16 Admirable Celebrities Who Are Actively Changing the World for the Better
1. Leonardo DiCaprio
Leonardo DiCaprio is well known for his environmental activism and has been an active supporter of many charities for decades. At age 24, Leonardo established the Leonardo DiCaprio foundation to help protect nature and wildlife around the globe, as well as raise funds for ocean and forest conservation, and climate change. He helped raise funds to help the victims of the Haiti earthquake and drives eco-friendly cars. DiCaprio has also produced many environmental educational movies such as ‘The 11th Hour.’
The United Nations named DiCaprio a U.N. Messenger of Peace with special focus on climate change.
2. George Clooney
Hollywood hunk George Clooney is known mostly for his big roles, but he also played an important part in anti-war activism and humanitarian work. Since 2008, Clooney has served as one of the United Nations Messengers of Peace. He has been advocating for Darfur, as well as organized the Hope for Haiti telethon to raise funds for victims.
Clooney was arrested in 2012 during a protest outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington D.C where he was protesting the war in Darfur.
3. Mark Ruffalo
Known as the Hulk on screen, Ruffalo is a very active clean energy supporter behind the scenes. He mostly tweets about news of fracking and his charity organization Water Defense.
Ruffalo is known in the community of environmentalists because of his support of other green campaigns like The Solutions Project, which is pushing for a transition towards using 100% clean energy for everyone. He is a member of Artists Against Fracking and is working on a film about a big oil spill.
He was awarded The Humanitarian Award for his work with Water Defense at the BAFTA Los Angeles Britannia Awards.
Angelina Jolie is a well known human rights activist who started her good deeds back in Cambodia when filming “Tomb Raider” in 2000. Jolie became a United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Goodwill Ambassador and then promoted to the position of a Special Envoy. As a Goodwill Ambassador, Jolie is well known for fighting to end violence against children and women in conflict zones, a cause close to her heart as seen in her directorial feature debut “In the Land of Blood and Honey.”
After meeting Brad Pitt on the set of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” in 2005, the two established the Jolie-Pitt Foundation and through this charity they have donated millions of dollars to humanitarian causes around the world.
5. Brad Pitt
In 2007 Brad Pitt founded The Make It Right Foundation, a non-profit providing affordable and sustainable homes to communities around the world. The idea came about when Pitt and a group of experts came together to build homes for families in need, after the devastation of New Orleans’ hurricane Katrina.
Working alongside non-profit Global Green, Pitt is pushing for the concept of green housing to be made available nationally as a housing model. He already met with President Barack Obama and politicians to help get federal funding and received an award from the U.S. Green Building in recognition for his housing concept.
Pitt and Jolie gave all of the $2 million fee of their wedding-photos-exclusive to their Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
6. Christian Bale
Christian Bale is an exceptionally talented Academy Award winning actor known for being able to play a whole range of challenging roles, but his human rights work deserves even more accolades.
When Bale was visiting China for the premiere of his film “The Flowers of War,” he made an 8 hour cursory trip from Beijing to meet a “personal hero.” Bale wanted to thank and shake the hand of the blind civil rights lawyer, Chen Guangcheng. He was on his way to Chen’s, but plainclothes security guards outside Gangchen’s village would not let Bale pass . They shooed away the actor and the CNN reporters who were with him, but not without the group catching the whole scene on video, as seen in the report below.
7. Matt Damon
Matt Damon is super protective of clean water. He founded H2O Africa, a charity providing clean water to African communities and in 2009, Damon joined forces with WaterPartners and created Water.org to provide access to clean water in all continents.
Alongside George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Don Cheadle, and Jerry Weintraub, he founded Not On Our Watch, a human rights charity to help stop genocides around the world and provide humanitarian assistance and protection. Damon and Ben Affleck also took part in Don Cheadle’s poker fundraiser Ante Up For Africa.
8. Don Cheadle
The Academy Award nominated actor got involved in human rights issues while shooting ” Hotel Rwanda” in 2004, where he played a hotel manager during the time of the Rwandan Genocide. Since then, Cheadle has campaigned for the end of the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, and even co-authored a book titled “Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond.”
In 2010, Cheadle co-authored another book called”The Enough Moment: Fighting to End Africa’s Worst Human Rights Crimes.” His work earned him the BET Humanitarian Award for the cause of the people of Darfur and Rwanda, as well as a shared Summit Peace Award by Nobel Peace Prize Laureates in Rome which he shared with George Clooney.
9. Keanu Reeves
Modest but generous, Keanu Reeves doesn’t like to stick his name onto charities, although he’s a big donor to many of them. He once said that he has a private foundation he uses to donate money to children’s hospitals.
Keanu is also known to have donated a lot of money to leukemia research because one of his sister’s suffers from the disease.
10. Charlize Theron
Charlize Theron is the founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project. In 2009, Theron became a United Nations Messenger of Peace, focussing on HIV prevention and the elimination of violence against women. She appeared in South African campaigns combatting violence against women and was the voice for the Rape Crisis Center in Cape Town.
Theron also helped design and signed a pair of shoes for the Stuart Weitzman charity shoe auction benefiting ovarian cancer awareness and research.
11. Sean Penn
The Hollywood actor has been notable for his criticism of president George W. Bush and his stance on the War on Iraq.
Penn was also closely involved with relief efforts during hurricane Katrina. He traveled to New Orleans and helped rescue people who were affected. Then in 2010, during the Haiti earthquake, Penn again traveled to the ravaged country and helped man rescue tents on site.
12. Emma Watson
Emma Watson is one of those stars who asks her fans to skip her birthday and Christmas presents and instead donate to UNICEF’s charity fund. Watson also arranged TV appearances with her Harry Potter co-stars to bring awareness to the UK charity Children in Need. Watson is also known for donating personal and handmade items for auction to collect funds for Wild Trout Trust, DIFFA/Dallas, Blue Peter’s Mission Nutrition and Sense, a charity for the deaf-blind.
Watson is also a strong advocate for sustainable fashion. She has designed eco capsule collections for People Tree, a fair trade sustainable clothing brand, and has collaborated with luxury Italian designer Alberta Ferretti.
13. Colin and Livia Firth
Colin Firth has been a member of Survival International for many years and has campaigned for the rights of indigenous tribal people. He is also a member of the Refugee Council and has campaigned to stop the deportation of a large group of Congolese asylum seekers.
Colin and his wife Livia, an italian film producer and director, are big advocates of the sustainable movement. The couple has opened an eco-friendly shop in their London neighborhood of Chiswick, called Eco-Age. They sell organic and zero-waste products for the home, as well as boutique green-fashion. Livia also runs a consultancy firm providing advice on energy-efficient living.
Livia created the Green Carpet Challenge where Hollywood stars are encouraged to don sustainable couture by A-List designers to their red carpet appearances.
14. Robert Redford
Hollywood actor and director Robert Redford is a passionate advocate of environmental protection. He has been engaged in the climate fight for decades, ever since he first organized a conference for Russian and American climate scientists in the 1980s.
Redford is an avid environmentalist and is a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council. Redford also established The Redford Center with his son James, which aims to create films focusing on social and environmental issues like his recent: “Watershed,” which is an effort to help restore the Colorado River Basin.
15. Sharon Stone
Sharon Stone is well known for her activism and philanthropist work through her work in promoting peace in the Middle East for many years.
Sharon has been spokesperson and Global Fundraising Chairman for the American Foundation for Aids Research (amfAR) since the 90’s. She is also on the Board of Directors for the Himalayan Foundation, the Cultural Chair of online peace movement YaLa — Young Leaders, a Board Member for A Better LA, and founder of Planet Hope.
16. Richard Gere
Richard Gere has been an outspoken supporter of human rights issues since the 80s. In 1986, Gere went on a fact-finding mission in Nicaragua and Honduras where thousands of people were getting killed in armed conflicts. He then became interested in Buddhism, and has associated with the faith ever since.
After establishing The Gere Foundation, the actor has been providing relief assistance for Tibetans who have suffered from the repression of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) since the 50s. Gere also co-founded Tibet House US in 1987, which is the cultural center for the Dalai Lama.