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From Oprah to Rihanna, Black Celebrities Like to Give Back: A Look at  Five Black Celebrities Who Use Their Influence to Give Big

Some of the most generous and charitable Black celebrities are known for their philanthropic efforts and for giving back in major ways. They use their impact in Hollywood to positively uplift the lives of others worldwide. Many use their influential voices, platforms and money to support causes dear to their hearts and others through common interests. This list of five top givers covers some of them.

Oprah Winfrey (LEFT) attends Premiere Of Apple TV +’s “Sidney” at Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on September 21, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images) Rihanna (RIGHT) attends Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther 2: Wakanda Forever” Premiere at Dolby Theatre on October 26, 2022 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is one of the most influential persons in the world. She uses her name, influence and face to support some of the largest charities and causes. With an accomplished career and running The Oprah Winfrey Network on her hands, she never forgets to make time for her philanthropic efforts. 

In 2002, the beloved talk show host, with a net worth of a $2.3 billion, launched her historical Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. And since then, her charitable contributions have become bigger and better. By 2007, she gifted the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture with $1 million and an additional $12 million in 2013. 

Some of the organizations Winfrey supports include Feeding America, Rise Against Hunger, Pathways to College and the National Child Protection Act regarding abuse known as the “Oprah Bill.” The Tennessee State University alum also supports fellow HBCU students with funding and resources. In 2019, she pledged to donate $13 million to Morehouse College through the Oprah Winfrey Scholarship Program. This adds to the $12 million donation she made 30 years ago, pushing her investment total to $25 million. 

During the pandemic, Winfrey donated $10 million toward COVID-19 relief efforts and fighting food; $1 million was intended for America’s Food Fund, which works with other hunger relief organizations, as well as food pantries in Texas and a Boys and Girls Club in Mississippi. 

Beyoncé

Houston native Beyoncé has raised millions of dollars for gender equality, homelessness, the Black Lives Matter movement and other causes. Her biggest contributions are made through the charity initiative she launched during the Mrs. Carter World Tour in 2013: BeyGood Foundation. Since launching, the organization has helped millions of people, including supporting those affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. 

The foundation also supported many during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The Grammy winner teamed up with Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey to donate $6 million to provide mental health assistance to ‘communities of color’ and those disproportionately affected by the disease.

In July 2020, she partnered with the NAACP to support over 250 small Black-owned businesses with $10,000 grants. She took a shot at tackling the housing crisis by spending half a million dollars paying rent for families facing eviction at the time.  

A few other notable examples of Bey giving back include humanitarian relief work in Haiti and assisting organizations worldwide to provide communities with basic needs, like food, water, household supplies and COVID-19 testing.

In addition to the release of her Juneteenth single, “Black Parade,” the singer debuted a campaign to promote Black businesses in need. The song benefits BeyGood’s Black Business Impact Fund, which is administered by the National Urban League. She also added a 26-page directory featuring Black-owned businesses on her website, beyonce.com. 

Rihanna

Rihanna also collaborated with Jack Dorsey earlier this year to donate $15 million to climate justice through her Clara Lionel Foundation. It was founded in 2012, and named after her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite. The grant was made in partnership with Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative to support 18 organizations in seven Caribbean nations and the United States such as the Climate Justice Alliance and the Movement for Black Lives.

In 2020, the “Life Me Up” singer’s foundation donated $5 million toward the fight against COVID-19. The funds helped benefit partners such as Direct Relief and The World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Each year, the Fenty Beauty CEO surpasses the previous earnings from her annual Diamond Ball. She raised $1 million for CLF’s first event in 2013, and over $6 million at the 2018 event. The foundation supports education programs in Malawi, Barbados and Senegal, as well as the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program.

LeBron James

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers regularly uses his NBA status to advocate for change and give back to his own community. The Akron, Ohio, native is one of the most charitable athletes in the league. He founded the I Promise School in his hometown to help advance the education of thousands of kids in the city. 

His LeBron James Family Foundation is preparing to build a multi-million- dollar facility, according to Akron Beacon Journal. The community hub will include restaurants and a LeBron museum and offer job training as well as assist residents and families with resources and financial guidance. The foundation partnered with big companies and brands like Old El Paso, J.M. Smucker HomeTown Hall and Dick’s Sporting Goods. JPMorgan Chase will take up a space to educate and help families with financial guidance. 

As reported in USA Today, James donated $2.5 million to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture for a 2016 exhibit about boxing legend Muhammad Ali

James has worked with the Boys and Girls Club of America since his rookie season with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 2010, he reportedly donated $2 million to the organization’s national office in Atlanta. That same year, he announced his “Decision” to join the Miami Heat at an Akron Boys & Girls Club.  The following year, he paid $240,000 to renovate a safe haven called The LeBron James Clubhouse, where he once played as a kid.

Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry has built an empire of his famous “Madea” character, and it has allowed him to help those less fortunate. As someone who once experienced homelessness, the Academy-Award filmmaker strongly supports organizations such as Feeding America, Covenant House, Hosea Feed the Hungry and Project Adventure. Since 2008, he’s donated funds to help the nonprofit Charity: Water, to bring clean water to over 65,000 people across Ethiopia, Haiti, India and six provinces in Cambodia. 

Perry’s most noteworthy contribution went to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 2009, per NPR. His $1 million donation marked the largest individual contribution to the country’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.

The Atlanta native also supports lesser-known individuals, including leaving employees a $21,000 tip at one of his favorite restaurants and covering $434,000 worth of outstanding balances at two different Walmart locations in his residency of Atlanta. Through the Perry Foundation, his continued “aim has been to transform tragedy into triumph by seeding individual potential, supporting communities, and harvesting sustainable change.” 

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