To be a celebrity these days means more than just being a singer or actor and collecting a hefty check. Being a celebrity also means being a public figure, and that title comes with a powerful platform. Luckily for us, many stars are using their platforms for good and not just for their own personal, self-promoting benefit. These 10 celebrities aren’t just doing their everyday jobs, they’re also impacting the culture in a positive way.
Chance the Rapper
Chance should change his name to Chance the Philanthropist with all of the work outside of rapping he is doing. Chance has made it his mission to provide better for our school systems and our children. As a father himself, the 25-year-old artist created his own youth empowerment charity called SocialWorks aimed to teach and empower the youth of Chicago. Just last year it was announced that SocialWorks raised over $2 million dollars that was given to 20 Chicago public schools.
You may know him from Grey’s Anatomy, but Jesse Williams is a changemaker for the culture. Williams has always made it clear his thoughts on race relations. From his activism, protests, or his spot on the board of directors of the Advancement Project, Williams aims to not only bring awareness to injustices and the Black experience, but also work towards creating change.
Rihanna is not only our favorite bad gal, singer and entrepreneur, but she is also a philanthropist. Her Clara Lionel Foundation, named in honor of her grandparents, aims to fight for the basic rights of all children, with an emphasis on those in impoverished communities. With this foundation, she focuses on working towards gaining equal rights in health care, education and ultimately having a positive impact on a global scale.
Serena Williams continues to break records as an athlete, but her philanthropic efforts are even more impactful. With her Serena Williams Foundation, the tennis star has two main goals: she wants to fight for equity in education and to help those who are affected by senseless violence. Through this organization, Williams feels she can have the most success.
More than an NBA All-Star and league MVP, Russell Westbrook actively aims to improve the lives of children. His Why Not? Foundation aims to inspire children to believe in themselves and empowers them to fight to accomplish their dreams.
Sheryl Lee Ralph
To us she’ll always be Moesha Mitchell’s stepmother, Dee, but Sheryl Lee Ralph is also a Tony award-winning singer/actress behind The DIVA Foundation, created in honor of the friends she lost to HIV/AIDS. This foundation encourages men and women to be fully aware of their health risks and also brings awareness to what the virus is truly all about.
Emmy, Oscar and Tony award-winner Viola Davis has added brand ambassador to her already impressive resume. She has joined forces with the charity Hunger Is to help fight child hunger. Over the last three years, Hunger Is has raised over $18 million, awarded over 270 grants to local programs throughout the country and has served more than 6.4 million breakfasts to families in need. Davis is proud to be an ambassador because she grew up poor and struggled with hunger as a child, a story she has shared using her platform.
Usher launched his own foundation entitled Usher’s New Look after witnessing a juvenile court hearing back in 1999. What he realized was that these young adults all lacked education, mentoring and opportunities. These struggles birthed his organization, which aims to help disadvantaged children.
Steve and Marjorie Harvey
The couple, who collectively share seven children, created The Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation. It aims to provide mentoring, educational programs and global service initiatives in the hopes of developing a generation of future leaders.
One of the most powerful and influential women in the world, Oprah Winfrey is known for many things. While she’s had success as a talk show host, entrepreneur, producer and author, just to name a few of her many accomplishments, her philanthropic efforts might just take the cake. Winfrey donated $12 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, $1 million to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, awarded 400 scholarships to Morehouse college students, and even built The Oprah Winfrey’s Leadership Academy in South Africa over 10 years ago.