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Celebrities Giving Back During COVID-19
COVID-19 cases topped more than 6.1 million with over 373,000 deaths worldwide as of June 2, 2020. As most can imagine, a celebrity donation can take the COVID-19 fight to new heights and emboldens morale for benefitting communities around the world. During the pandemic, celebrities are pitching in for those at home and abroad. Here are five celebrities giving back during COVID-19.

5 Celebrities Giving Back During COVID-19

  1. Bismack Biyombo: The NBA star Bismack Biyombo donated over $1 million worth of medical equipment to the Democratic Republic of the Congo. “The Congo is not a county where you can tell people to stay at home,” Biyombo told USA TODAY Sports. “The population is roughly 80 million and about 70% of the population lives in poverty. They’re depending on daily pay. You can’t say, ‘Listen, I want you to stay at home.’ How is that going to work?” This celebrity donation during COVID-19 provides approximately 10,000 medical masks and 780 hazmats suits to the nation. Biyombo is also working to get incubators for the neonatal intensive care units along with medical beds to those in the Congo. In addition to this celebrity donation during COVID-19, Biyombo and his parents meet with government officials, clinics and hospitals to distribute supplies and aim to get clean drinking water to this area.
  2. Rihanna: The pop singer donated nearly $1 million to underserved communities, from the U.S. to Malawi, through the Clara Lionel Foundation. This celebrity donation during COVID-19 goes to accomplish accelerating testing and care, mobilize resources, improve capacity, protective equipment for frontline health care workers, diagnostic labs and establishing and maintaining intensive care units in countries like Haiti and Malawi. Additionally, the donation aids in health care worker training, virus prevention and containment in countries on the front lines in the battle against COVID-19. Distributing critical respiratory and medical supplies mobilized several on-the-ground partners including Direct Relief, Feeding America, Partners in Health, The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Funday and the International Rescue Committee.
  3. Cher: Cher is donating the proceeds of her newly released cover song, ABBA’s “Chiquitita,” to UNICEF to relieve efforts worldwide. The singer reported that she has long since admired the work UNICEF does, especially for young women. “Now more than ever it’s critical that we prioritize every child around the world as if they were our own,” she says to The Hollywood Reported. In addition to this celebrity donation, she created the foundation CherCares Pandemic Resources and Response Initiative with Dr. Irwin Redlender, the head of Columbia University’s Pandemic Resource and Response Center and co-founder of the Children’s Health Fund. CherCares Pandemic Resource and Response Initiative distributed $1 million to people that others chronically neglect and forgot about, and are often unable to receive services, such as Latinos and Native Americans.
  4. Shakira: Shakira donated thousands of N-95 respirator masks to Columbia to aid in the fight. The celebrity’s donation during COVID-19 already helped with over 11,000 cases of the virus in her home country. The mayor of Barranquilla tweeted the celeb, “One of the most beloved Barranquilleras in the world is @shakira, and she is also one of the people who most loves this city. Huge thank you for your contribution of thousands of N95 masks for our health care workers, and ventilators that will save lives.” Shakira retweeted stating, “Thanks to the Mayor’s team for helping us coordinate this effort, I hope that we will continue adding resources to protect our own!”
  5. Shawn Mendes: The Shawn Mendes Foundation gave $175,000 to the SickKids Foundation, a health care network dedicated to improving children’s wellness. This celebrity donation provides COVID-19 screening tools for children in the singer’s home town of Toronto. Any donations to The Shawn Mendes Foundation will go to SickKids and the World Health Organization (WHO).

These five celebrities giving back during COVID-19 have shown extreme generosity. This lavish relief inspires and equips those on the front lines to continue the fight.

– Danielle Beatty
Photo: Flickr

Celebrities Donating to Fight COVID-19
COVID-19 continues to threaten the world. Although celebrities cannot be on the frontlines, they are doing their part in the battle against the virus. From creating their own nonprofit organizations to donating to global charities, these public figures continue to support the improvement of global poverty and health. Here are five celebrities donating to fight COVID-19.

5 Celebrities Donating to Fight COVID-19

  1. Justin Bieber: Back in February 2020, before COVID-19 began largely affecting the U.S., Canadian-born singer Justin Bieber made a donation to the Bejing Chunmiao Children Aid Foundation. The organization, a public charity, focuses on bringing health, home and joy to underprivileged children in China. In Bieber’s donation announcement post on Instagram, he said, “China, we stand with you as a collective humanity.” Bieber recognized the importance of donating globally as countries fell one by one to COVID-19. A month later, he canceled his 2020 U.S. national tour to protect the well-being of his fans.
  2. Lady Gaga: When COVID-19 struck, singer sensation Lady Gaga took it upon herself to do more than just donate. She wanted to give voice to underprivileged communities, essential workers and volunteers risking their lives to help others. In collaboration with international advocacy organization Global Citizen, Gaga created the “One World: Together at Home” broadcast. This 8-hour fundraising phenomenon included performances and videos from superstars like John Legend and Beyonce. The event raised $127 million. All of the money is for the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and UNICEF.
  3. Priyanka Chopra Jonas: At the end of March 2020, Priyanka Chopra and husband Nick Jonas announced that they donated undisclosed amounts to 10 organizations, including UNICEF and Doctors without Borders, to do their part in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. Chopra, an Indian actress, also has her own organization, The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education. The Foundation works to support underprivileged children across India. A global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Chopra is part of many efforts to protect child rights and promote education for girls.
  4. Rihanna: Popstar Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty created The Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF)  in 2012. The nonprofit aims to protect and improve education and emergency response programs around the world. The organization donated $5 million to global COVID-19 response organizations including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Rescue Committee. Additionally, CLF also joined forces with Twitter/Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation to donate $6.2 million to 11 organizations responding to COVID-19’s global impact.
  5. Jack Dorsey: Along with partnering with Rihanna and Jay-Z, billionaire Jack Dorsey pledged $1 billion, 28% of his net worth, to his own limited liability company called Start Small. Furthermore, Dorsey intends the fund to support global COVID-19 relief and girls’ health and education. Although he has not specified how much of the $1 billion will go to COVID-19 relief, Dorsey is maintaining transparency. He tracks all donations on a spreadsheet open to the public. If 10% of the fund goes to supporting the COVID-19 crisis, the donation would be the largest from a public philanthropist in the U.S. during this pandemic.

These five celebrities donating to fight COVID-19 show that while some celebrities invest money into existing global charities and others create their own, all fight to improve people’s livelihoods. These celebrities serve as a reminder to use privilege and societal standing to benefit those who are less privileged, especially during a global pandemic when the entire world is struggling.

– Kiyomi Kishaba 
Photo: Flickr

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

Louder Together: A Festival for ChangeEvery year, the Global Citizen Festival blends advocacy and entertainment in New York City and Mumbai. In order for one to get tickets to the festival, they must “earn their tickets after taking a series of actions to effect change around the world,” which is tracked through an app. Once a person has earned enough points through actions that benefit world issues, they are then entered into a drawing to win tickets to the festival. The festival partners with organizations like UNICEF, Rainforest Alliance, World Food Programme and many more.

This year, Comlpex Networks and Global Citizen released a documentary called Louder Together: A Global Citizen Documentary; New York to Mumbai, which features footage from the festival’s locations in New York and Mumbai from 2016. The film focuses on the mission of the festival as well as interviews with performers. Hugh Jackman is the narrator (and also an executive producer) for the documentary, which features artists like Coldplay and Rihanna.

Louder Together delves into how Global Citizen was able to take its festival from Central Park all the way to Mumbai, a city on the other side of the globe. People from India can be seen in the trailer discussing how this event can help change the minds of young people, which in turn changes the country.

The CEO of Global Citizen, Hugh Evans, poignantly remarked that the festival “transformed their cities into arenas of advocacy in the fight to end extreme poverty.” This festival brought people from all walks of life and from all over the world to become louder together about issues that affect them. Global Citizen has only existed for six years, but it continues to grow, as evidenced by its expansion into new countries, cultures and medias.

Louder Together is being streamed for free on Go90, a streaming service. The documentary is a great way for people to learn about the causes that Global Citizen advocates for, as well as how the arts can be used to both entertain and educate people. Louder Together is a shining example of the way citizens and celebrities can come together to help change the world.

Emilia Beuger

Photo: Flickr

RihannaRobyn Fenty, popularly known as Rihanna, hosted the Diamond Ball with the help of Dave Chappelle on September 14th, 2017. The event occurred at Cipriani Wall Street, and this was her first time hosting the ball in New York City. The charity event raised over five million dollars for the health and education initiatives of the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) for the Caribbean Islands and Malawi. The CLF promotes innovative education, health and emergency response programs around the world.

The CLF actively participates in global advocacy with the goal of improving the quality of life for young people everywhere. The CLF’s current agendas are involved with the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program, the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados and the Barbados Micro Grants Program.

The director of the Clara Lionel Foundation, Justine Lucas, mentioned at the event that they were one of the first few organizations to aid Hurricane Harvey victims. They are also planning to invest in Irma recovery.

While the charity event was by invitation only, Rihanna’s family and many notable celebrities attended in support of the pop singer’s philanthropic efforts. Young Thug, Beyoncé, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx supported Rihanna’s cause. Even President Barack Obama sent in a video message where he thanked Rihanna for her work with her foundation. “You’ve become a powerful force in helping people find hope and dignity,” said a delighted Obama.

Through Dave Chappelle’s charisma and Rihanna’s ploy to get her guests influenced by alcohol (and their own compassion), the Diamond Ball raised over $5 million for health and education initiatives. “I hope that as you hear about what we are doing and what we plan to do, you too will be inspired to join our mission. The more you drink, the more inspired you’ll be to donate money … and help kids around the world,” Rihanna slyly encouraged her guests.

Jalil Perry

Photo: Flickr

Rihanna's Charity Work Fighting Poverty in Malawi
In January 2017, Rihanna visited Malawi on behalf of her foundation, the Clara Lionel Foundation. She also journeyed as a global ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education.

During her stay, Rihanna, accompanied by former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, hoped to learn more about the challenges regarding health and education in Malawi. Global Citizen uploaded a short film documenting Rihanna’s charity work. The film depicts the poverty, hunger, poor education and the lack of many basic human rights that many children face in Malawi. In addition to interacting with children, Rihanna also discussed future improvement strategies with key political leaders.

The situation regarding education in Malawi requires immediate action. This documentary and Rihanna’s charity work helped bring attention to the severity of conditions in Malawi. According to a World Bank survey, one in two Malawians live in poverty, making it the country’s most pressing issue.

Currently, the fight against poverty in Malawi has experienced little progress in the past decade. Like many impoverished countries, the rural regions of Malawi are the most heavily impacted. The issue is primarily due to volatile economic conditions, natural disasters and poor performance in the agricultural sector. The World Bank has suggested that one possible solution could be investing in secondary education for women.

These issues regarding poverty and education have a particularly profound impact on young Malawian women. Rihanna’s charity work, as shown in the documentary, addresses how issues such as poor public infrastructure put young women in danger while walking to school. In addition, cultural practices such as arranged marriages deter women from pursuing education.

Rihanna’s charity work in Malawi attempts to increase global awareness of these issues while creating connections with key leaders. The Global Partnership for Education has raised funds for global education, and in past years has focused specifically on “inclusive, equitable quality education for all by 2030.” In fact, the organization hopes to raise $3.1 billion for over 870 million children in 89 countries between 2018 and 2020. Partnering with Rihanna allowed them to combine these goals with the singer’s interest in education for girls and arts education.

In years past, Rihanna has used her fame to further her charity work. As a champion for women’s rights and access to arts and education, Rihanna established the Clara Lionel Foundation in 2012. The nonprofit fights to “improve the quality of life for communities globally in the areas of health, education, arts and culture.” The foundation creates scholarships, partners with various corporations, holds fundraising events and does much more in an effort to provide these areas with the resources they need.

Julia Morrison

Photo: Flickr

Hope For Haiti Now
After the disastrous earthquake in Haiti in 2010, the country needed foreign aid to recover as a nation. Hope for Haiti Now was hosted to help raise much needed funds. The telethon included news updates, information about what kinds of help were imperative in the critical period, and performances by famous singers including Bruce Springsteen, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Jay-Z, and Beyonce.  The Hope for Haiti Now Fund raised a staggering $35 million in its first installment.

The profits went out to various charities and organizations that had tasks in Haiti as a part of the recovery process. Oxfam America received a portion of the funds to help create access to clean water and sanitation, bring in any supplies, and increase access to food and shelters. Partners in Health responded to medical emergencies and helped rebuild and revitalize the healthcare system in Haiti. Red Cross American focused its efforts on responding to medical emergencies particularly for families with elderly or disabled members, or families in which women are the sole breadwinners. UNICEF helped find missing children and kept families from being separated. The United Nations World Food Programme was in charge of supplying food to those who desperately needed it. Yele Haiti Foundation was in charge of ensuring that all the necessary monetary aid, medical aid, supplies, and food reached their destinations, especially in under developed areas, where lack of infrastructure would prevent the aid from going through. The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund was in charge of helping rebuilding and recovering the nation in the long term.

The Hope for Haiti Now Fund responded immediately to the emergency that Haiti faced. We can learn a lot from the instant response to the earthquake. The effort to help Haiti greatly increased its chances of short-term and long-term recovery. As with any other disaster relief, this first response is crucial; it can make the difference between a difficult, struggling attempt at a recovery and a sturdy, responsive one. The Help Haiti Now Fund telethon changed the way the world responded to nations in need. In the future, an immediate response will ensure that the nation struck with a natural disaster receives the help that it requires to begin a quick recovery. The help given in Haiti during the critical period took care of families, provided food and shelters, etc. The long term help is still critical in helping Haiti rebuild not only its nation, but even its economy and infrastructure that will lead Haiti to a brighter tomorrow.

-Aalekhya Malladi

Sources: Entertainment Industry Foundation, CMT

globalcitizen
Ever imagine combining a love for music with a passion for social activism?  That is exactly what the Global Poverty Project did with the Global Citizen Ticket Initiative. This innovative initiative seeks to reward social activism with something music lovers seek: concert tickets! Social activists can now use their passion for changing the world to earn music tickets. The initiative builds off the Global Poverty Project’s highly successful Global Citizen Festival which was held in New York City in 2012. 60,000 people earned free tickets to that event by participating in social activist activities.

The initiative is supported by musicians such as Pearl Jam and music industry professionals who want to see engagement around global poverty and make the eradication of global poverty a reality.  Musicians can inspire and motivate individuals to action; their support is extremely important to the cause. The goal is to rally thousands around causes such as polio, malaria, women’s empowerment, and education.  By adding incentives, the Global Poverty Project hopes to reach a larger number of individuals and spread the message even farther.

Global Citizen tickets are earned based off of a point reward system.  The points are linked to levels of involvement in social activism. For example, posting a link on Facebook earns one point whereas calling your senator will earn five points. The points can be redeemed for local concerts as well as passes to major music fests like Bonnaroo. It’s a way of rewarding people for their actions and providing an alternative to purchasing concert tickets. Several artists who have signed on to participate include John Mayer, Kayne West, Rihanna, Tim McGraw, and the Dixie Chicks. A complete list of artists and festivals is available on the website.

Music fans and activists alike are invited to participate in the Global Citizen Ticket initiative.  Their is an innovative online platform as well as mobile application to make participation easy. To get involved, register at globalcitizen.org/tickets and get started raising awareness and earning rewards today.

– Amanda Kloeppel

Source: JamBase

red nose day
Friday, March 15, 2013 was best spent celebrating Red Nose Day by sitting in front of the television watching Comic Relief – Funny for Money on BBC One. The show was full of comical sketches, musical performances, and celebrity appearances all to help raise money for Comic Relief, an organization working to make the world poverty free. It definitely resulted in a great deal of laughter, which is the point of Red Nose Day, which promotes “having fun and changing lives” as one of its main goals.

Red Nose Day is a day for everyone “to put on their Noses, pull out all the stops, and get fundraising,” according to the official Red Nose Day website. Literally, on Red Nose Day everyone puts on red noses and clowns around, eliciting laughter and donations. Celebrity support of the day came from an array of celebrities – from Rihanna, who donned a Stella McCartney red nose t-shirt, to Ron Burgundy of Anchorman, who performed in one of the comical sketches. And, of course, One Direction, a big supporter of the Comic Relief organization, made an appearance, performing their hit song, and the official Red Nose Day single, One Way or Another (Teenage Kicks). Yet, one celebrity stood above the rest, Jessie J, a panelist for the show The Voice. On live television, Jessie J sacrificed her lustrous black bob in order to boost the amount of money raised, all of which is going to Comic Relief. After shaving her head she said, “It is the weirdest feeling” to have no hair!

The money raised for Comic Relief is going to help support a variety of people and projects in both the United Kingdom and Africa. In the United Kingdom, it will, amongst many other things, help provide shelter to young adults living on the streets and help protect those who have suffered from domestic abuse. In Africa, it will help by providing life-saving treatment for malaria to communities by giving them access to clean and fresh water and much needed vaccines.

Red Nose Day was celebrated throughout the United Kingdom and Africa. As of 6:30pm on Friday night, Red Nose Day had raised over £75 million, setting a new record for the most money raised in the 25 years since the creation of Red Nose Day. The total amount raised, however, has not yet been released.

If you missed the “the star-studded and unmissable Comic Relief- Funny for Money” (Red Nose Day) show on Friday, don’t worry! You can get exclusive clips on iTunes, with all purchases going to support Red Nose Day.

– Angela Hooks

Sources: UK Yahoo, Red Nose Day, BBC
Photo: Red Nose Day