[Editor's Note: Heather Cowan works in the Customer Value Marketing department at SAP and enjoys volunteering during her spare time. Find her on GoVoluntr as VID number 182]
For this blog, I thought it’d be interesting to write about celebrities’ charity and volunteer efforts. I consider myself pretty well informed when it comes to the news and what’s shared on social media sites. I read The New York Times and CNN on a regular basis, watch the news occasionally, and I far too often frequent Facebook and Twitter. However, with this “generalist” view of the news I have rarely come across news about celebrities’ philanthropy efforts.
I find this strange because I know many of the stars give back, whether it’s donating to a cause they’re passionate about, volunteering at a local non-profit, or creating their own charity or foundation. But, to be honest with you, even though I subscribe to People magazine, I am not a celebrity expert. So, I decided to call my sister, Laurren, who keeps up-to-date with the stars. She mentioned a hand-full of names, one of them Kim Kardashian (really?).
When I was having dinner with my boyfriend the other night, I told him that I was a bit nervous about writing this blog because I wasn’t sure if I knew enough about the topic. I said, “I know that celebrities are doing a lot for non-profits and causes they care about, however, I don’t think it’s well publicized.” He agreed. I then said, “I think Matt Damon is doing a lot for charity.” He adamantly responded, “No, George Clooney’s doing a ton for charity!”
In fact, last spring, 27 Jeopardy! celebs raised more than $2.5 million, including $1,050,000 by actor Michael McKean for the International Myeloma Foundation. In September, celebrity-themed Who Wants to Be a Millionaire shows raised nearly $200,000 for Alzheimer’s research.
Stars have raised $1.3 million on Don’t Forget the Lyrics! since its 2007 debut, including $300,000 this season. Rivers and other 5th Grader celebs have pulled in more than $2 million, including $400,000 this season. Today, History Channel’sPawn Stars appear on Millionaire (check local listings) for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Las Vegas.”
The first celebrities who come to mind when I think of philanthropy is Bono, Lance Armstrong, and Angelina Jolie. But, I figured I’d ask my friends their thoughts. They mentioned, “Brad Pitt, Alicia Keys, and Lady Gaga.” So, it’s obvious that celebrities are doing a lot of good work for charity that can help non-profits gain large amounts of exposure and donations. Therefore my suggestion to Hollywood and charities is this: Publicize It More! Most of the work that celebrities do is not known by the general public. If these stories were better publicized, the non-profits would gain more exposure, more people would be willing to volunteer knowing that their favorite celebrity supports those charities, this would increase the amount of donations made to specific causes, and will help to bolster celebrities public image. It’s a win-win scenario for all!