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3 Amazing Celebrity-Founded Nonprofits To Donate To

By Amanda Clark-Rudolph|April 21, 2021
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What’s ahead:

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation
What is the impact of your dollar on celebrity-funded nonprofit organizations?
The Bottom Line

Wondering which nonprofit you should donate to based on causes you care about? 

You’re not alone! According to Giving USA, the average American already contributes 2.1% of their income to charities. In 2019, Americans gave $449.64 billion to charitable causes.

So, how do you find the best nonprofits to donate to based on causes you care about?

Recent studies found that around one-third of consumers throughout Europe and the United States reported purchasing a product or service because of a social media post by an influencer. 

So, why not turn to celebrity nonprofits?

As a movie buff with a charitable heart, I admit celebrity nonprofit organizations are my go-to. 

But with 1.5 million registered nonprofits in the U.S, which one do we choose to give to? Where will we get the most bang for our buck when it comes down to donations?”

That’s why we rolled up our sleeves and gathered all the information for you.

Here are a few reasons why I prefer donating to celebrity-endorsed charity campaigns:

  1. Celebrities are in the limelight. Any bad tactics result in a PR nightmare. Because of this, I’m more likely to hear about any negative publicity surrounding the charity.
  2. Celebrities come with a face and a story. Many started their foundations because they’re passionate about a particular cause. 
  3. Celebrities have the connections and money to propel their message forward. In fact, a recent study done by Rutgers University suggests philanthropic celebrities help spread public awareness of charitable organizations. 
  4. Celebrity giving also influences credibility related to nonprofit organizations. As the Rutgers study also states: “We find that celebrities also offer a credibility signal to donors, which is especially important for nonprofit organizations.”
  5. Plus, according to the Harvard Business Review, “Savvy donors recognize when and how a nonprofit needs to grow and can assist in that process.” (I’d categorize celebrities as savvy donors any day.)

So, if you’re seeking the best nonprofit to donate to based on a cause you’re passionate about, these 5 celebrity-founded nonprofits will get you started. 

And stick around at the end, where we’ll answer the question: What is the impact of your dollar on celebrity nonprofit organizations? (+ more facts and resources to guide your giving)

What’s ahead:

  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
  • The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
  • Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation
  • What is the impact of your dollar on celebrity nonprofit organizations? 
  • The Bottom Line

3 great celebrity nonprofits to donate to

1. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

“The world faces a clear choice. If we invest relatively modest amounts, many more poor farmers will be able to feed their families. If we don’t, one in seven people will continue living needlessly on the edge of starvation.” Bill Gates 

Celebrity Nonprofit Snapshot

Focus: Poverty, hunger, health, equality, and more

Funding: “According to the foundation’s website, “Our foundation has spent $53.8 billion since 2000.” Read the annual report here.

Founded: 2000

Notable impact: 

As its website boldly states, “We are a nonprofit fighting poverty, disease, and inequity around the world.”

Active for over 20 years, this nonprofit tackles inequities in the world by collaborating with the government, businesses, and other nonprofits. 

The couple started the foundation after reading an article about how millions of children in poorer countries die of common diseases. 

New parents at the time, the Gates wanted to help change this, and since 2000, the foundation has spent a whopping $53.8 billion

The organization’s website also reports the Gates’ have even transferred 20 billion of Microsoft stock to their foundation fund!

Learn how to donate the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, click donate here. If  you want to learn how to get up to $150 in donation matching from Spiral, click here.

2. The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation

“Clean air, water, and a livable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics; it is a question of our own survival.” Leonardo DiCaprio

Celebrity Nonprofit Snapshot

Focus: Climate resistance, restoring wildlife, indigenous rights

Total revenue: $6,300,967 (2019)

Founded: 1998

Notable impact: 

  • Completed over 200 projects.
  • Supported 132 different organizations.
  • Contributed over 100 million in grants to projects worldwide.
  • Corroborated with the Sheth Sangreal Foundation covers operational costs, so 100 percent of additional funding goes to the Alliance’s programs.
  • Download foundation reports here.

With a tagline of “Dedicated to the protection and well-being of all Earth’s Inhabitants, the Leonardo Dicaprio Foundation, founded in 1998, supports protecting wildlife, restoring ecosystems, and building climate resilience.

Now part of the Earth Alliance, which addresses climate change, the organization’s grant program encompasses 6 total areas: 

  • Marine life and oceans, 
  • Wildlife and landscapes
  • Climate change
  • Media, science, and technology, 
  • Environment Now California Program
  • Indigenous rights

As of now, it has funded 20 projects, supported 132 organizations, and awarded 100 million in grants!

Click on DiCaprio’s celebrity-founded nonprofit site to donate. If you want to learn how to get up to $150 in donation matching from Spiral, click here

3. Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation

“We don’t have to be victims. If we share our stories and stick together, we’re stronger.” Lady Gaga

Celebrity Nonprofit Snapshot

Focus: Youth empowerment, Mental health, LGBTQ support, and resources.

Revenue: $1,118,229 (2018)

Founded: 2012

Notable impact: 

  • The foundation’s Kindness Community research surveyed over 3,000 youth on 
  • Hit 30 cities and reached 40k people on the Channel Kindness Tour, which featured community gatherings and youth-led events.
  • In conjunction with the National Council for Behavioral Health, influenced training for over 9k teens to help struggling teens.

You probably know Gaga from her unique wardrobe (meat dresses, anyone?) and belting out hit songs like “Bad Romance”, but did you know she runs the highly recognized Born This Way Foundation?

Founded in 2012 by Gaga and her mom, Cynthia Germanotta, the Born this Way Foundation focuses on providing mental health resources and offering services that empower today’s youth. 

An organization based on the tenets of moving toward bravery, acceptance, love, and kindness, Gaga’s website clearly states that “One of the bravest things you can do is ask for support.”

In addition to providing self-care tips, engaging campaigns, and nationally-recognized youth programs, the foundation provides valuable resources to the following:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline/1 800-273-8255
  • TrevorLifeline/Call: 866-488-7386 / Text: “START” to 678678
  • Crisis Text Line/US: Text HOME to 741741 / Canada: Text 686868

The foundation is also known for its LGBTQIA, PTSD, domestic abuse resources, and more. Since its 2012 launch, the Born This Way Foundation organization has also trained over 250 youth reporters to cover “heroic acts of kindness.” 

Among other programs, the Born This Way Foundation works with the BTWF in Las Vegas organization that promotes well-being for youth in the area by providing research and donating items (5,000 and counting) to local youth nonprofits.

Find out more about the Born This Way Foundation here. If you want to learn how to get up to $150 in donation matching from Spiral, click here

What is the impact of your dollar on celebrity-funded nonprofit organizations? 

When considering giving to a celebrity-founded nonprofit, keep these 5 pointers in mind.

  1. Check its website and partners to see where your cash will go.
  1. Conduct a charity search. Online charity searches like ProPublica quickly pull up many celebrity-funded nonprofits and provide you with revenue and more.
  1. According to the Stanford Social Innovation Review, many nonprofits diversify their funds, and looking at our list of celebrity-endorsed charity campaigns, this proves true. So, make sure you’re passionate about all the collaborating organizations and causes within your celebrity-funded nonprofit since your cash could go towards any one of them.
  1. Lastly, pay attention to the nonprofit’s numbers. Through research and using unbiased navigation tools like Charity Navigator, you’ll gain a better insight into the impact of your dollar.

The Bottom Line

Celebrity-founded nonprofits are great options for charitable givers. They provide a face and passion for a cause that may resonate with your own values. 

Furthermore, celebrity-endorsed charity campaigns provide a public platform that increases visibility and donors. 

As Jan Friedlander Svendsen, chief marketing officer for Charity Network, told Charity Village, “Everyone has different reasons to be part of something. Most celebrities realize they have a voice; they can make an impact and want to do so for social good.”

So, what are you waiting for? Start giving to one (or all) of these celebrity charitable organizations  today.

Amanda Clark-Rudolph
Amanda Clark-Rudolph is a freelance writer and owner of Write on Freelancing who has contributed to numerous magazines and blogs. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from Southern Methodist University and a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Vermont. Born in Vermont, she now resides in Ocala, FL, with her husband, sons, and cat, Hemingway. You'll most likely find her playing with her kiddos or sipping a latte while writing her next article. You can follow her on Twitter @WFreealncing, Facebook, Medium, and Newsbreak.

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