5 Charitable Celebrities Who Inspire

The surprising stars who make our A-list for giving.

October 2016

Whether you’re looking for unexpected giving ideas or are just interested in popular culture, these philanthropic celebrities just might surprise you. Many celebs are actively involved in charities, but here are five whose generosity inspires us most.

Taylor Swift

Country darling turned pop megastar Taylor Swift is known for surprise gestures to her fans, like popping in on bridal showers, visiting hospitalized patients and sending “Swiftmas” holiday gifts. But these random acts of kindness pale in comparison to her frequent philanthropic donations. Consider, for example, these gifts supporting her adopted home of Nashville: She gave $100,000 to support the Nashville Symphony, she pledged half a million dollars to a Nashville television station’s Tennessee flood relief telethon, and she donated 14,000 books to the Nashville Public Library.

Elton John

After losing close friends to the AIDS epidemic, Sir Elton John decided he needed to act. The Elton John AIDS Foundation has an ambitious mission: to end the AIDS epidemic by relying on education to prevent infection, and to provide access to treatment for those in need. As a testament to its success, Charity Navigator has ranked it four stars, the highest rating available.

Matthew McConaughey

Known for his free-spirited attitude and low-key lifestyle, Matthew McConaughey says his motto is “Just keep livin’.” And that’s just what he and his wife Camila McConaughey named their charity. The Just Keep Livin Foundation helps high school students lead active lives and make healthy choices, with a focus on physical fitness, mind/body wellness, nutrition and community service.

Denzel Washington

Silver screen A-lister Denzel Washington’s extraordinary generosity has impacted countless children and families. Washington supported the Steve & Marjorie Harvey Foundation—which provides outreach to fatherless youth—with a whopping $1 million charitable donation. He has served as the Boys and Girls Club of America spokesperson for more than 20 years, helping the organization with its goal of enabling America’s youth to reach their potential. And he made one of the largest donations ever to the Fisher House Foundation, which helps house military and veterans’ families while their loved ones receive treatment.

Lady Gaga

Along with her mother, pop princess Lady Gaga founded the Born This Way Foundation with the mission of empowering young people to create a kinder, braver world. Named after Gaga’s chart-topping hit, the organization promotes acceptance and individuality, campaigns against bullying and homophobia, and believes all people should embrace their true identity.