Celebrities are most often associated with over-the-top lifestyles and rocky relationships. Their lives provide endless grist for the online info-tainment mill on sites such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Because of their frequent use of mobile devices and social media, America’s young people are in the virtual front row to view everything that these stars, their publicity companies and even their detractors send out. Fortunately, there is a bright spot in this grim story: Many of the most famous sports and entertainment luminaries are also committed to promoting charities that are on the front lines helping young people at risk. Although it is not comprehensive by any means, the following selection of stars and the charities they back might surprise you.
CHANCE THE RAPPER
He might be an independent artist, but this widely popular Chicago-born rapper is proudly loyal to his native city. To demonstrate his commitment to at-risk youth, he donated $1 million to the Chicago Public Schools Foundation.
This entertainment mogul and one-time NWA rapper recently forked over a whopping $10 million to build a performing arts center at L.A.’s newly constructed Compton High School. Among other things, the center will include a state-of-the-art recording studio that can help to foster the talent of South Central’s budding musicians.
This Boston native and award-winning actor created the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation in 2001. His organization helps to promote success in vulnerable youth by sponsoring a summer camp for urban teens. In addition, the foundation recently sponsored a summit to address the country’s opioid addiction epidemic.
Arguably the best basketball player of all time, King James is also making a huge difference off the court through his LeBron James Family Foundation. Each year, it gives millions of dollars to young people in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio that enable financially disadvantaged youth to pursue a college education. The foundation also supports programs for younger kids that encourage community involvement and self-esteem and empowerment.
This up-and-coming Los Angeles musician and entrepreneur wears many hats. He is the drummer for alternative band Half the Animal and is corporate operations officer of Milky Agency. In addition, he serves as chief executive officer of Gross Labs, a music and entertainment studio. The Find Your Grind Foundation, Nick Gross’ charity, provides experiential learning opportunities for aspiring young entrepreneurs who want to think outside the box of the traditional educational path.
For better or worse, we almost can’t help but idolize famous actors, musicians and sports figures. Sadly, many of these people spend the majority of their time in self-promotion without much concern for ordinary people. However, as the above list demonstrates, there are many celebrated figures who haven’t forgotten where they came from or the people who support them. In an era when good news seems hard to find, we should celebrate these noteworthy celebrities.