EWING, New Jersey — Here is part two of our series on celebrities making a difference.
6. Oprah Winfrey
Former queen of daytime television with her 25-year-long eponymous talk show “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and owner of her own TV network titled OWN, Oprah Winfrey has had what can only be described as an incredibly successful career. Winfrey has used that career and the proceeds from it to help countless people across the world.
Recognizing her massive popularity, influence and the importance of education in alleviating global poverty worldwide, Oprah has used her fame to promote and introduce a number of international aid organizations to the American public.
In 1998, Oprah created the Angel Network, a public charity that ran until 2010. During its 12-year tenure, the charity raised over $60 million for projects that combated poverty and provided educational opportunities across the globe, helping to create 60 schools in 13 countries.
Stemming from a pledge made in 2000 during a visit to South Africa with Nelson Mandela, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Foundation was established. Through this foundation, Winfrey has contributed more than $40 million to create the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, which opened in South Africa in 2007. This state of the art academy serves grades 7 through 12, providing educational opportunities for South African girls.
Named “most influential celebrity” of both 2012 and 2013 by Forbes magazine, it is clear that Oprah, throughout her life and television career, has used her influence for good, promoting educational opportunities for women and children across the world.
7. Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton, 42nd President of the United States, has engaged himself in a remarkable number of charities and altruistic endeavors since completing his presidency.
One of Clinton’s most important contributions to the fight against global poverty is The William J. Clinton Foundation. Set up after he left office, this organization helps fund a variety of humanitarian missions, with the goal of promoting both educational opportunities and economic growth worldwide.
The Clinton Foundation is also deeply involved in Haiti, helping support job creation and economic growth in this island nation.
With numerous subdivisions, one notable initiative of the foundation is the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which helps reduce the cost of treatment for those with HIV/AIDS, and helps implement large-scale prevention and treatment programs.
Today, this initiative helps 8.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS receive access to treatment.
Another important facet of the foundation is the Clinton Development Initiative, which helps foster economic growth in poorer nations. Currently, the initiative is working to stimulate economic growth in several African nations by helping smallholder farmers in Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania. This initiative helps the farmers purchase seed and fertilizer, and increases their access to bank loans.
Furthermore, the organization’s president in 2005 established the Clinton Global Initiative, a non-partisan initiative that is dedicated to finding practical, realistic solutions for international problems like global public health, hunger, poverty and other global issues.
Clearly, Clinton has continued to be a highly influential individual, who through multiple initiatives, is a vital ally in the fight against global poverty.
8. Annie Lennox
As a Scottish singer and songwriter who was the frontrunner for the Eurhythmics, Annie Lennox is an incredibly generous and hardworking philanthropist, dedicated to changing the world for the better.
She has engaged in charity work with organizations like Amnesty International, Green Peace, UNICEF, UNAIDS, Women For Women International and Nelson Mandela’s 46664 Foundation.
In 2008, Lennox received a British Red Cross Services for Humanity Work. She is particularly known for her efforts to raise awareness of the growth and continued existence of HIV/AIDS in Africa.
In 2007, Lennox released a single titled “Sing,” which featured a choir consisting of numerous female celebrities, including Pink and Madonna. All proceeds from this single went to the Treatment Action Campaign, or TAC.
TAC is an organization that helps combat AIDS across the African continent.
9. Serena Williams
Tennis star Serena Williams is fighting international poverty with her aid to numerous charitable organizations.
The current number one in women’s tennis and winner of 17 Grand Slam titles, Serena Williams is also a UNICEF ambassador. Through this position, Williams raises awareness for humanitarian causes worldwide, and in 2010, announced UNICEF’s “Schools For Asia” campaign to educate over 26 million children.
The Serena Williams Foundation also recognizes the importance of education in fighting poverty. The foundation provides aid for students around the world through scholarships and grants, in an effort to get more children to college.
In 2008, Serena Williams opened The Serena Williams Secondary School in the Makueni District, southeast of Nairobi, Kenya.
10. Jackie Chan
An action movie star, Jackie Chan has been prolific with his support of numerous charities across the years. Currently a UNICEF and UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador, Chan has helped thousands of charities. In 2010, Chan helped raise $29 million for drought relief in China, donated over $700,000 to help victims of the earthquake in Haiti and got $ 5.2 million in donations for the Singapore Thong Chai Medical Institution.
In 1988, Chan created the Jackie Chan Charitable Foundation to help those struggling in Hong Kong. Through this foundation, he has built several secondary schools, medical centers and youth development programs in the area.
In 2004, Chan created the Dragon’s Heart Foundation to help poor children and the elderly in remote areas of China. The foundation provides schools for the young and aid for the elderly and handicapped. In 2011, Jackie Chan also created a European branch of his foundation, in an effort to help not only those in China, but in Europe as well.
– Albert Cavallaro