When Celebrities Give Back

Above Image: Popstar Icon Rihanna.

By Alondra Alarcon

It’s the fourth month in the new year and a lot has been given back to communities and charities, not just here in our country, but also around the world. Some particular celebrities have been using their platform for charity, not just sticking to their “day job.” By taking time away from the recording studio, set or court, these celebrities have been active humanitarians.

The first celebrity is Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, 24, better know as his stage name Chance The Rapper. He is a singer, songwriter, and, obviously, a rapper from Chicago. Chance began to address his concern for the Chicago public school funds, when Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner blocked a law that would have given $215 million to public schools on Jan. 25. Chance took his concerns on Twitter to say that he had met with the governor to talk about the public school system.

“He gave me a lot of vague answers so we’ll see what happens,” Chance said to reporters.

On March 6, Chance presented a $1 million check at Westcott Elementary intended to support and enrich public schools in his hometown of Chicago.

Next is german professional NBA player, Dirk Nowitzki, player for the Dallas Mavericks. He started The Dirk Nowitzki Foundation back in 2001 with one mission: to “help provide education, health and well being for children around the world." Every year Nowitzki meets sick children through the Make A Wish foundation. He frequently visits the Children’s Medical Center in Dallas to put smiles on kids' faces. Last year, the World Affairs Council of Dallas presented the 2017 H. Neil Mallon Award to Nowitzki. According to the council's website the award "honors its recipient for dedication to international relationships, business and personal, that enhance the standing of North Texas around the world."

"He is not just a basketball star, but a humanitarian who clearly sees how the good that people do for others helps create the global trust that is the basis of international friendship and understanding,” said the president and CEO James N. Falk.

Next on the list is international pop star icon Rihanna, 28, from Saint Michael Barbados. Rihanna has been awarded the Harvard University Humanitarian award in 2017. She visited the campus on February 28 , 2017 to accept her award.

“Rihanna has charitably built a state-of-the-art center for oncology and nuclear medicine to diagnose and treat breast cancer at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados,” said S. Allen Counter.

Back in 2012 Rihanna founded a non-profit Scholarship program for students going to school here from Caribbean countries. It also provided children with a tool to get education in over 60 less fortunate countries.

From saving lives on ABC’S Grey’s Anatomy, Jesse Williams is also an activist and humanitarian outside of Grey Sloan Memorial Hospital. Williams, an actor, has never been shy to express his opinions and concerns. Back in 2016 at the BET awards, where he accepted a humanitarian award, Jesse took time to give thanks.

"To organizers all over the country, the activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do."

Williams also talked about injustice and violence with police against african americans. Jesse works with the Advancement Project. The organization has two fields: a local one and a national one. The local organization provides hands on support for organized communities in their struggles for racial and social justice, providing legal and communications resources .

Nationally, they actively broaden and extend the practice of community-centered racial justice lawyering through training, networking, creation of tools and resources, media outreach and public education. Williams has donated to foundations as well as Amnesty International, Black AIDS Institute, K.I.S. Foundation, the Magic Johnson Foundation and Stockings With Care.

From April 26 to 28, Williams will be a featured speaker in Future of Wealth Summit workshop in D.C., a competition for the best innovator who will win a $10,000 grand prize to improve the social economic well-being of traditionally marginalized communities. They must focus on the creation of more jobs or business opportunities for women, people of color, or disabled individuals in the technology sector. Also a creation of product, program, or policy that addresses some challenges facing women or communities of color.