It’s always great to see celebrities giving back by volunteering their time and efforts to help those less fortunate and these stars who’ve gone above and beyond have received humanitarian awards for their philanthropic efforts.
Despite the constant rap beefs, Twitter wars and fights at the club, The Game has a huge heart. The California rapper recently won the 2014 Humanitarian of the Year award at the 25th Annual Talk of the Town Black Tie Gala. He earned the honor thanks to his efforts with his charitable organization, the Robin Hood Project. “It all started when I gave one kid from Africa $20,” he wrote. “That created @therobinhoodproject and since then I’ve given away over a million dollars of my own money hand to hand and through charitable organizations. I am honored and more than appreciative of #ABC for this Humanitarian of The Year award. I was just a poor kid from Compton….Never thought in a million years I’d have even an extra dollar to giveaway let alone a million. #Humbled.”
Oprah Winfrey amassed a significant amount of money throughout her career and she has donated millions of it to charities and organizations, including her own, like The Angel Network, The Oprah Winfrey Foundation, the Oprah Winfrey Operating Foundation, and The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. In 2011, the talk show maven received an honorary Oscar for her outstanding humanitarian work. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award is given periodically for those who show exemplary philanthropic efforts and Winfrey earned one for her dedication to supporting educational initiatives and raising awareness of issues that affect women and children in the U.S. and across the globe.
When she’s not making movies, Angelina Jolie spends her time helping people all over the world. In 2001 Jolie was named a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and since then she’s has been on numerous field missions around the world meeting with refugees in more than 20 countries. The “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” star has also become more involved on the political scene, meeting with legislators and speaking out on humanitarian causes. Jolie has been honored with several awards for her humanitarian efforts, including the Global Humanitarian Award by the United Nations for her work with UNHCR and refugees.
Halle Berry grew up in an unstable household so she has a special place in her heart for women and children who are stuck in a similar situation. The Oscar-winning actress spends countless hours volunteering at the Jennesse Center, a domestic violence shelter in Los Angeles. Last year, Berry received the 2013 BET Humanitarian Award. During her acceptance speech she read a heart-warming letter from a little girl at the Jennesse Center, which highlighted how vital shelter are to those who truly need them.
It didn’t take long for Alicia Keys to get involved with charity work. A couple years after she emerged onto the music scene, Keys founded Keep A Child Alive, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing life-saving anti-retroviral treatment to children and their families with HIV/AIDS in Africa. She is also aboard member of Frum Tha Ground Up, a non-profit organization devoted to inspiring and motivating America’s youth. And when she’s not doing that, Keys spends time with Teens in Motion, a grassroots organization in the South Bronx that provides a safe environment for teens to excel in the arts. For all of her efforts, the married R&B singer was the recipient of the BET Humanitarian Award in 2009.
Sean Penn is probably known for his political and social activism just as much he’s known for his movies. Who can forget the images of the “Milk” star on a boat rescuing survivors immediately following Hurricane Katrina? Shortly after the Haiti earthquake in 2010, Penn established the J/P Haitian Relief organization, and has been helping relief efforts there ever since. Penn received the 2012 Peace Summit Award for his ongoing humanitarian work in Haiti at the 12th World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates.
Rocker Bono made it his life’s mission to help those less fortunate. The U2 frontman has worked tirelessly in the fight against poverty, hunger and promoting international debt relief. He has met with several world leaders, including former president George W. Bush, discussing foreign aid and poverty issues. Bono took it one step further and helped create the ONE Campaign, Debt AIDS Trade Africa (DATA), (RED) and EDUN, an organic clothing company with the mission to drive sustainable employment in developing countries. It’s no wonder Bono has three Nobel Peace Prize nominations and an honorary knighthood for his humanitarian efforts.
Steve Harvey makes millions of people laugh everyday but his humanitarian work is no laughing matter. The comedian strongly believes the youth is our future and his Disney’s Dreamers Academy and the Steve Harvey Mentoring Program for Young Men prove it. In 2011, BET recognized all of the work that he does to instill hope and discipline in the next generation with a Humanitarian Award.
Susan Sarandon has been a mainstay in Hollywood for more than four decades and she has been involved in activism for nearly as long. The Academy-Award winning actress has divided up her time by serving as an ambassador for UNICEF, on the board of advisors for the Yele Haiti Foundation, and on the Advisory Committee for FilmAid International. She also has served on the Amazon Conservation Team advisory board. In honor of World Food Day in 2006, Sarandon was Action Against Hunger’s award recipient at the Restaurants Against Hunger Campaign Gala. She was also honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship.
For much of his career, Harry Belafonte has used his celebrity status to help in the fight for racial equality and social justice. He was one Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s confidants and provided financial assistance for his family. The famed singer has also fought for global issues and was named a Goodwill Ambassador in 1987 and has traveled Senegal and Rwanda. In 2001, Belafonte went to South Africa as part of a campaign against HIV/AIDS. Several years later he received the BET Humanitarian Award. Earlier this year he was honored with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his dedication to shedding light on racism and inequality worldwide.
Music saved Common’s life and he has spent much of career paying it forward. The Grammy-winning rapper has traveled the country visiting colleges to do his part to empower and shape minds. Back in 2000, the Chicago rapper founded the Common Ground Foundation whose mission is dedicated to the empowerment and development of disadvantaged and disenfranchised youth. For his tireless work, Common was presented with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education.
Michael Buble has won numerous awards including a couple Grammys and a multitude of Juno Awards. But he’s also received an award for the work he’s done outside of a studio booth or away from a stage. He frequently donates his own money to numerous charities including Habitat for Humanity and STOMP Out Bullying. Earlier this year the Canadian singer received the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for his philanthropic efforts.