m2m) organization in hopes to eliminate pediatric AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. She has sold more than 600 pieces of her wardrobe and all proceeds have been donated to m2m and its efforts to help HIV-positive mothers and their babies. Beckham has visited m2m sites in Cape Town, Africa and is determined that a cure to HIV can be found with continuous support.

Rihanna

Singer/songwriter Rihanna was named Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year in 2017 and has helped MAC Cosmetics’ MAC AIDS fundraise over $500 million to help fight the current HIV/AIDS epidemic. Rihanna is a brand ambassador for Mac Cosmetics’ Viva Glam lipstick, in which 100 percent of proceeds are donated towards HIV/AIDS awareness.

Rihanna also took a series of HIV tests with Prince Harry of Wales on World Aids Day in efforts to raise awareness about the virus and to encourage more people to get tested.

John Legend

The singer has taken part in Belvedere Vodka’s #MAKEADIFFERENCE campaign to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Africa. The campaign has created a unique Belvedere Vodka bottle that donates 50 percent of each purchase towards the HIV/AIDS fight.

John Legend has joined 80-year-old South African artist Esther Malanghu in the campaign to help Africa fight HIV/AIDS. Legend has written the song “Love Me Now” that will be used for the campaign and hopes that HIV/AIDS will be completely terminated during his daughter Luna’s lifetime, who was born in 2016.

Celebrities helping, like those mentioned above, know the power of their influence, and they’re using it to positively impact the world by fighting HIV and AIDS.

– Paige Regan
Photo: Flickr