2009-12-24 / Features

Celebs With A Philanthropic Heart

With celebrity typically comes fame and fortune. Thankfully, many celebrities put their name recognition and fortunes to work by helping others. The following famous names are not only recognizable for their accomplishments in the public eye, but worthy of renown for what they do away from the spotlight, regularly donating their time and money to the less fortunate.

Oprah Winfrey. Known the world over for her charitable efforts, Oprah founded Oprah’s Angel Network(R) to encourage people around the world to make a positive difference in the lives of others. Since its inception, Oprah’s Angel Network has partnered with charities such as Free the Children and raised more than $50 million for charities across the globe. Among the charity’s more notable accomplishments was helping more than 1,000 families get back into their homes after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005.

Paul Newman. Though known for an array of memorable acting roles spanning a career that lasted more than 50 years, perhaps Newman’s greatest role was philanthropist. Before passing away in 2008, Newman founded Newman’s Own, a food company which donated all post-tax profits and royalties to charity. Today, that company is responsible for donations exceeding $250 million. Newman also founded Hole in the Wall Camps in 1988, the world’s largest family of camps for children with serious and life-threatening medical conditions.

Brad Pitt. With his place in supermarket tabloids firmly etched, Brad Pitt has also etched his name among Hollywood’s more charitable celebrities. After visiting post-Katrina New Orleans, Pitt was especially struck by the city’s devastated 9th Ward, which many feel was and remains the heart and soul of New Orleans. Through his Make it Right Foundation, Pitt continues to build new homes for displaced residents of the city. Working with Global Green, Pitt’s goal was not only to rebuild New Orleans, but do so by emphasizing homes that are sustainable and safe.

Elton John. The “Rocket Man” singer known for his garish stage outfits is also widely known as one of the world’s foremost advocates for people living with HIV/AIDS. In 1992, John founded the Elton John AIDS Foundation, which has raised more than $150 million in support of projects around the world. The foundation’s goal is to support innovative HIV prevention programs, efforts to eliminate stigma and discrimination associated with HIV/AIDS, and direct care and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS.

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