SEATTLE — Many millennials would probably want to spend their birthdays partying with friends and celebrating themselves. Eschewing this tradition, now-21-year-old Hollywood star Zendaya donated to charity consistently for her 18th, 19th and 20th birthdays.
Zendaya’s first altruistic birthday effort, on her 18th birthday, was to host a fundraiser to feed more than 100 malnourished children in Haiti, Tanzania and the Philippines in alliance with the organization feedONE, an initiative of the Convoy of Hope.
“Too many kids will go back to school hungry this year, but we can do something about that,” Zendaya said to the Convoy of Hope. “My generation has the opportunity to change the world. With Convoy of Hope, I’ve raised my voice and am using it to give people hope.”
Launched in 1994, faith-based philanthropic relief organization Convoy of Hope aids those who lack the resources for food around the world. FeedONE now provides food to more than 160,000 children in 11 countries and encourages assistance from high-profile celebrities such as Zendaya to help feed the thousands of children living in hunger.
Zendaya has been an advocate for Convoy of Hope since the Hurricane Sandy disaster in 2012. Putting her talents to use, she covered John Legend’s “All of Me” in support of the relief, with proceeds going to Convoy of Hope.
For her 19th birthday, Zendaya held a fundraiser with CrowdRise after a visit to South Africa with the UNAIDS Foundation, where she had the opportunity to meet a family of three boys. After seeing their living conditions and hearing that the boys’ parents died from AIDS, Zendaya launched the fundraiser.
CrowdRise is an emerging online program created solely for charitable fundraising. The program has been used by charities and companies as well as artists and athletes who have used their status to influence and raise money in support of positive social missions.
For her 20th birthday, Zendaya once again teamed up with Convoy of Hope to host a campaign and raise $50,000 in support of its Women’s Empowerment Initiative. “I want to help raise money for women who are impoverished,” Zendaya said to her supporters. “This program helps them take care of themselves and their families, breaking the cycle of poverty.”
The fundraiser aided women living in El Salvador, Tanzania, Kenya, the Philippines and Nicaragua. “We are so grateful for Zendaya’s heart to help women in need,” said Hal Donaldson, co-founder and president of Convoy of Hope. “She is enabling us to bring strength and dignity to people throughout the world.”
— Jalil Perry