20 celebrities who have started their own charities (2023)

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Jillian Selzer


20 celebrities who have started their own charities (1)

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With great power comes great responsibility, and somecelebrities of the world seem to get that. Not all celebrities drop their hefty paychecks on clothes, mansions, and other indulgent goodies several use their platforms and net worth for good.

Here are 20 celebrities who pay it forward with their own foundations.

Miley Cyrus dedicates herself to helping homeless and LGBTQ+ youth.

20 celebrities who have started their own charities (2)

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Cyrus's Happy Hippie foundation works to support and provide resources to young people who are homeless and/or identify as LGBTQ+.

According to the foundation's official website, program areas include "prevention, crisis response to meet basic immediate needs, support services to build long-term well-being, and public education to engage young people globally in systemic change through fundraising and awareness campaigns."

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Kanye West created a foundation after the passing of his mother.

20 celebrities who have started their own charities (3)


While ABC reported that the foundation has faced some rocky moments as of late, Kanye West originally founded Donda's House with friend and rapper Che "Rhymewest" Smith in Chicago in 2007 to support aspiring artists and entrepreneurs in the area. Entertainment Tonight reported thatWest and Smith had a very public falling outthat caused Smith to go so far as to change the name of the foundation.

It's still up and running, however, under the name Art of Culture, Inc.

Women in Hollywood came together to establish Time’s Up.

20 celebrities who have started their own charities (4)

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Following the allegations of sexual abuse and harassment by Hollywood Executive Harvey Weinstein and the #MeToo hashtag, a group of women in the industry, including Gloria Steinem, Mindy Kaling, Meryl Streep, and Oprah Winfrey created Time's Up and the Time's Up Legal Defense Fund to provide protection and support for women affected by harassment, abuse, and inequality in the workplace.

Since its inception, the organization has taken on over 200 lawyers who have volunteered to represent women who may not be able to afford legal defense themselves.

Matthew McConaughey encourages high school students to stay active and healthy.

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Getty Images/Ethan Miller

Matthew McConaughey encourages high school students to stay active and healthy McConaughey and his wife Camila established The Just Keep Livin Foundation as a way to encourage high school students to engage in healthy and helpful behaviors. The foundation focuses on four aspects: fitness, nutrition, service, and wellness to teach kids to take care of themselves and others.

Michelle Obama helps young girls receive the education they deserve.

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Obama established the Let Girls Learn initiative in 2015 while her family occupied the White House. The organization unites several government institutions like the Peace Corps and the Department of the State to pinpoint the obstacles that stop girls around the world from receiving the education they deserve, then it provides resources to close that gap, including public education programs.

Eva Longoria actively supports her community.

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The Eva Longoria Foundation was created by the actress in 2011 to support latinas and provide support and resources so the community is able to reach its full potential through educational and entrepreneurial initiatives. Her work includes mentorship programs, STEM extracurricular activities, and parental support as the main action points.

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Matt Damon aims to provide clean water to impoverished communities.

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Actor Matt Damon co-founded Water.org in 2009 after merging his former foundation, the H20 Africa Foundation, with co-founder Gary White’s to create Water.org. Damon’s foundation hopes to eliminate poverty by creating clean water for disadvantaged communities all over the world, including Brazil, Uganda, Indonesia, and 10 other countries. So far, Water.org has helped provide clean water to over 12 million people.

Ashton Kutcher works to end child sex trafficking and pornography.

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Kutcher and ex-wife Demi Moore’s foundation Thorn works with the government, law enforcement, and other foundations to end child sex trafficking by building technology to stop the spread of illegal materials and activity. He even gave an emotional speech in front of the Senate last year to provide suggestions on how the government can incorporate technology to do just that.

Prince William and Prince Harry support a number of causes under their namesake.

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Princes William and Harry created The Royal Foundation in 2009, and brought in Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle as official Principal Patrons. The foundation focuses on a number of causes on behalf of the Royal Family, including mental health awareness, conservation of natural resources, and support for the Armed Forces.

Leonardo DiCaprio wants to conserve the planet.

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Leo may be one of the most accomplished actors of our generation, but he’s also one of the most charitable celebrities out there. His namesake foundation, The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, focuses on wildlife and oceanic conservation and climate change.

George Clooney advocates for international communities impacted by war.

20 celebrities who have started their own charities (12)

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Clooney’s Not On Our Watch foundation focuses on the human rights of international communities, shining a light on the struggles of those negatively impacted by war. The foundation calls on the governments of Darfur, Zimbabwe, and Burma to provide aid to their people and serves as advocates for underrepresented people. Board members include fellow celebrities like Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, and Don Cheadle.

Emma Watson encourages people who identify as men to be feminists.

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The “Harry Potter” actress doesn’t only identify as a feminist, she’s taken an active role in spreading her message by partnering with UN Women to create her foundation HeForShe works with UN Women. The organization works to include everyone in the conversation — including people who identify as men — encouraging people to participate in the conversation, take action, and educate themselves about women’s rights and equality.

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Mariska Hargitay supports survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.

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Taking inspiration from her role as Olivia Benson on "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," Hargitay’s charity The Joyful Heart Foundation supports survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse. One of the organization’s major accomplishments involved Hargitay speaking to Congress to enact rape kit reform and eliminate case backlog.

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith give disadvantaged youth opportunities in entertainment.

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The actors are responsible for The Will and Jada Pinkett Smith Family Foundation which provides networking, mentoring, and professional development to young people who are interested in pursuing careers in the entertainment industry and have previously provided free screenings of movies to students and grants to universities like NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts to support female creators.

Oprah Winfrey has created more than one successful foundation.

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British Vogue/YouTube

The journalist has served as the leader and creator of three major foundations: The Angel Network (which stopped receiving donations in 2010), The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation. One of her most revered projects is The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation, created in 2007 under the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, which kicked off with the opening of a school in South Africa for impoverished girls, enrolling students in the academy from eighth to twelfth grade.

Michael J. Fox turned his struggle with Parkinson’s Disease into an inspiring cause.

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"Back to the Future" star Michael J. Fox was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 1991 at just 29 years old and created his foundation, The Michael J. Fox Foundation, nine years later in 2000. The foundation focuses therapy development for those living with Parkinson’s and extensive research to eventually find a cure for the disease.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt support their son’s home country.

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In 2002, Jolie visited an orphanage in the provincial town of Battambang, Cambodia. She told Vanity Fair, that she felt no immediate connections to any of the children until she sawMaddoxlying in a box suspended from the ceiling.“I cried and cried,” she told the magazine. She adopted Maddox and a year later started what would becomeThe Maddox Jolie Pitt Foundation.Brad Pitt adopted him in 2006 and Maddox took a hyphenated name.

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The foundation focuses on supporting their son’s home country, including efforts to conserve both the forests and wildlife, as well as eliminating rural poverty by providing basic health and education necessities.

Karlie Kloss teaches young women how to code

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Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Fashion modeling isn’t Karlie Kloss’s only job. She also plays an active role in her foundation Kode with Klossy, which encourages young women to learn to code by providing them with the resources, like classes and scholarships. Kloss created the foundation in 2015 after she began taking her own coding courses and realized women make up just a small portion of the tech industry.

Pharrell Williams helps kids reach their full potential through education.

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Kevin Winter/Getty Images

The singer and producer launchedFrom One Hand to AnOTHER (FOHTA) in 2008 with school supply giveaways and it has quickly grown into a flourishing organization that involves school programs and summer camps for children with FOHTA’s own curriculum that involves areas of study including the arts, technology, and mathematics.

Lady Gaga supports the well-being of young people.

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Taken from the name of her hit song and album, Lady Gaga’s organization, The Born This Way Foundation, supports young people by providing them a support system and resources for any struggles they may be facing, including bullying and mental health issues, as well as promoting kindness and tolerance.

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Who is the most charitable celebrity? ›

10 Biggest Celebrity Philanthropists
  • Elton John. The famous singer and composer has been known for his philanthropic efforts since 1986. ...
  • Oprah Winfrey. Oprah is a beloved TV star, to say the least. ...
  • Taylor Swift. ...
  • Barbra Streisand. ...
  • George & Amal Clooney. ...
  • Angelina Jolie. ...
  • Miley Cyrus. ...
  • Chrissy Teigen & John Legend.
6 Sept 2022

Who owns the biggest charity in the world? ›

Wealthiest foundations by endowment value
RankOrganisationEndowment in home currency
1Novo Nordisk Foundation1004 billion kr.
2Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
3Wellcome Trust£36.2 billion
4Stichting INGKA Foundation€34.3 billion
41 more rows

Does Taylor Swift donate money? ›

Taylor Swift is known for being one of the most charitable artists in pop, and her generosity expands at the same rate her discography does! Taylor Swift has been subtly donating money and offering a helping hand to her fans throughout her whole career.

Does Kylie Jenner donate any money? ›

Since beginning her partnership with Smile Train in October 2016, Kylie has donated almost a half a million dollars to provide new smiles to over 1,800 children born with clefts.

Does Justin Bieber give to charity? ›

Justin has been granting wishes since the beginning of his career. He was named one of the most honorary supporters of the Make-A-Wish foundation. He has granted a total of 260 wishes, with hopes to raise that number even higher in the future.

Who is famous for helping the poor? ›

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation work contributed to global health, emergency relief, education, fighting poverty and inequality around the world. For their commendable contribution to philanthropic works, Bill and Melinda were known as 2nd most generous philanthropists in America in 2007.

How much does Kim Kardashian donate? ›

Kim Kardashian reportedly donates 10% of her earnings to charities each year.

Does Elon Musk give to charity? ›

So far, the biggest beneficiary of Elon Musk's $5.7 billion gift to charity may be: Elon Musk. If a mega-billionaire donates 2.4% of his fortune to charity but no charity gets any money, does it actually count as philanthropy?

Which religion gives most to charity? ›

Mormons are the most generous Americans, both by participation level and by size of gifts. Evangelical Christians are next.

Who is the most generous person in history? ›

1: Andrew Carnegie: (Estimated after adjustment $75-297.8 billion out of a total Net Worth of $298.3 billion) Carnegie is one of history's richest men. He died nearly a century ago. However, Carnegie is still the biggest philanthropist of all time.

What does Angelina Jolie do for charity? ›

In 2003, Jolie founded the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation—a conservation group that works to preserve Cambodia's environment and endangered wildlife. The foundation also aims to alleviate extreme rural poverty in Cambodia, and instituted a landmine clearance program.

Is Emma Watson a feminist? ›

Since her UN appointment in 2014, the best way to describe Watson's relationship with feminism is to say that she has made it an intrinsic building block of her public identity; the interview in Vanity Fair is just one of many in which she's held forth on women's rights while demurring on questions about her personal ...

How much has Emma Watson donated to charity? ›

Emma Watson

In 2018, she gave an estimated $1.4 million to the U.K. Justice and Equality Fund, an anti-sexual harassment campaign.

Which actor gives most to charity? ›

Jerry Seinfeld has donated more than $2 million to the Seinfeld Family Foundation that works to support education, health, children's services, Jewish organizations and the arts. Along with his wife, Jessica, he also formed the organization GOOD+, which has a mission to end family poverty.

Who gives to charity the most? ›

People are generally more philanthropic toward the end of their lives, when they tend to have more savings, time, and motivation to help others. (Giving peaks at ages 61-75, when 77 percent of households donate, compared to just over 60 percent among households headed by someone 26-45 years old.)

Who is the most charitable athlete? ›

John Cena

This wrestler, rapper, and movie star is one of the most charitable athletes in the world. His Make-A-Wish foundation is one of the most popular charity organizations. This foundation grants the wishes of children with terminal illnesses like cancer.

Who has donated the most to charity? ›

The Americans who gave the most to charity in 2021
RankDonor or donorsAmount in millions
1Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates$15,000 $15,000
2Michael Bloomberg$1,660 $1,660
3William Ackman and Neri Oxman$1,200 $1,200
4Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan$1,049 $1,049
6 more rows
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