Lindsay Lohan is in rehab. Justin Bieber was photographed with drugs. Farrah Abraham made a sex tape.
But those aren’t the shocking celebrity news stories we are interested in. The intense media focus on gossip and bad behavior perpetuates the stigma that celebrities are nothing more than irresponsible, spoiled snobs. Here we write about the celebrities who actively choose to use their money, status and influence to improve the world, rather than just increase their twitter followers or fund their latest bender.
Bono, the lead singer of U2 founded DATA in 2002. DATA is an organization that advocates for the eradication of extreme poverty and AIDS in Africa. DATA has since merged with ONE, continuing to fight extreme poverty.
Bill Gates and wife Melinda Gates regularly make financial donations to Africa. The couple founded The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which addresses everything from developing new technology to eradicating malaria.
Angelina Jolie has been an active UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador since 2001. In 2007, she was recipient of the Freedom Award by the International Rescue Committee in recognition of her humanitarian work.
Brad Pitt is one of the co-founders of Not On Our Watch, an organization focused on directing global attention and resources toward the prevention of mass atrocities. With his partner Angelina Jolie, Pitt also co-founded the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, an organization that makes significant financial contributions to a number of humanitarian efforts in Africa.
George Clooney has been a UN Messenger of Peace since 2008, promoting UN peacekeeping efforts around the world. Clooney co-founded Not On Our Watch with Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, David Pressman, and Jerry Weintraub. He also served as executive producer for “Sand and Sorrow”, a documentary following human rights activists visiting refugee camps along the Chad-Sudan border.
Matt Damon, one of the co-founders of Not On Our Watch, has dedicated much of his time and money to humanitarian efforts. His foundation Water.org has brought clean water to over 300,000 families.
Ben Affleck founded the Eastern Congo Initiative, an organization focused on promoting social and economic development in eastern Congo.
Naomi Watts has been a United Nation’s program for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Goodwill Ambassador since 2006, raising awareness of AIDS related issues and the needs of those living with HIV.
Charlize Theron is a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on eliminating violence against women. She founded the Charlize Theron Outreach Project to improve life for impoverished families in South Africa.
Edward Norton became a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Biodiversity in 2010. He is the President of the Board of the Maasai Wilderness Conservation Trust, an organization dedicated to conserving ecosystems in East Africa by nurturing sustainable, natural-resource based revenues.
These humanitarians recognize the power of their celebrity, and are using that power to foster a healthy global community. Whether it’s through their own financial donations, physical involvement in a humanitarian mission, or by using their influence to call others to action, they are making a significant impact on the world.
We believe more media publicity on celebrities doing inspiring humanitarian work would cause other celebs to follow suit. This may increase the awareness and involvement of the celebrities’ fans.
– Dana Johnson
Sources: About, UNAIDS, Not On Our Watch, UNAIDS, UN
Photo: Walls For PC