Celebrities have long endorsed products, and now many are using their fame to promote issues and causes.
Shortly after becoming household names, many actors, singers and athletes establish charitable foundations
in their names. They use their star power to increase public awareness of everything from
diseases to political issues.
TV personality Rosie O'Donnell established the
For All Kids Foundation, which gives grants to support
the social and intellectual development of underserved kids. The foundation has awarded $10.2
million since 1997, much of it to established child care programs. eBay hosts a
charity auction to benefit the foundation with
the sales of celebrity items.
The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research hopes to
find a cure for the disease by 2010. Television and film actor Fox, who suffers from Parkinson's,
wants his foundation to increase public awareness of the disease and raise funds for research.
U2 lead singer Bono has been involved in many issues throughout the years and supports the work of
Greenpeace, War Child and
His latest project is Project Red, a partnership with several large corporations to increase awareness of AIDS in Africa.
Daytime talk queen Oprah Winfrey used her celebrity to power
Oprah's Angel Network. With viewer donations,
the network has built 200 homes for Habitat for Humanity and sent 150 students to college.
Oprah also gives a weekly "Use Your Life Award" to a local hero who improves the lives of others.
The Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation supports research to develop
treatments and a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injuries. Reeve serves as chairman
of the board and the foundation has raised millions of dollars for individual research grants and
programs to enrich the lives of people with disabilities.
As more athletes achieve celebrity status, they are also promoting their causes and issues.
Soccer sensation Mia Hamm set up her foundation to raise money
for bone marrow disease research and programs for young women in sports. The
Mark McGwire Foundation For Children works to
prevent child abuse. The
Tiger Woods Foundation
works to help children accomplish life goals.