By Samantha Rosen
When they are not walking the red carpet, many celebrities choose to put their money where their mouths are to help those in need. The likes of Angelina Jolie, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Leonardo DiCaprio have either created their own nonprofit organizations or endorsed other charitable organizations. In addition to these big names, charities in D.C. are doing their part as well.
“The great thing about being a public figure is that their fame can help them raise more than just money,” sophomore elementary education major Claudia Romeo said. “These celebrities can use their voices and connections to raise awareness about and, in certain instances, minimize stigmas created about certain issues.”
One of the most generous celebrities is Angelina Jolie, who helped create the Jolie-Pitt Foundation, which is dedicated to eradicating extreme rural poverty, protecting natural resources and conserving wildlife. She first became aware of worldwide humanitarian crises while filming Tomb Raider in Cambodia in 2000 and has since devoted most of her time and resources to protecting refugees and resolving refugee problems.
Rihanna also created her own nonprofit, the Clara Lionel Foundation, which funds projects that improve quality of life for communities worldwide. Last December, Rihanna held her second annual Diamond Ball event to fundraise for this charity. The foundation recently announced its newest global scholarship program for college students.
“Without role models like these celebrities, a lot of causes wouldn’t get as much attention as they currently do,” sophomore animal science major Hannah Frydman said. “Celebrities encourage their fans to give to those less fortunate and as a result make a huge impact.”
While these celebrities and others work to give back, local charities around Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia area are giving back as well. Over the next few months there are many opportunities for individuals to get involved and make a difference.
On Dec. 3, The Manor Dupont will be hosting their annual event Madison & Mistletoe. This year’s proceeds will go directly to the charity Dreams for Kids D.C.
On Dec. 4, in Waldorf, the Human Society of Charles County will host their 2016 Holiday Craft Fair. Proceeds will benefit the homeless animals in the care of the Charles County animal shelter.
“Especially now, during holidays that are meant to be spent with family and being thankful for what you have, it’s important to remember that not everyone is as lucky as us,” Frydman said. “It’s important to give back.”