Jackie Chan, Performing All His Own Stunts for Philanthropy


SEATTLE — Hong Kong’s hero and one of the world’s most celebrated actors, Jackie Chan was recently honored at the 2016 Oscars with the Honorary Governor’s Award, for 50 years of heroic achievements in films. Chan, known as the hardest-working film star for his relentlessness and courage, was also named philanthropy’s hardest-working man by Forbes magazine in recognition of his stunts for philanthropy.

Chan is a talented martial artist and a legendary stuntman who has fallen countless times, but always rises to do what he loves. Some examples of his stunts are sliding down a skyscraper without a harness or net, crawling on burning coal and jumping from a plane into an air balloon. He has broken essentially every bone in his body and sustained significant injuries including a head injury requiring emergency brain surgery in 1986.

When not acting and performing stunts, Chan is working hard to alleviate poverty and empower people through his stunts for philanthropy. Chan’s interest in philanthropy was initiated after his near fatal head injury about 30 years ago. The experience kindled a desire to do more for his country and the world.

The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) together appointed Chan as their Goodwill Ambassador in 2004. As a U.N. Ambassador, Chan vigorously campaigned to support susceptible populations facing life-threatening dangers of war or experiencing HIV/AIDS discrimination and raised awareness regarding AIDS and avian influenza. Additionally, he is an eager supporter of hundreds of charities including Operation Smile, Salvation Army, Red Cross and One Foundation.

Unable to receive an education during his childhood due to his family’s desperate conditions of poverty, Chan is particularly devoted to providing opportunities for education to vulnerable children. The Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation founded in 1988 provides medical and other aid to people affected by natural disasters and disease in addition to sponsoring the youth in Hong Kong through investments in healthcare, education and other youth development activities. Chan also inspires and motivates vulnerable youth struggling with poverty and violence to practice martial arts lessons of unity and peace.

The Jackie Chan Dragon Heart Foundation, which launched in 2004, focuses on helping poor children and the elderly. Intricately involved in the foundation’s missions, Chan often personally delivers warm clothes, wheelchairs and school supplies to those in need. The foundation is empowering kids living in extreme poverty by building schools in remote parts of China. The Dragon Heart Foundation is supported by Chan’s pet project, Build a School for a Dollar. By donating as little as a dollar, Chan is enabling budding philanthropists across the globe to experience the joy of giving and spreading the message. Chan matches every dollar received, doubling the impact of every donation. Since its inception, the Dragon Heart Foundation has built more than 24 schools. Chan’s stunts for philanthropy are not limited to China. The foundation is also empowering neglected youth with education and sports and supporting the elderly deprived of social support in Europe and Africa.

Chan spends a large amount of his time personally helping people stuck in unfavorable circumstances and is always eager to assist relief efforts during natural disasters. He donated more than $700,000 to support victims of the Haiti earthquake and mobilized people to raise $36 million in 2010 to help disadvantaged people everywhere from Singapore to Haiti. Following the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in China, Chan contributed more than $1.3 million towards relief efforts in addition to rebuilding the destroyed schools.

In 2006, Chan founded the Jackie Chan Civil Aviation Foundation to support training programs for student pilots and airline staff and in 2004, he partnered with Albert Yeung and donated CNY 12 million to establish the China Social Work Association. One of his greatest stunts for philanthropy is his pledge to give all his wealth to charity upon his death.

Chan is a hard-working philanthropist who does not just donate money but is physically and emotionally invested in humanitarian endeavors. He spends most of his time being personally engaged in charity missions, supporting causes by hosting concerts or fundraising events and campaigning on behalf of UNICEF and UNAIDS. Chan dreams of helping people in his sleep and talks of the genuine happiness it brings him. A renowned star, famous for his dangerous stunts in movies, Chan is a real life hero positively impacting countless lives with his own stunts for philanthropy.

Preeti Yadav

Photo: Flickr


About Author

Preeti Yadav

Preeti writes for The Borgen Project from Portland, OR. She has a Master’s degree in Biomedical Engineering and has worked as a biomedical engineer for 6 years. Preeti recently transitioned out of this role to pursue her passion for writing and utilize her skills towards affecting positive change. Preeti's dream is to live in a bamboo cottage on a beautiful beach in Asia with her husband, pursue local humanitarian work and continue writing.

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