Actors & Musicians Making A Big Difference

What do Elton John, George Lucas, Bono and George Clooney all have in common? They are all celebrities that use their wealth to help others who are less fortunate in need.

Bono: ONE Campaign

Bono’s ONE Campaign doesn’t just want to feed the hungry and treat disease — this celebrity charity seeks to end extreme poverty and prevent diseases by advocating and lobbying for the world’s most underserved communities. Their work has been monumental thus far, securing more than $37.5 billion in funding for health initiatives in the fight against AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

Pharrell Williams: From One Hand to AnOTHER

Inspired by his travels to underserved communities, Pharrell Williams’ charity — From One Hand to AnOTHER — aims to ensure that every child has the means to success. The charity provides them with educational, creative and social programs at a young age. Since 2008, FOHTA has donated everything from school supplies to Thanksgiving turkeys and provided free summer camp programs — which teach skills ranging from dancing to coding to more than 1,000 students.

George Lucas: George Lucas Educational Foundation

Founded by the “Star Wars” creator in 1991, the George Lucas Educational Foundation has evolved into two distinct branches: Edutopia and Lucas Education Research. The former serves as a thorough online community for sharing effective K-12 education strategies, and the latter actively conducts research to find said strategies and educational models. True to Lucas’ pioneering of science fiction films, the Foundation often emphasizes the integration of technology in education.

George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Don Cheadle: Not On Our Watch

Don Cheadle, George Clooney and Brad Pitt might sound like the lineup for a dramatic blockbuster, but this trio also heads up the 501(c)3 charity, Not On Our Watch. Advocates and researchers alike work together to support global human rights and target efforts toward mass media and policymakers to raise the visibility of humanitarian crises from Darfur to Burma. To join the all-star cast as a supporting actor, you can head to their website and make a donation via credit, debit or PayPal.

Michael J. Fox: Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research

Sometimes the best charities are those with a deeply personal meaning; such is the case with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, an organization inspired by the actor’s long-running battle with the disease. Dubbed “the most credible voice on Parkinson’s research in the world” by The New York Times, the foundation is the biggest nonprofit funding source for Parkinson’s drug development on the planet and has funded $700 million in research programs throughout its history.

Leonardo DiCaprio: The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

If you saw Leo’s viral 2014 speech at the UN Climate Summit, you know he’s passionate about climate change. Established when the award-winning actor was only 24 years old, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation funds and promotes conservation and climate change projects, as well as contributing to indigenous rights. Since 2010, the foundation has awarded more than $80 million in grants to over 200 projects across 50 countries.

Hugh Jackman: Laughing Man Foundation

Triple-threat performer Hugh Jackman is known as a good-natured Aussie, and his aptly named Laughing Man Foundation proves that he truly has a big heart. Laughing Man traces its roots to a friendship Jackman made in Ethiopia when he and his wife tried the coffee farmed by a young man named Dukale. They were inspired to bring Ethiopian beans to New York via the Laughing Man Cafe. The cafe donates all of its profits to promoting progressive education and improved health standards throughout Dukale’s homeland and beyond.

Matt Damon: Water.org

The result of a charitable merger between WaterPartners and the Matt Damon-founded charity, H20 Africa, Water.org has a very direct mission: “Provide as many people as possible with access to clean water.” Among the organization’s efforts to raise awareness for the 1.2 billion people worldwide who lack access to clean water, Damon teamed with the Oscar-winning documentarian, James Moll, to create the charity’s feature documentary.

Elton John: Elton John AIDS Foundation

In his musical career, Elton John is used to topping the charts. Thanks to his charity — which is rated four-stars by Charity Navigator — the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Elton John is a chart-topping philanthropist, also. Since 1992, the organization has raised HIV awareness, supported research-based programs and helped ensure access to quality medical care and treatment, raising more than $385 million for the cause.

Christopher Reeve: Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation

Despite his passing in 2004, Christopher Reeve remains the embodiment of Superman. It’s not just the charm and jet black locks, it’s the giving spirit that led he and his wife, Dana, to found an organization dedicated to discovering cures for spinal cord injury and improving the quality of life for the 1 in 50 Americans affected by paralysis. Their efforts have been consistently heroic, as evident by their $120 million of investments in research labs.

Matthew McConaughey: Just Keep Livin’ Foundation

Matthew McConaughey’s 501(c)3 nonprofit came to fruition just after the production of “Dazed and Confused.” Motivated by his father’s passing, McConaughey and his wife, Camila, dedicated their foundation to simply giving back to their community. J.K. Livin’, as the couple calls it, focuses on providing fitness programs for youngsters from Texas to California, where they use cardio and games to encourage wellness, community service and nutrition.