It’s easy to resent celebrities. They live lives few of us can even imagine. They make more money than many of us will make in a lifetime so yes, the resentment kind of makes sense. It’s not fair to paint all celebrities with the same brush though. They’re not all about making money and living the high life. The ten charitable celebrities on this list have earned their places through hard work for the less fortunate or for trying to do what they can to bring awareness and maybe even solutions to serious problems throughout the world. Let’s take a look.
10: Jay-Z and Beyoncé
I was a little surprised to see Jay-Z and Beyoncé at number ten on this list. I’ve heard so much about what they donate to charity and what they do for charitable causes, I guess I just expected them to show up a bit higher on the list. All the same, it’s great to see stars of their caliber giving back. Their number 10 position shouldn’t take anything away from how they’re viewed though as they certainly do a lot. Jay-Z headlined a benefit concert at Carnegie Hall and has established the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation that is dedicated to helping underprivileged students get a good education. He isn’t the only do-gooder in this superstar relationship though. Beyoncé’s Survivor Foundation provides aid to people with AIDS, the homeless and victims of natural disasters. She also has a $5 million housing project in the works in her hometown, Houston, Texas, that will offer 43 permanent housing units.
09: Selena Gomez
I have to admit, I was a little surprised to see Selena on this list at all. She wasn’t the biggest shock on this list but I’d say she’s definitely up there. Now, we all know Selena is a singer, an actress and entrepreneur but do you also know she does work for children’s hospitals across the United States? She’s also hosted charity concerts for UNICEF two years in a row – this year’s raising $200.000 for children in Africa. Those are some pretty charitable actions for a girl Selena’s age. It’s always nice to see a celebrity using their position in the spotlight to bring attention to causes that are important to them – not to mention money – but it’s especially nice to someone that appeals to the younger generation doing good in the world. Maybe that will inspire her fans to do the same.
08: LeBron James
LeBron James has a lot going for him. I don’t think anyone could deny that. That’s why it’s so nice to see LeBron is more than willing to use his position to call attention to BoostUp.org – a charity organization dedicated to encouraging teens who are at risk of not completing high school to stay and get their education as well as providing them with the resources they would need to do that. In addition to that, LeBron helped found the Wheels for Education program which offers school supplies to 300 underprivileged elementary school children along with support in various areas to help them stay in school. In exchange for receiving help from Wheels for Education, the children promise to stay in school until they graduate successfully.
Some of the most charitable celebrities of 2012 surprised me. Others did not. Pink is one of the celebrities that did not surprise me. I can’t really say there are many celebrities I look up to and really respect in any sort of significant way but Pink is different. She’s strong. She’s outspoken. She isn’t afraid to be exactly who she is and I think that makes her a role model worth having. She landed on this list because of her work with PETA and her support of animal rights. She encourages people to do the responsible thing and adopt pets from animal shelters instead of buying from pet stores or breeders. I think that’s an important message. Of course, I don’t always agree with PETA’s methods but I always agree with their message and I think it’s great the organization has someone like Pink speaking up for them. I also think it’s great the animals stuck in shelters across the world while they wait to be adopted have Pink advocating for them.
06: Robin Roberts
I loathe people who decide to jump on a celebrity’s back for getting involved in a charity that has personally effected them. I’ve heard people complain about Michael J. Fox for raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease and Christopher Reeve raising awareness for spinal cord injuries. It’s ridiculous. We often don’t truly understand the devastating impact a disease or injury can have on a person unless we actually experience it either directly or through a member of our family. A few comments I read about Robin’s inclusion on this list on other websites criticized her the same way. The fact is, by promoting bethematch.org, an organization dedicated to awareness about bone marrow donation, via ads, a radio PSA and a 30 second spot on Good Morning America, Robin was able to bring the organization to the attention of millions of people. After the ads ran, more than 44,000 people joined the registry.
05: Justin Bieber
I know people like to give The Biebs a hard time but let’s take a moment or two to put all that aside and focus on something good – his charity work. Through his Believe Charity Drive, Biebs raised $1, 192, 004.00 for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, City of Hope, the Grammy Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Project Medishare for Haiti, Pencils of Promise and Musicians on Call. He also donated a portion of the sales from his Christmas album, Under the Mistletoe to the same organizations. That’s beyond his visits to children with cancer, his $100,000 donation to organizations that help kids on the street go to school and his collaborative work with Pencils of Promise, an organization that dedicates itself to building schools in poverty stricken countries. Pretty hard to find anything to hate on Justin for there.
04: Lady Gaga
I wasn’t surprised to see Pink make the list of the most charitable celebrities for 2012 and was even less surprised to see Lady Gaga on it as well. I’m a big Gaga fan to begin with and am an even bigger fan of the charitable work she does. This isn’t a woman that talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. Gaga founded the Born this Way Foundation – a foundation that works to combat bullying, promote self confidence and promote acceptance in all forms. Of course there is a lot of focus on the LGBT community but it goes beyond that. The message is loving yourself, accepting yourself and loving others for who they are. That’s a pretty positive message. The foundation was started thanks to Gaga’s very generous $1.2 million personal donation. She’s also designed wristbands to raise money for various causes and for victims of natural disasters around the world, selling them through her website and donating all of the money to the charity. Then, of course, there was the $1 million she donated to the Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.
03: Channing Tatum
I wasn’t surprises to see Pink and Lady Gaga on this list. I was, however, quite surprised (and thrilled) to see Channing Tatum not only made the list but made it to the number three position. He’s not only raised millions of dollars for the Rain Forest Foundation but together, he and his wife, Jenna Dewan, are supporters of Angels for Animals and the organization that supports farm animals that have been abandoned, abused or neglected, Gentle Barn.
02: Miley Cyrus
I suppose this would be considered surprising if you don’t know a whole lot about Miley Cyrus. I’m not the biggest fan of her work in a professional sense but I am a big fan of her charity work. Miley does a lot of good work for Saving Spot Rescue – one of my personal favorite charities. Saving Spot Rescue is a non-profit organization that rescues animals from high kill shelters (shelters that are over filled and sadly have to put down many of their animals because they don’t have the funds to care for them and are unable to find homes for them) and finds permanent homes for them. She also supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Save the Music Foundation and Starkey Hearing Foundation and took part in TOM’s One Day Without Shoes Challenge. She might catch a lot of flack for some of the decisions she makes in her personal life but she should also be recognized for all the good she does as well.
01: Taylor Swift
When dosomething.org came up with its list of the most charitable celebrities of 2012, I was expecting Taylor to rank somewhere on the list but I didn’t expect her to make it all the way to number one. This is a young lady that really does use her position in the spotlight to bring attention to and raise money for some very important causes. Beyond donating $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame to help pay for its $75 million expansion project, she’s also spent a significant amount of time visiting with children who have cancer. About that donation though – the sizable gesture has ensured Taylor her own wing at the facility which has been named the “Taylor Swift Education Center”. This part of the facility will include exhibitions geared toward children and classrooms where children will be able to learn more about music. Taylor’s generosity earned her the Ripple of Hope award from the Robert F. Kennedy Center, a very prestigious award Taylor is the youngest person ever to receive. She’s certainly an inspiration to any other young celebrities out there looking to give something back.