John Legend’s Innovative Humanitarian Efforts 


TACOMA, Washington — Aside from being the first black man to attain the prestigious EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony) award status, John Legend’s accomplishments span far beyond his success in the music industry. John Legend’s humanitarian efforts began after reading Dr. Jeffrey Sachs’ The End of Poverty. This novel exposed the huge financial expense it would require to alleviate global poverty. Feeling inspired to take action, John Legend traveled to Ghana and witnessed firsthand the suffering in African villages. This experience revealed how much work it would require to see real progress in these impoverished communities, and motivated Legend to become involved in the humanitarian work of his own.

The Millennium Promise Alliance

Shortly after his trip, Legend teamed with Dr. Sachs and his work with the Millennium Promise Alliance to advocate for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in these African villages. The entirety of the organization seeks to diminish poverty in rural sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. The Millennium Promise Alliance operates off of a series of initiatives in the hopes of building more progressive and economically sound communities. Some of these initiatives include:

  • Connect To Learn
  • Lead Farmer Program
  • One Million Community Health Workers Campaign
  • Sustainable Villages Program

John Legend’s Show Me Campaign

However, despite his involvement with the Millennium Promise Alliance, Legend still felt the desire to contribute more to the pressing issues of the world. Therefore, in 2007, John created his own organization called the Show Me Campaign. This nonprofit focuses on combating global poverty through education. The Show Me Campaign believes in targeting education as a solution to alleviate generational poverty in vulnerable populations. There is also an immense focus on criminal justice reform and serving as a voice for those who are underrepresented and often taken advantage of in the justice system. The philosophy behind Legend’s organization is the same as that of the Millennium Promise Alliance, which is to attack issues through objective, practical development programs.

The Show Me Campaign provides a pragmatic approach to aid to areas that need it most. Here are some of the services they provide to at-risk communities:

  • Providing mosquito nets to prevent malaria-related deaths
  • Distributing fertilizer to promote crop production in hungry areas
  • Giving free meals to children in school to bolster attendance rates
  • Increasing water accessibility

John Legend’s Global Humanitarian Efforts

Since the beginning of Legend’s work in the humanitarian field, he has continued to expand and flourish as a supporter of various advocacy organizations. More recently, John participated in the “Together At Home” virtual concert series in March 2020. This free event was put together by the Global Citizen and the World Health Organization (WHO) to encourage unity to those in isolation across the world due to COVID-19. During Legend’s hour-long concert through Instagram live, the artist urged his viewers to take preventative action against the global effects of COVID-19 and discussed the need to aid those who are financially struggling as a result of the pandemic.

Currently, John Legend supports numerous mentionable global foundations and causes. Some predominant examples include Aid Still Required, CHIME FOR CHANGE, the Global Fund, International Rescue Committee, UNICEF, War Child and many others. These foundations represent many of the causes Legend adamantly advocates for, including education, human rights, disaster relief, gender inequality, civil rights, AIDS and HIV, refugees and disadvantaged youths. These are all core reasons why John Legend possesses such a strong presence in current humanitarian efforts.

It’s evident that John Legend’s career spans far beyond his impressive accomplishments in the music industry. Not only has he supported various foundations and causes, but he has also taken the initiative to start his own foundation, Show Me Campaign, to maximize his ability to help others across the globe. As both a passionate advocate and musician, Legend uses his platform as a highly publicized figure to advocate for the world’s most pressing issues.

—Hope Shourd
Photo: Wikimedia Commons 


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