SEATTLE — There are many celebrities around the world who use their fame to bring awareness to the plights of the underprivileged and donate their time and money to causes close to their hearts. Kate Winslet, the British Oscar-winning actress, is among this group of philanthropic stars, using her platform to enact positive change. However, Winslet differs from most of her famous peers in that she grew up in poverty. She grew up in a family who could not afford a car or new shoes for their kids, so she knows what is it like to be underprivileged. In her present affluence, Kate Winslet is changing the world through intentional philanthropic work.
A lot of the actress’s efforts go towards fundraising. In 2009, Winslet drew pictures of butterflies for a book sold to benefit the Leukaemia Research foundation. Last year, she partnered with her Titanic co-star, Leonardo DiCaprio, to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for the treatment of a young British mother, Gemma, with ovarian cancer. Gemma has since been pronounced cancer-free, and Winslet continues to check on her via text.
Winslet has advocated for the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Cardboard Citizens and the Elton John AIDS Foundation. She also has a soft spot for animals, and in collaboration with PETA worked on a video to raise awareness about the force-feeding of birds.
Winslet, along with many other celebrities, supports the Afghanistan Relief Organization. This nonprofit organization gathers supplies for families and individuals throughout Afghanistan, focusing on lifting Afghan people out of poverty by providing them the resources to do so. In 2007, Winslet signed an Afghan kite for the Kite Runner Auction, which raised money for the organization.
The actress has also partnered with the Small Steps Project, a charity that brings much-needed materials, such as shoes, to children living in dumps throughout the world. Its purpose to equip children with the materials they need to create a life outside of the dumps and to pursue an education. Winslet donated Yves Saint Laurent pumps to the organization to support its cause.
While Kate Winslet is changing the world through her work with many different organizations and causes, her true passion is autism awareness. Winslet’s passion for autism awareness began after she narrated A Mother’s Courage, a documentary about a mother and her autistic son. In 2010, Winslet founded the Golden Hat Foundation. The foundation purposes to bring awareness to the everyday struggles of individuals with autism, and how everyone else can help them in their education and socialization. It also focuses on ending the stigma surrounding autism and highlighting the amazing abilities autistic people possess.
Last year, Winslet received the Actors Inspiration Award from the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. This award was bestowed to honor her successful acting career and her meaningful philanthropic work. Winslet’s charity outreach has set an impressive example for young actors to follow. From a young girl who wore hand-me-down shoes to one of the most successful actresses in the business, Kate Winslet is changing the world through her service-oriented heart.
– Julia McCartney