SEATTLE, Washington — As a renowned musician, fashion designer and philanthropist, Rihanna is truly a triple-threat. Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF), founded in 2012, aims to improve quality of life for communities around the world in areas of health, education, arts and culture. Additionally, Rihanna has involved herself in numerous other causes, including her own Believe Foundation and organizations combatting HIV/AIDS.
Last December, Rihanna held her second annual Diamond Ball at Santa Monica’s Barker Hangar and raised more than $3 million for CLF. Rihanna established CLF in honor of her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, who she said inspired her to live a life helping others. Current global programs promoted by CLF include the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados, the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program and the Barbados Micro Grants for Schools Program. Speaking of her humanitarian values, Rihanna stated, “One penny at a time, one donation at a time, one country at a time, one child at a time – we’re going to make a difference.”
CLF has centered its efforts on education. This past May, CLF launched a scholarship to help citizens of Brazil, Barbados, Cuba, Haiti, Grenada, Guyana and Jamaica attend college in the U.S. Selected first-year students received between $5,000 and $50,000. In September, CLF also announced a multi-year partnership with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and international advocacy group Global Citizen. The partnership advocates for the rights of a quarter of a billion children who are not in school today, and an estimated 330 million who are in school but not learning. GPE works with more than 60 developing countries to ensure that every child receives a quality basic education, especially those living in fragile and violent countries.
Rihanna has a history of generously giving back. Over the years, the star has shown immense support to charities fighting AIDS with donations and through designing a clothing line for H&M’s Fashion Against AIDS project, which donates annual proceeds to Designers Against AIDS and YouthAIDS. Furthermore, Rihanna collaborated with MAC for its Viva Glam lipstick campaign, raising more than $60 million to benefit women and children affected by AIDS.
In 2006, Rihanna founded the Believe Foundation to assist, protect and inspire terminally ill children all over the world. The Believe Foundation is committed to creating change in the lives of youth by providing educational, financial, social and medical support, and granting children the tools they need to believe. “When I was young and I would watch television and I would see all the children suffering, I always said when I grow up I want to help. Not long after I was in the position where I could help,” Rihanna told People Magazine. The Believe Foundation has since given aid to those suffering from life-threatening diseases including cancer, leukemia and AIDS.
Rihanna has also been making waves in the world of fashion, and has used this attention to garner further support for her charitable endeavors. In a collaborative project with Puma, Fenty X Puma, Rihanna released a collection of shoes and clothing that gives fans the opportunity to make a difference when shopping. Puma took to Twitter: “Donate to @rihanna’s charity @ClaraLionelFdn in PUMA stores today and we’ll give you a discount on your next purchase.”
Rihanna’s acts through the Clara Lionel Foundation and other causes have shown her dedication to helping people in need. Given her place as a global cultural icon, her efforts to reduce poverty and make a difference in the lives of those struggling will no doubt serve as an example to others.
– Mikaela Frigillana