Some of our favorite actors, musicians, athletes, and public figures have proven that lending a hand to a meaningful cause can help you become more compassionate and empathetic. Here are some notable celebrities who find meaning in giving back, and how they incorporate it into their lives.
Lady Gaga has been a mental health advocate throughout her career as a musician and actress, and she founded her Born This Way Foundation to raise mental health awareness and promote tolerance within communities. Gaga teamed up with the National Council for Behavioral Health to bring teen Mental Health First Aid, and she’s passionate about providing this opportunity to those who need it. “Once you feel safe in your environment and you acquire the skills to be a loving and accepting person, the opportunities for you are endless to become a great functioning human in society,” she told Oprah Winfey. “I want everyone to feel safe in their community.”
Since her time in the White House, former First Lady Michelle Obama has used her voice to speak out about so many causes that are close to her heart, from her Let’s Move initiative to her partnership work with nonprofit Be the Change, to her recent push to grant education access to girls worldwide through the Global Girls Alliance. Obama has been vocal about her passion for educating young women, and she urges others to take action in the areas they are most passionate about. “There are so many ways to make an impact,” she told the The TODAY Show last year. “It’s up to you to determine what your message is, and how you want to use your voice.”
In addition to modeling, Karlie Kloss is also an entrepreneur and a passionate activist for bringing young girls into STEM. To empower girls across the world to learn how to code, Kloss founded her nonprofit Kode With Klossy, which provides free bootcamps to introduce young women to computer science concepts and skills. “There is real power in bringing together like-minded women who want to BE the change they hope to see in the world,” Kloss wrote in Teen Vogue. “We do not have to be passive bystanders in our ever-changing digital world.”
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning spends most of his time training, but the NFL superstar has also carved out time to give back to causes that are meaningful for him — from donating to the University of Mississippi’s Ole Miss Opportunity Scholarship, to helping fund construction for The Eli Manning Children’s Clinics at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children. He’s even worked with a program called “Tackle Kids Cancer” at the Hackensack University Medical Center, where he visits pediatric cancer patients. “I really would rather go in and just have a conversation,” Manning said in 2016 of the children he visits. “To see if I can lift spirits and get them to laugh.”
Jerry Seinfeld is perhaps best known for his comedy, but the actor and comedian is also passionate about giving back, which he’s done alongside his wife, Jessica Seinfeld, with their organization GOOD+. The nonprofit’s mission is to help low-income families by providing both tangible goods and innovative services to help them financially. The foundation was originally founded by Jessica, but now the project is a team effort, and Seinfeld says lending a hand to those in need simply comes from a passion to help. “You can be passionate about anything,” he told Oprah Winfrey in an interview. “Learn from everything and everyone all the time.”
You may know Rihanna as a singer, songwriter, or businesswoman — but she’s also a passionate philanthropist who launched her own charity in 2012, The Clara Lionel Foundation, which helps impoverished countries worldwide through health care initiatives and education. Rihanna also became the first ambassador of the Global Partnership for Education in 2016, and she has been outspoken about supporting global education. “When it comes to helping the world’s poorest children, as well as the communities and societies in which they live, I’m still learning — and I need others to join me on the journey and use their voices alongside mine,” she wrote in The Guardian last year. “Every voice counts, and limited knowledge is no reason to stay silent.”