SEATTLE — Considering all of the controversies that can surround celebrities and the media today, it is refreshing to see celebrities who are willing to help those who are less fortunate. From clean water programs to aiding refugee children, these are some charities started by celebrities worth recognizing.
The Chris & Vicky Cornell Foundation
In 2012, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, along with his wife Vicky, founded the Chris & Vicky Cornell Foundation. Chris and Vicky started out helping homeless and unattended children in the Seattle area. The Chris & Vicky Cornell Foundation was established to help refugee children in Greece who had recently fled genocide in Armenia. After visiting the refugee camps, the Cornells started the foundation to aid defenseless children by providing education, shelter and resources for the most vulnerable. In 2017, the Cornell family went to visit the Eleonas refugee camp, where they met with many Syrian families who faced horrific circumstances before fleeing to Greece. Before his untimely death in 2017, Chris was asked to record the theme song and video for the movie The Promise, a film that follows two Armenian lovers in the midst of genocide.
Not On Our Watch
Not On Our Watch is a charity and foundation initiated in 2008 to help aid vulnerable countries in the human rights movement. Not On Our Watch is one of the many charities started by celebrities and involves actors Don Cheadle, George Clooney, Matt Damon and Brad Pitt, along with producer Jerry Weintraub and U.N. Ambassador of the United States David Pressman. The Not On Our Watch website explains that they “develop projects and campaigns that bring global attention to forgotten international crises.” The foundation’s main areas of interest include the deterioration of Darfur, Sudan, which started in 2003, taking more than 300,000 lives and forcing 2.5 million people to leave their homes, and Myanmar, which has seen atrocities such as violence against women, forced labor and executions. Not On Our Watch urges governing leaders to action to help protect victims of war crimes and mass poverty.
H2O Africa Foundation (water.org)
Actor Matt Damon collaborated with the H2O Africa Foundation in 2009 to start the water.org website, one of the many charities started by celebrities. This foundation was put in place to provide people with access to clean water and sanitation by offering small, affordable loans in some of the poorest countries and villages around the world. When people are able to acquire clean water easily and affordably, it creates more time for them to work or get an education, which can allow them to provide a better life overall for themselves and their families. The H2O Africa foundation works in countries such as Ethiopia, India and Honduras, ensuring that children and families no longer need to spend hours a day searching for clean, drinkable water. By providing clean water, economic structures will be improved, helping thousands emerge from poverty and into a more stable way of life.
Bono, lead singer of the Irish rock band U2, helped start and co-founded the ONE Campaign in 2002 to help fight extreme poverty and disease. The foundation concentrates mostly on Africa and believes the fight against poverty is “about justice and equality” rather than charity. The ONE Campaign lobbies political leaders and runs campaigns to fight diseases such as AIDS, battle government corruption, provide aid and resources to farmers, and broaden energy access. The ONE Campaign has put in place certain goals that they wish to meet in the coming years, including Peace and Justice, No Poverty, Education, Gender Equality and Clean Water and Sanitation. The foundation also has its RED division, which partners with famous brands such as Coca-Cola, GAP, Apple and Starbucks. Their RED campaign concentrates on fighting AIDS by providing HIV-positive mothers the necessary medication to help prevent them from passing the disease along to their children.
The Barefoot Foundation
Colombian singer and artist Shakira started The Barefoot Foundation in 1997 to provide Colombian children with accessible public education and educational programs. The project aids in building educational facilities, provides creative teaching strategies, psychological care and community development. The Barefoot Foundation administers “life tools”, such as personal growth and development, allowing children to find their strengths and talents. For children in vulnerable situations, this foundation grants opportunities to help them learn and grow, despite their current situation or the economic hardships their families may be facing. The foundation has also gifted children with the chance to explore art, music and sports, along with nutritional access such as multivitamins and accompanying families whose children are underweight or malnourished.
Chime for Change
Co-founded by clothing brand Gucci, singer Beyonce and actress Salma Hayek, Chime for Change is an organization that focuses on empowering women and girls around the world who may not have the same opportunities as their male counterparts. The foundation finds unique ways to raise funding for women to provide easier access to healthcare, educational opportunities and justice to ensure equal rights. Their support and fundraising techniques include concerts, documentaries and providing technological advancement solutions. In April 2016, Salma Hayek and the Chime for the Children Syrian campaign coordinated with UNICEF to provide 123,740 child refugees with safe accommodations, school supplies and psychological support. Beyonce, whose name is on many charities started by celebrities, also partnered with UNICEF to provide safe and clean water for children in Burundi.
Every time a celebrity starts a new foundation, a charity or holds an event to raise awareness of the unfair injustices in the world, they are using their power and fame for the greater good. Each time a person supports charities started by celebrities or gives to their foundations, they are aiding in the fight against poverty and unequal rights, while providing a world of promise to those who are struggling to survive.
– Rebecca Lee