People love celebrities and everything about them. Celebrity gossip and Hollywood news industries earn well over $3 billion per year. Because of their extremely high profile lives and widespread public appeal, having celebrities show support for charitable causes increases the public awareness of the charity by incredible amounts. Most celebs use their influence and wealth to donate to charities.
- Will Smith, one of the highest paid actors in the film industry, gave over $1 million to various charities in 2007 alone. He and his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, also founded a private elementary school named the New Village Leadership Academy in 2008. The couple also founded the Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation to help under-privileged children and families in inner-city areas.
- Tyra Banks is one of the most famous celebrity models today in entertainment. She was the host of America’s Next Top Model for the entirety of the show’s 12 year run. She is also the first African American to be featured on the covers of Victoria’s Secret, Sports Illustrated, and GQ, with the latter two both being in the same year. She also founded her own charity called “TZONE” that helps develop leadership and life skills.
- Jay Z is one of the most recognized celebrity names in entertainment news. In 2009, he released his 11th album to reach number 1 on the Billboard 200, which broke the record previously held by Elvis Presley. He has used his fame and wealth to raise awareness for several socioeconomic issues, such as combating global water shortages. He, along with fellow hip-hop recording artist Diddy, also pledged $1 million to the American Red Cross for relief after Hurricane Katrina.
- Oprah Winfrey is known for her philanthropic work almost more than her television show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. Oprah ranked on the list of Top 50 Most Generous Americans in 2004 and remained on the list until 2010. By the year 2012, Oprah had donated about $400 million to educational charities and causes. She also founded Oprah’s Angel Network, a charity that supports other charities and nonprofit organizations. Before it closed down in 2010, Oprah’s Angel Network had raised over $80,000,000. Oprah also personally covered all of the charity’s administrative costs, which allowed 100% of the profits to be donated.