Celebrities wield influence well beyond their chosen career paths.
They realize they can have a positive, lasting impact on the world.
This Valentine’s Day, let’s take a look at the causes a few of these
influential people love:
Bill and Melinda Gates
According to the “Forbes 2017 Billionaires List,” Bill Gates, with a net worth of $85 billion, is the richest person in
the world. However, his contribution to the world goes beyond the Microsoft
empire that has brought him incredible wealth.
Gates and his wife, Melinda, created
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization champions equity for everyone in the world.
describes its mission:
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive
lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and
giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme
poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all
people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the
opportunities they need to succeed in school and life.
Along with the billions their organization has donated, Bill and Melinda
Gates co-founded the Giving Pledge with fellow billionaire Warren Buffett;
it asks the world’s wealthiest people to donate substantial portions of
their wealth to charity.
In August 2017,
The Gates Foundation, which Gates formed with his wife, Melinda, is the
world’s largest private charity; it has distributed more than $40 billion
in grants to date and supports organizations in over 100 countries. The
to eradicate polio globally in the next three years.
Bill and Melinda Gates, along with Warren Buffett, are cofounders of the
Giving Pledge, an initiative that challenges billionaires to commit more
than half of their wealth to charity that now boasts 170 signatories.
Michelle Obama, the former first lady, has used her fame as a platform for
Her philanthropic endeavors in education led her to launch Let Girls Learn, an organization
created by Michelle and Barack Obama that has helped
raise awareness and funding for girls around the world to receive proper education.
The organization’s website
shares its mission:
Recognizing that adolescent girls face multiple challenges in pursuing an
education, Let Girls Learn is employing a holistic approach to change the
perception of the value of girls at the individual, community and
institutional levels; foster an enabling environment for adolescent girls’
education; and engage and equip girls to make life decisions and important
contributions to society. Building on U.S. government expertise, Let Girls
Learn elevates existing programs and invests in new efforts to expand
educational opportunities for girls—including in areas of conflict and
crisis. The initiative leverages public-private partnerships and challenges
others to commit resources to improve the lives of adolescent girls
worldwide. It also expands collaborations with experts and places
particular emphasis on community-led solutions to help adolescent girls
complete their education.
During her time in the White House, Michelle Obama also teamed up with the
Partnership for a Healthier America to launch Let’s Move,
which is aimed at lowering childhood obesity rates.
Ellen DeGeneres’ fame as the host of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” has made
her one of the most popular stars on television. The dancing talk-show host
is known for her upbeat personality, but her show is also praised for
donating to charities and those in need.
Aside from her show’s contributions, Ellen has numerous personal ventures
in charitable ventures.
Among many causes that she supports, as a strong advocate for animal
rights, Ellen and her wife, Portia de Rossi, have pledged support for the
Best Friends Animal Society. The organization’s mission is “To bring about a time when there are No
More Homeless Pets.”
Her selfie tweet from the 2014 Academy Awards was the most retweeted image
ever at the time and helped earn a $3 million donation to charity:
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) March 3, 2014
Because it was a Samsung phone, the tech giant vowed to donate one dollar
according to TechCrunch. The tweet garnered almost 3 million retweets at the time and Samsung
donated $1.5 million dollars to two charities of DeGeneres’ choosing: St.
Jude’s and the Humane Society of the United States.
DeGeneres is also a strong advocate for the LGBTQ community. In 2016, she
received the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of
Freedom. In his speech, President Barack Obama lauded her contributions to
the LGBTQ community.
a portion of Obama’s speech:
“It’s easy to forget now, when we’ve come so far, where now marriage is
equal under the law, just how much courage was required for Ellen to come
out on the most public of stages almost 20 years ago. Just how important it
was not just for the LGBT community, but for all us to see somebody so full
of kindness and light—somebody we liked so much, somebody who could be our
neighbor or our colleague or our sister—challenge our own assumptions,
remind us that we have more in common than we realize, push our country in
the direction of justice. What an incredible burden it was to bear, to risk
your career like that. People don’t do that very often.”
Here is the full video of Obama’s speech and DeGeneres’ emotional
acceptance of the award:
Chance the Rapper
Grammy-winner Chance the Rapper not only is passionate about the music he
makes, but he also loves Chicago and wants to help the city’s youth
succeed. The Chicago native co-founded SocialWorks, a charity
aimed at empowering youth in the communities. Its approach is “To inspire
creativity, to build dreams, to let you be, you.”
many charitable donations and partnerships, the organization recently donated $2.2 million to Chicago Public Schools,
with nearly half coming from his own pocket.
A CNN piece
reported on Chance’s announcement of his individual donation:
“Today, I’m proud to announce that I am donating $1 million to CPS to
support arts and enrichment programming,” Chance said in the news
conference at Westcott Elementary School on the South Side of Chicago.
On Sept. 1, the Chicago Tribune reported
on the multi-million-dollar donation the rapper and his nonprofit
Four days before
Chicago Public Schools
opens classroom doors,
Chance the Rapper
made a theatrical appearance to announce that the $2.2 million raised by
his nonprofit organization will be doled out to 20 schools for arts
“Quality education for public schools is the most important investment a
community can make,” the 24-year-old Grammy-winning musician and
philanthropist told a boisterous crowd in the Harold Washington Cultural
Center’s auditorium Friday afternoon.
Of course, these are only a few of the charitable ventures that influential
people love. There are plenty of other powerful people making a difference
in the world. Whom would you add to the list and why, PR Daily
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