Humanitarian Efforts of Alyssa MilanoEver since she was a child, Alyssa Milano has spent almost all of her entire life in the public eye. Memories of “Who’s the Boss?” and “Charmed” come to mind when recalling her television career. Moreover, of late, Milano was featured prominently at the Brett Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearings, along with involvement in the #MeToo movement. Few know that Alyssa Milano is a philanthropist who gives to charity regularly on both global and domestic level. This is a closer look at some of the humanitarian efforts of Alyssa Milano.

Early Humanitarian Efforts

In 2002, the humanitarian aid of Alyssa Milano began in hosting a photography exhibition and auction in Los Angeles to raise money for a charity in South Africa. An avid photographer in her own right, Milano displayed her own work, as well as the photos of the children attending Los Angeles’s Venice Arts program. Nkosi’s Haven, an organization that runs care centers in South Africa for AIDS-afflicted mothers and children, received close to $50,000 from this event.

UNICEF Ambassador

In 2003, UNICEF invited Milano to become an ambassador due to her charitable work on behalf of children. Milano’s first trip to Angola was to see the issues that plagued the newly-liberated country. Milano launched UNICEF’s Trick or Treat campaign in the fall of 2004. Traveling with UNICEF to India six months after the tsunami disaster, she visited the worst-affected tsunami zones in South India to witness the relief and rehabilitation efforts. Milano’s trip also focused on education and spreading awareness about HIV/AIDS. India has the second highest infection rate in the world. Since her appointment as a UNICEF Ambassador, Milano has been influential in raising funds and awareness for UNICEF and its mission of saving and improving the lives of children worldwide.

As a founding lead ambassador for the Global Network for Neglected Tropical Disease Control, Milano’s her first action was to donate $250,000 to the charity’s Drug Fund. This was used to battle lymphatic filariasis (LF) in Myanmar.

The Global Network is an advocacy group dedicated to raising awareness, inspiring policymakers and working with the necessary funding to control and eliminate the most common Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs). NTDs are a group of disabling, disfiguring and deadly diseases affecting people worldwide, living on less than $1.25 a day. The World Health Organization (WHO) has partnered with the Global Network to raise the profile of the neglected disease. In addition to the other humanitarian efforts of Alyssa Milano, she remained focused on bringing this issue to the public.


In addition to the humanitarian efforts of Alyssa Milano are her charity efforts. In 2009, she became involved with charity work. She began with Water, a grassroots non-profit that engaged more than 75,000 donors around the world and raised over $13 million for operations and water projects. For her 37th birthday, Milano asked in lieu of any presents or parties, that her charity campaign receive donations.

Clean and safe drinking water is not accessible to millions of people. Many suffer from waterborne schistosomiasis, caused by parasitic worms. Not having access to clean drinking water perpetuates the cycle of poverty, Milano believes, as it keeps children out of school and women from pursuing economic growth.

Milano’s campaign brought clean water to Adi Berakit Elementary School in Ethiopia. The campaign also reached 18 other projects. She raised over $50,000 in less than a week and 250 families benefited from her actions. Projects like this one use clean water as a catalyst to improve the overall health of children and the surrounding community.


For her commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of others, Milano received:

  • a humanitarian award from Sri Chinmoy
  • The Peace Meditation at the United Nations
  • The John Wayne Cancer Institute 2004 Spirit of Hollywood Award

Milano remains involved with the charities reported in this article, in addition to many other organizations. All of the humanitarian efforts of Alyssa Milano show how she used her fame, along with constant dedication and generosity, to turn her work into something incredible that helps other people.

-Colette Sherrington
Photo: Wikimedia

The Pele Foundation and the Empowerment of the Disenfranchised Edson Arantes do Nascimento, known widely by the moniker Pelé, is arguably the most popular Brazilian football player and had led his team to trebled triumph in the World Cup. But Pelé doesn’t have a one-track mind: he has one leg in the sports pool and the other leg in the social activism pool.

Previously, Pelé worked with FIFA as an ambassador against racism as well as with UNICEF to advocate children’s rights. He has moved on to inaugurating his own organization called The Pelé Foundation to empower impoverished, disenfranchised children around the world.

The Pelé Foundation

When first announcing the launch of his foundation Pelé said, “In 2018, I am launching The Pelé Foundation, a new charitable endeavor that will benefit organizations around the world and their dedicated efforts to empower children, specifically around poverty and education.”

Having grown up poor, Pelé developed an affinity for charity work. In the past, he had supported a multitude of different organizations including 46664, ABC Trust, FC Harlem, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Prince’s Rainforests Project and The Littlest Lamb.

In the future, Pelé’s organization plans to expand and cover issues such as gender equality and will eventually birth offshoot programs, not unlike other organizations of its nature.

Partner Organizations

Pelé isn’t alone in this endeavor. During the initial announcement, Pelé blazoned that he would be partnering with both charity:water and Pencils of Promise to fulfill his goals.

Founded in October 2008, Pencils of Promise (PoP) is a nonprofit dedicated to improving the state of education for children in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Ghana and Laos. Besides improving the quality of education, PoP also constructs schools and educational facilities, trains faculty, champions scholarships and supports sanitary programs. Backed by big names such as Justin Bieber and Scooter Braun, PoP is a big name itself in the humanitarian space.

Established in 2006 and having funded 24,537 different projects, charity:water is spearheaded by Scott Harrison. charity: water gives all donations to projects working to end the current water crises. Harrison said, “We’re excited to partner with The Pelé Foundation to bring clean water to thousands of people in the years to come. Having access to clean water not only saves hours of wasted time, but it also provides safety, health and hygiene. It directly impacts the future of children, and we believe it’s the first step out of poverty for rural communities all over the world.”

– Jordan De La Fuente
Photo: Flickr


Notable Humanitarians
Improving the world is no small task. It can take great amounts of resources and effort to drive global change. And even with the proper tools, global change can still seem like a distant vision rather than a reality. Usually, this is where the thought process ends. Inspiring change is too daunting a task for most people. But not for everyone.

Notable humanitarians show the world a different way of thinking. They see the complex problems of the world and begin to push towards a solution. In doing so, they set an example for everybody else. So who are these notable humanitarians?

Three Notable Humanitarians

  1. Bill GatesThe Microsoft co-founder knows about humanitarianism. In 1994, Gates and his wife Melinda began a decades-long mission to improve the world, founding what would become the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization is a strong force for global health, development and policy advocacy. Since its founding, the organization has contributed billions of dollars towards global issues. This money has funded many global initiatives, especially relating to health and education. The foundation cites continuous collaboration with partners as a key to being effective.Gates has made humanitarianism his sole focus. In 2014, he stepped down from his chairman position at Microsoft to concentrate on the foundation.The Lesson: Improving the world requires everybody working together.
  2. Kristine PearsonAfter doing research in parts of rural Africa, Kristine Pearson noticed a problem. Despite the spread of community radio stations, many people still did not have radio access.  Much of this was because of issues with electricity coverage. Armed with this knowledge, Pearson set out to make a change. That change came in the form of wind-up and solar-powered radios. Given the energy poverty suffered by many in rural Africa, this was a perfect fit. Using this technology, Pearson has been able to spread radio access to more than half a million people. For those that otherwise would be unable to afford this access, Pearson is a hero.When she founded her charity, Lifeline Energy, in 1999, Pearson became a catalyst for change. She was able to help combat poverty through radio. With access to radio broadcasts, rural Africans are better equipped to deal with emergencies, and their day-to-day lives benefit as well. Educational content, news and weather broadcasts are all useful for rural citizens. Pearson made these benefits attainable for many through her notable humanitarian work.The Lesson: Social entrepreneurship can improve quality of life in developing countries.
  3. Norman BorlaugNobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug is the definition of a notable humanitarian. Borlaug developed a wheat cultivation method that increased crop yields in Mexico. His background in agronomy allowed him to create innovative ideas for the country. Mexico faced complex agriculture problems, and Borlaug’s work was a breath of fresh air.After his original work in Mexico, Borlaug took his methods across the world. His work throughout the 1940s and 1950s created what was later called the “green revolution”. Because of his methods, several countries were able to rise out of famine. In fact, by the end of his career, Dr. Borlaug had saved more than a billion people from starvation.The Lesson: Reducing global poverty requires innovative thinking.

Being a humanitarian can take many forms. Creating a charity, spreading radio access and increasing crop yields are just a few of the numerous ways to help others. As seen from the stories of these three notable humanitarians, they can be very effective. Whatever the method, the end goal is the same: to make the world better.

– Robert Stephen

Photo: Flickr

Orlando Bloom

Orlando Bloom has traveled to Nepal twice to learn about how UNICEF aids impoverished communities. He has become informed about the impact UNICEF has, whether it be educating people about water sanitation, providing vaccinations or providing safe homes for young girls.

Bloom and UNICEF

During a trip to Nepal in 2007, Orlando Bloom was made aware of the power and importance of spreading information. He learned about the process, supported by UNICEF, that young kids often use to create clean and sanitary water using UV rays from the sun. By filling a clear plastic water bottle to the top (leaving no air inside) and placing it at a 30-degree angle on a rooftop, the sun’s rays are able to kill any unsafe bacteria and germs.

In an interview, Bloom explains, “When the message is made clear to people, they can start to advance forward.”

By educating and spreading valuable information to kids on creating safe water, they are able to bring multiple bottles of clean water home to their families. He encourages people to spread valuable information that can help communities, as he has first-hand seen the benefits of this through UNICEF’s water sanitation programs.

Rita’s Story

Bloom’s trip to Nepal opened his eyes to how precious a resource water is. He was able to spend time with a 6 year old girl named Rita, who occupies half of her day collecting water.

She uses a water tank in a basket, which connected to a strap that goes over her head. He explains her journey, “She walks a few miles up and down a mountain to get to a well and collects water to bring back to her house. And the water she’s collecting from the well is not clean, it can make her sick.”

Bringing it Home

Now at home in the United States, Bloom is speaking out about the importance of conserving water. Inspired by his trip to Nepal, he explains that we cannot take our daily access to water for granted. He has instilled this mindset into his son, for example, by teaching him to turn off water while brushing his teeth.

Orlando Bloom has also visited places including Liberia, Jordan and Moscow to learn about the struggles families go through, to further raise awareness for other issues besides water conservation and sanitation.

Casey Marx

Photo: Flickr

Humanitarian singers
A remarkable number of singers spend time fighting poverty between recording sessions and tours. In particular, four humanitarian singers made an especially large impact through both creating and supporting various foundations.


Shakira gained worldwide fame for her pop music with a Latin flair. However, she also leads a philanthropic career outside of music.

The artist primarily focuses on universal education and early childhood development. She founded the Pies Descalzos (Bare Feet) Foundation that looks to “bring education to every child in the world.”

Shakira also supports the ONE Campaign, which mobilizes individuals to do their part to end extreme poverty.

Another campaign she promotes and supports is Habitat for Humanity. This organization strives to give everyone in the world adequate housing.


Bono is not only the lead singer of the world-renowned band U2, but he is also well known for his humanitarian efforts. He has helped fight poverty by supporting and creating multiple campaigns and projects.

These include the ONE Campaign and (RED), which advocates for an AIDS-free globe. Bono also supports EDUN, which encourages trade between impoverished countries in order to boost their economies.

In addition, he often participates in fundraising concerts to help raise money for these foundations and to promote important causes.

Elton John

Don’t let the sun go down on Elton John: he’s ready to change the world. The well-known singer and songwriter is also a supporter of the quest to eliminate AIDS around the world.

He created the Elton John AIDS Foundation in order to help reduce the AIDS epidemic. Consequently, his foundation has raised over $125 million, which has gone to support 55 different countries. This support promotes education prevention and provides services to those in need.

He also supports other foundations, such as AIDS LIFE, World AIDS Day and War Child.

Alicia Keys

“No One” can deny Alicia Keys’ contributions toward fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This singer also uses her powerhouse singing voice to speak for the unheard individuals.

She co-founded Keep a Child Alive, which focuses on the millions of children that die from AIDS in places where medical treatment is sub-par or unavailable. This foundation offers a range of services, including diagnostic testing and health care training.

In addition, Keys has traveled to Uganda, Kenya and South Africa to speak to those who have lost their parents to the deadly disease. She also raised money for the charity by offering a private concert as a prize in an auction.

In an interview with Everyday Health, Keys eloquently says, “Helping keep a child or mother or father or brother or sister alive means turning the worst epidemic of our lifetime into the greatest victory of our generation.”

Other Notable Humanitarian Singers

In addition, a coalition of humanitarian singers have all joined Water Now’s quest to provide people in need with clean water. These artists include Lady Gaga, Pitbull, Pharrell Williams, Adam Levine, Jason Derulo, Meghan Trainor, Jennifer Hudson, 5 Seconds of Summer and Justin Bieber.

With the help of Watermill Express, every time a gallon of water is purchased at one of the 1,300 kiosks dispensed around the United States, a gallon of clean water is donated on behalf of the buyer to a person in need in a developing country.

Humanitarian singers and celebrities continue to help raise money and awareness for global issues. All of the foundations they support and create are easy to find and donate to thanks to their philanthropic publicity.

Casey Marx

Photo: Shakira

Tyler Perry
Actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry recently spoke in a public service announcement launched by Feeding America and the Ad Council on Feb. 11. This announcement was part of Feeding America’s national Hunger Prevention campaign in partnership with the Ad Council.

According to KCBD, given his membership of the Feeding America Entertainment Council, Perry would like to mobilize the people of America behind the mission to fight child hunger nationally.

Feeding America, established in the late 1960s, has since become the nation’s leading hunger-relief organization, with a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 poverty relief programs that serve around 46 million Americans every year, as stated on the organization’s website.

In an interview with PR Newswire, CEO of Feeding America Diana Aviv expressed her appreciation of Perry’s contribution to the organization. “By providing a strong voice for children who struggle with hunger, he can help inspire more people to engage with their local food banks and make a true difference in the lives of millions in need,” she said.

By participating in the short video titled “Stop Hunger with Tyler Perry | Hunger Prevention” posted on YouTube by the Ad Council, Perry has joined a network of more than 40 other celebrities, including Scarlett Johansson and Matt Damon, in the fight against hunger with Feeding America. This series of video clips addresses how hunger has a negative impact on children’s development, as well as advocates for ways in which the enormous amount of surplus food wasted every year in the U.S. could help alleviate the situation.

As reported by PR Newswire, “all PSAs will run in advertising time and space entirely donated by the media.” The fact that the Hunger Prevention campaign has received more than $373 million as a result of these PSAs portends even more successes for this program in the future.

“15 million children suffer from hunger in the U.S. and through our newly released PSA, we will continue to raise awareness and provide meals to children and families in need across the country,” said Perry.

Hoa Nguyen

Sources: Look to the Stars, PR Newswire, Feeding America
Photo: Melisa Source

David BowieDavid Bowie was unique among famous figures. Not only was he a superstar in the music world, he was also a superstar in the world of helping the hungry, sick and poor. His death in January 2016 came as a blow to both worlds.

David Bowie’s charity work involved supporting causes related to disadvantaged children and youth, human rights, poverty and hunger, women’s issues, disaster relief and AIDS relief/reduction.

According to Look to the Stars, David Bowie took part in many charity activities, including 21st Century Leaders/Whatever It Takes, Every Mother Counts, Keep a Child Alive, Save the Children, the Lunchbox Fund and War Child.

According to their website, 21st Century Leaders is a nonprofit foundation with the mission of influencing well-known people “to raise awareness and funds for international development causes, thereby leading the way in promoting positive environmental and sustainable human development solutions.” David Bowie was one of their leaders.

Whatever It Takes is a project through which artists donate artwork or sign products to raise money to fund global development causes, including environmental protection, the alleviation of poverty and the provision of child services. Bowie designed a plate for Whatever It Takes.

Every Mother Counts is devoted to making pregnancy and birth safe for every woman. Bowie donated a song to their cause, which raises money to help maternal and childcare programs all over the world.

Bowie also performed songs for Keep a Child Alive, a nonprofit organization with the mission “to realize the end of AIDS for children and families, by combating the physical, social and economic impacts of HIV,” according to its website. The organization works in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and India, helping 70,000 people a year.

Bowie also contributed to Save the Children and the Lunchbox Fund. In 2014, Save the Children worked in 120 countries and helped 166 million children. The Lunchbox Fund is a nonprofit organization focusing on “education via nutrition by providing a daily meal for orphaned and at-risk school children in township and rural areas of South Africa,” according to its website. The lunchboxes simply provide a meal to a child who goes to school, offering an incentive to stay in school.

David Bowie donated songs to albums for War Child. War Child is an organization that “works toward a world in which no child’s life is torn apart by war,” as stated on its website. The group has helped almost 100,000 children and adults directly and 500,000 indirectly.

Through these charities alone, David Bowie’s charity legacy lives on and continues to have an effect.

Rhonda Marrone

Sources: Look to the Stars, 21 Century Leaders, Whatever it Takes, Every Mother Counts, Keep Child Alive, Save the Children, The Lunchbox Fund, War Child
Photo: The Imaginative Conservative

Leonardo DiCaprioLeonardo DiCaprio’s charity work spans a wide range of worthy causes. He has used his celebrity status to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS, conservation efforts, disaster relief and poverty alleviation. According to the celebrity news source Look to the Stars, DiCaprio has made charitable contributions to 20 different foundations in support of 17 causes.

In 1998, when he was 24 years old, DiCaprio recognized the importance of protecting the environment and the need for building a sustainable future. He established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) to contribute to this cause.

Since 2010, the LDF has donated over $30 million to fund high-impact environmental projects in more than 44 countries, according to the organization’s website. “I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems,” DiCaprio said in an interview with the Telegraph in January 2016. “I believe mankind has looked at climate change in the same way, as if it were a fiction. But I think we know better than that.”

DiCaprio’s unwavering commitment to the environment earned him the role of United Nations Messenger of Peace in September 2014. “[DiCaprio’s] global stardom is the perfect match for this global challenge,” said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a press conference at that time.

Charity Navigator, an organization known for guiding intelligent giving, noted DiCaprio’s involvement in the National Resources Defense Council, WildAid and the World Wildlife Fund on their list of celebrities who put their star power to good use. The LDF raised over $25 million at its inaugural gala in July 2014 thanks to auctioned items from Bono and Simon de Pury, according to Vogue Magazine.

DiCaprio’s charity work extends beyond the realm of fundraising galas or speaking to world leaders. While most celebrities use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for self-promotion, DiCaprio’s accounts are devoted to causes he cares about.

“Leonardo’s website and social media platforms are also dedicated to inspiring the public to take action on key environmental issues,” the LDF website says, regarding DiCaprio’s social media channels. “Growing in reach from just 500,000 followers in 2007 to over 25 million in 2015, Leonardo’s fans have engaged on an array of issues protecting key species — sharks in California, tigers in Asia, elephants in Africa — and calling on world leaders to address climate change.”

Leonardo DiCaprio’s ability to leverage social media for good has not gone unnoticed. Complex Magazine cited DiCaprio as one of 11 celebrities that used social media for good in 2015.

Summer Jackson

Sources: Complex, Look to the Stars, Telegraph, UN, Vogue, Charity Navigator
Photo: Google Images

Internet CelebrityVideo may have killed the radio star, but increasingly, internet celebrities are supplanting traditional actors and actresses, even in charity drives. PewDiePie, TotalBiscuit, Nerdfighters and others have paved the way for social media celebrities to make an impact, but a new platform is set to take internet celebrity charity to the next level: Reelio Cares.

Reelio specializes in linking companies with Youtube stars to promote their brands, and Reelio Cares specializes in linking charities with social media influencers to promote their causes. CEO Pete Borum believes that the time has come for Reelio Cares, as many nonprofits have difficulty reaching their target audience via traditional methods like mail and television.

Already, online celebrities have become a force in charity work. In 2013, PewDiePie raised over $160,000 in just two weeks for Charity: Water, a nonprofit that specializes in providing clean drinking water to countries all over the earth. LoadingReadyRun has raised more than $450,000 for Child’s Play over several years. Child’s Play brings toys and games to sick children in hospitals worldwide.

Internet celebrity charity is advantageous to all parties involved. For nonprofits, it provides a free way to contact a young, engaged audience willing to give. For online stars, it lets them change the world in a positive way. According to one such star, woodworking sensation Steve Ramsey, “Many have huge audiences that they weren’t really expecting. They start to think ‘Do I want to just keep making videos or do I want to do something with those videos, with this audience and really use it for good?’”

Besides promoting charities, the videos also promote the online celebrity’s site. Reelio reports that videos with a positive, charitable message receive two-and-a-half times as many views as normal videos. This is because of the way these drives usually work.

For the number of views a video receives, the celebrity will donate an ever-increasing number of dollars to a cause. As such, subscribers are encouraged to share with their social network as much as possible. As more people see the video, they also donate their own money to the cause. In the end, the online celebrity only contributes a small portion directly to the charity. It’s the audience who contributes the lion’s share.

Demographically, the shift to internet celebrities makes sense for nonprofit charities. According to CNN in November 2015, teens spend roughly nine hours a day on social media. Advertising agencies such as BrightRoll report that the majority of their customers find online advertising to be at least as effective as television.

While it may be too soon for traditional celebrities to step aside, the time has come for them to share center stage with internet celebrities. Social media lets charitable organizations reach an audience that’s not only willing to give, but willing to share their message with as many people as possible. It lets them reach young people who are as familiar with Youtube sensations as they are with movie stars. As the information age advances, internet celebrity charity is destined to positively change the planet.

Dennis Sawyers

Sources: CNN, Financial Times, Marketing Land, Reason Digital, Reelio
Photo: Google Images

David BeckhamDavid Beckham’s adoring fans will have the opportunity to take a piece of him home thanks to the David Beckham: The Man exhibition and auction this year.

Phillips will host a viewing and gala auction for David Beckham: The Man at its London gallery that is open to the public.

This innovative international gala auction is part of a high-profile, three-year global philanthropic program and exhibition of signed contemporary photography featuring and celebrating David Beckham, according to UNICEF.

The works will be on display from Feb. 27 until the auction on March 10. The proceeds from the auction will go towards 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund and the Positive View Foundation.

“This wonderful project in support of my own 7 Fund at UNICEF and Positive View Foundation will help create change for children and disadvantaged young people around the world,” Beckham said in UNICEF’s press release for the event.

7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund was founded in 2015 to mark the tenth year Beckham has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. 7 aims to protect millions of children from danger and provide help when they need it most, according to the fund’s website.

“David Beckham is the quintessential modern man, his fame far exceeding that of a sportsman. He is universally recognized, an icon of modern masculinity and a magnet for photographers,” David Beckham: The Man Curator Kathy Adler said in UNICEF’s press release for the event. “His appeal is ubiquitous: he is happy being a gay icon, a teenage idol, a spokesperson for sport, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.”

In the 10 years Beckham has served as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, he has traveled to Sierra Leone, South Africa and the Philippines to see UNICEF’s work in action.

Beckham used his celebrity status to call attention to the adversity faced by impoverished children around the world and continues to raise awareness in his role as a global ambassador.

Beckham has also met with U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron to request more be done to help children affected by malnutrition around the world, according to Beckham’s ambassador page.

The Positive View Foundation was founded in 1994 as a philanthropic photography project and has morphed into an organization that helps disadvantaged young people in the U.K.

Over 50 pieces of photography from 27 different photographers including Annie Liebovitz, Nadav Kander and Inez & Vinnodh will be available for bidding, according to UNICEF.

Summer Jackson

Sources:, Positive View Foundation, UNICEF 1, UNICEF 2
Photo: Caught Offside