Over the Memorial Day weekend, I came across a story about the infamous celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay having to be carried off the field on a stretcher and given oxygen during a charity soccer game. Fortunately, Mr. Ramsay was fine. But he wasn’t the only one to be injured; comedian Will Ferrell also required medical attention. These guys must have really been playing hard…and all in the name of charity! In addition to the Hell’s Kitchen chef and Saturday Night Live comedian, other celebrities such as Mike Myers, Gerard Butler, and Woody Harrelson also turned out to play in the game, raising more than $6.4 million for UNICEF, the amazing organization that has aided millions of children around the world.
It puts a huge smile on my face to hear about celebrities giving back. Let’s face it, more often than not we read about the train wrecks that some celebrities become when they hit it big (“more money, more problems”, so they say); how refreshing is it to hear about celebs using their star power for good? I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite celebrities and the ways they give back. Some may be familiar while others might surprise you. Either way, I hope it inspires you to use your own power to do good!
- Taylor Swift: Her mama and daddy certainly taught her how to prioritize! Ms. Swift is one of the most giving celebrities out there. She has supported Habitat for Humanity, UNICEF, DonateMyDress.org, and the Wounded Warrior Project just to name a few. In fact, Swift has always been a huge supporter of U.S. troops and just recently contacted the family of a Marine killed in action who had been “her biggest fan”. In addition to a sweet message to them, she also asked if she could honor him by wearing his dog tags in her next music video.
- Bono: A rock star in every sense of the word, Bono is widely known for his activism concerning Africa including the ONE Campaign and Red Campaign. Both organizations are focused on awareness, the prevention and combating of the AIDS virus throughout the continent.
- Tim McGraw: Along with wife Faith Hill, Tim stays very busy with his charity work. The couple sent truckloads of relief items to victims of Hurricane Katrina and continued to raise funds for them months later. He is also a supporter of different musicians communities such as MusiCares which helps out musicians and their families in times of need.
- Reese Witherspoon: As an Avon spokeswoman, Ms. Witherspoon has become a global ambassador in the fights against breast cancer and domestic violence. She uses her voice as well as her funds to bring awareness to both issues and encourage others to do the same.
- George Clooney: It’s amazing this handsome fella has time to be a leading man with all of the charitable work he does! He is best known for devoting his time and energy to those suffering unimaginable human rights atrocities and severe poverty in the Darfur region of Sudan.
- Meryl Streep: Not only did she star as one of the most influential women in history when she took on the role of Margaret Thatcher in Iron Lady, but she is the National Spokesperson for the National Women’s History Museum, helping to ensure that the accomplishments of women are properly documented and celebrated.
- Robin Roberts: Having announced her battle with breast cancer live on the air of Good Morning America in 2007, Roberts bravely took on the disease and the role of breast cancer survivor and advocate. Having completed chemo treatments in 2008, she remains staunch proponent of breast cancer awareness and healthy living in general and donates regularly to breast cancer awareness efforts.
- Ellen Degeneres: One of my all-time favorite celebs, this funny lady has a soft spot for kids and animals. She is a regular supporter of The Humane Society as well as The Gentle Barn, a home and hospital for animals that have been abused. She has also lent her time and voice to the It Gets Better project, a campaign aimed at reminding teens in the LGBT community who face bullying that they are not alone.
- Michael J. Fox: Since going public in 1998 with his diagnosis of the disease, Mr. Fox’s name is now synonymous with Parkinson’s Disease. He has tirelessly channeled his energy into The Michael J. Fox Foundation, created to help advance every promising research path to curing the disease.
- Danica Patrick: What a force to be reckoned both on and off the racetrack! As a celebrity ambassador for the Drive4COPD, she encourages others to learn about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in memory of her grandmother who died from emphysema, a form of the disease.
- Michelle Kwan: As graceful as she was during her ice-skating career, the two-time Olympic medalist continues to set a great example for those who look up to her by acting as a spokesperson for The Children’s Miracle Network. Not only does she raise funds for the organization and regularly appear in campaign literature but she also makes hospital visits to children, no doubt leaving them with a lasting memory.
- Andre Agassi: Some people might be content to be considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time but not this guy! Children’s education is his passion and in 1994 Mr. Agassi founded the Andre Agassi Charitable Foundation. In the past 18 years, the Foundation has raised over $117 million for at-risk children in Southern Nevada, enabling them to attain educational opportunities that might have been out of reach to them otherwise.
Did any of these celeb do-gooders surprise you? Let’s keep the list going! Share your favorite celebrities and the ways they give back here and on our Facebook page.