One of the universal rules for celebrities is that once you reach a certain level of fame, you have to get involved with some sort of charitable work. This is never a bad thing—it’s always nice when people with tremendous amounts of disposable income put it toward something of real value. But sometimes, stars get involved with charities that feel a bit more than obligatory—they’re backed by money, expertise and, seemingly, a true passion for the cause.
Here’s a breakdown of a few of our favorites:
After John Legend read Jeffrey Sachs’ The End of Poverty, he was motivated to start the Show Me Campaign, which offers practical relief—such as mosquito nets, local water points and health care clinics—to impoverished countries.
Founded by Don Cheadle (with assistance from George Clooney, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt, David Pressman, and Jerry Weintraub), Not On Our Watch gives a voice to victims of global atrocities, providing humanitarian aid to the displaced and marginalized.
Wahlberg spent a lot of his youth in inner city youth clubs and now, he’s done an admirable job of providing that same opportunity for other kids from the inner city all over America. His foundation organizes youth camps, provides scholarships to at-risk teenagers and donates millions of dollars to schools in low income areas.
Without putting too fine a point on it, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are some of the world’s most charitable people. The foundation they started in 2006 has donated millions of dollars to war-torn countries.