Celebrities, by the definition, are the people we look up to, whether it's our favorite actor who always gives his all in his movies, or a singer who never disappoints with her songs and albums, or maybe it's someone whose jokes we know by heart and still laugh every time. Basically, a celebrity is held to a certain standard—we want to watch them succeed, but at the same time judge them harshly for missteps. Yet there's another side to celebrities as well, the one that comes from their own moral compass. And that's exactly what elevates certain people from others. It can be just decent behavior or a selfless act, or some deeper and more profound help to those in need, but we have compiled a list of A+ behavior from some of the stars.
Keanu Reeves Founded A Cancer Research Program That Helps Children's Hospitals
Keanu Reeves has had his ups and downs career-wise, but fans have always adored him—and for a good reason! Apparently, ever since he hit gold with The Matrix, Reeves has done plenty of commendable things. His philanthropic acts include a creation of a private cancer research foundation that helps children's hospitals. Additionally, ABC News reported back in 2001 that he handed over his valuable profit-sharing points to The Matrix's special-effects and costume-design team because he felt they were the ones who made the movie.
Benedict Cumberbatch Advocates For Equal Pay And Encourages Others To Do The Same
Benedict Cumberbatch, the actor who starred in the fan-favorite Sherlock and Marvel's blockbuster Doctor Strange, is not only a talented individual. He's also dedicated to helping his coworkers—women, to be precise. He advocated for equal pay between men and women, and took a stance of: "If she’s not paid the same as the men, I’m not doing it."
Ricky Gervais Is A Long-Time Supporter Of Animal Rights, Receiving Awards For His Work
Ricky Gervais is well-known for his biting humor, but some might not be aware he is an animal rights supporter as well! Reportedly, he's even prepared to leave his fortune (or at least part of it) to animal charities. He has raised money for various worthy causes helping animals all over the world, and a few years ago even received awards for advocacy for animal rights.
Dolly Parton's Foundation Takes Part In Global Philanthropy
Dolly Parton should be known not only for her music, but for her philanthropy too! The singer founded The Dollywood Foundation, a non-profit organization that includes programs like The Imagination Library, which sends out books to children all over the world to help promote literacy. Her foundation also offers scholarships and financial aid to those in need.
Ashton Kutcher Founded A Non-Profit To Fight Human Trafficking
The well-known actor Ashton Kutcher dedicates time and resources to battle human trafficking. Back in 2012, he and his ex-wife Demi Moore co-founded Thorn, an organization helping to protect vulnerable children from trafficking. The non-profit aims to utilize the resources of technology companies including Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Facebook and Tumblr to assist government agencies in their work to stop online child pornography and human trafficking.
George Michael Quietly Donated To Charities For Years, Even Volunteering His Time
George Michael was the proof that quiet kindness speaks louder than words. He was a long-time supporter of Project Angel Food, a non-profit Los Angeles charity. His donations were kept on the down-low, but after his death, people came out to publicly applaud the singer for donating money and helping thousands of people over the years. Aside from money, Michael volunteered his time for the charity as well!
Emma Watson Became UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador And Spoke Out About Global Issues
Actress Emma Watson is a UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, with plenty of commendable activities under her belt, including the promotion of girls’ education, fair trade and organic clothing. She also traveled to Bangladesh, Zambia, and rural Africa with humanitarian efforts. Watson was also named ambassador of Camfed International. She also started a feminist book club Our Shared Shelf, meant to empower women and encourage reading (unfortunately, the club is currently dormant).
Simpsons Co-Creator Sam Simon Dedicated His Fortune To Animal Charities
Sam Simon was one of the creators of The Simpsons. However, he should be equally known for his charitable causes. He created the Sam Simon Foundation, which aims to train hearing dogs capable of alerting their hearing-impaired owners of various sounds. The charity also helps veterans by providing canine companions to help with their PTSD. After Simon died, he left his fortune to several animal-oriented charities, mainly his own foundation.
Ian Somerhalder Founded An Organization Aiming To Preserve Wildlife
Ian Somerhalder is an actor and environmentalist who invested pretty heavily in saving and protecting wildlife. He created the Ian Somerhalder Foundation with the purpose of advancing science, promoting the conservation of natural resources, and supporting the underprivileged. The foundation supports programs that are aimed towards protecting the environment, and they have special grants that are provided to help animals in need.
Kesha Officiates LGBTQ Weddings As An Ordained Minister
Pop singer Kesha is a firm supporter of the LGBTQ community (being bisexual herself), and it appears she's always prepared to stand up for people's right to create the families they want! The singer is an ordained minister and on two separate occasions officiated weddings for her friends, who happened to be same-sex couples.
Leonardo Dicaprio's Foundation Is Dedicated To Helping The Planet
Leonardo DiCaprio is well-known not only for his iconic roles; he's a very dedicated advocate in the fight against climate change. More than a decade ago, he established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, an organization dedicated to the protection and wellbeing of Earth and its inhabitants. The foundation supports a variety of campaigns and initiatives, it funds six programs dedicated to conservation of the wildlife, and even gives out grants.
UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie Engages In Many Philanthropic Endeavors
American actress and director Angelina Jolie is a dedicated human rights activist. She started her philanthropic endeavors nearly two decades ago, when she was filming in Cambodia. She became invested in the work of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and became their Goodwill Ambassador. She and her then-husband Brad Pitt founded the Maddox Jolie-Pitt foundation, which aims to alleviate rural poverty and protect wildlife in Cambodia. The actress is also involved in many more philanthropic activities.
Oprah Winfrey's Legacy Includes Providing Education To Those In Need
Oprah Winfrey is rightfully considered to be one of the most influential people of this age. She created the Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation in order to help those in need by offering assistance and education. The foundation built the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. The organization also funded education and provided scholarships for students in need. Winfrey spoke about protecting abused children, which resulted in the creation of a registry of child abusers, unofficially titled the “Oprah Bill.”
Nicki Minaj Donated To A Village In India To Help Them Construct Important Amenities
Nicki Minaj actually donated to help a village in India gain important structures and much-needed commodities. She used a middle man to send money to the village and got them a Computer Center, a Tailoring Institute, a Reading Program, and 2 water wells. In addition to helping a far-off village, the singer also assisted some students in the US, covering the costs of some of the courses or paying for books and materials (provided the person could prove they are a straight A student!).
J.K. Rowling Advocates To Reform Childcare Systems
No matter what you might think of J.K. Rowling, her legacy is here to stay—both in the form of the Harry Potter books, and the charity she created, Lumos, an international non-governmental charity with the goal to transform care systems all around the world. According to the charity, many children end up in orphanages because their families face difficulties, so the charity aims to both support family units and, in other cases, provide the children with a suitable family environment that would nurture and offer protection.
Megan Fox Is Raising Her Son To Not Be Afraid To Be Himself, Regardless Of Gender
Actress Megan Fox stated she's raising her son to be able to express himself however he wants, even if it means wearing dresses when he feels like it. She said her son Noah is interested in fashion and sometimes he prefers to wear dresses, for which he was bullied a bit (despite going to an otherwise progressive school), but it didn't deter the boy much. According to both Fox and Noah's father, the boy is young, he's figuring out what he likes, and they see no problem in letting him express himself and have fun with no judgment.