8 of Our Favorite Philanthropic Female Celebrities
The SI stunner and husband John Legend took care of Black Lives Matter protestors last week by making sure they were well fed. The couple hired food trucks to hand out free food to protestors in NYC. They also scored $100,000 for Somaly Mam Foundation, which battles sex trafficking, when one of their billionaire wedding guests offered it as a wedding present for their nuptials earlier this year.
We love a queen who uses her powers for good—in this case, the power to spur trending hashtags overnight. Beyoncé has helped make strides for feminists with songs-turned-social-media-movements like #IfIWereABoy. Plus, her charity #BeyGood helped kick off some lucky kids’ 2014 school year by handing out supplies at underfunded school districts. To top it off, she somehow manages to maintain the whole selfless intention of giving—the pop star reportedly donated more than $7 million to a Houston charity that helps the homeless without the public knowing much about it.
Named the most charitable celebrity of the year in 2012 and 2013, T. Swift upheld her reputation again this year. One of her cutest acts? She donated 6,000 books to a library in her home state of Pennsylvania, and another 14,000 children’s books to the Nashville public library, ensuring there would be no "blank spaces" on those shelves. (In another charitable move this year, Swift taught us all how shake it off the negativity—check out 9 Celebs Speak Out About Their Haters.)
Rihanna is all about using her name for good: A few years ago, she bottled her own tap water for a sweepstakes benefiting the UNICEF Tap Project, and, this year, she auctioned off a cell phone she cracked on eBay—the $66,500 it won was donated to the LAPD. 2014 also marked the first Diamond Ball for her charity, the Clara Lionel Foundation. Named in honor of her grandparents, the foundation works to improve health, education, arts, and culture in communities across the world.
As if her love of fitness and cute sneakers weren’t enough to make us adore her, Goulding plans to spend Christmas Day serving food at a homeless shelter. Oh, and she shared the selfless news after raising thousands at a charity gig to fight homelessness in London—just one of many concerts she’s performed over the years where the proceeds go to charity instead of her own wallet.
In real life, she doesn’t fix scandals, but she has spent 2014 trying to help women come forward about them. The Emmy-nominated actress starred in the White House's "It’s On Us" PSA about sexual abuse, and designed her own handbag for the Purple Purse Program to raise awareness of domestic violence and financial abuse. No wonder she landed herself on TIME’s annual “Most Influential People of the World” list for 2014. (Don't miss these 6 Powerful Women Speak Out About Domestic Violence.)
None of us forget that killer “gender equality is your issue too” speech she delivered at the U.N. any time soon. Besides launching the viral #HeForShe movement, the star also regularly asks her fans to donate to UNICEF on her behalf instead of sending birthday or holiday cards. Her philanthropic footprint is so big that she was invited to a charity dinner with Prince William and other celebs involved with the largest cancer center in Europe, The Royal Marsden. Oh, and because she’s just plain adorable, she also designed an Paddington Bear to be auctioned this month—all proceeds will go to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
No list would be complete without the queen of celebrity philanthropists, Angelina Jolie. Just this holiday season, she donated an undisclosed sum to British news outlet The Independent’s Christmas campaign to help homeless veterans rehabilitate their lives. And she used her celebrity presence for good, too. The $5 million that magazines paid for her coveted wedding photos? She donated it all to her charity, the Maddox Jolie Pitt Foundation, which supports different humanitarian projects around the world.