There’s the age-old saying that goes “with great power, comes great responsibility.” This holds true in any industry that gives its members the opportunity to have positions of power or earn a truckload of money, such as politics, entertainment, and sports. More often than not (actually, almost all the time), once a person hits celebrity status, their bank account doubles in amount and they gain fans and followers who look up to them. The mere fact that celebrities are looked at as role models gives them the responsibility to set a good example to do right by this world.
Entertainers and athletes can earn millions upon millions of dollars a year. Unfortunately, many of them live an unnecessarily extravagant lifestyle, throwing their cash around on items they don’t really need. But in the spirit of giving, there are the few who strive to do good and try to make a difference in society by helping others. And there’s no better way to give of yourself than by going back to the basics: the home front.
Before she became one of the wealthiest pop stars in the world, Beyonce was a little girl growing up in Houston, Texas with her parents and her younger sister Solange. It was in Houston where her singing prowess was discovered and after many challenges, she eventually made it big as a member of the R&B singing group Destiny’s Child. But she has never forgotten her Houston roots. She has donated $7 million to her church for the purpose of building 43 apartments at Knowles-Temenos Place in an effort to help those in need.
12 Gary Neville
English football coach and former football player Gary Neville currently serves as head coach of Valencia CF in La Liga. But this is not to say he has forgotten his English background. Far from it, in fact. Born in Manchester, England, he holds the distinction of being Manchester United’s club captain for five years. He and his buddy, Welsh football coach Ryan Giggs offered to turn Manchester’s former stock exchange building, which they own, into homeless hostels for at least 15 homeless individuals, to protect them from the harsh cold this winter season.
11 Geri Halliwell
As part of the all-girl pop group The Spice Girls, Geri Halliwell and her fellow spice sisters took the world by storm and she was aptly dubbed Ginger Spice for her flaming red locks. Like her other group members, she has moved on from that chapter in her life and has since launched a solo singing career, hosted a reality show, become a mother, and a wife. She gives a lot of importance to education, which is why she’s in talks to start a school in North London, where she grew up. She intends for the school to be free and to offer courses in business and the arts.
10 Dr. Dre
For those not in the know, Dr. Dre isn’t just a rapper and former MTV VJ; he’s also an extremely successful record producer and businessman. To show that he’s grateful for how far he’s come and that he will always honor his roots, he declared that proceeds from his latest album Compton would go to funding a performing arts facility in his hometown of Compton, California. He said that he had always wanted to do something special for Compton and this would be the perfect way to do so.
When Shakira first burst into the North American music scene, people fell in love with her charming personality, sultry singing voice, sexy dance moves, and beautiful face. Hailing from Barranquilla, Colombia, her rich Latin American accent adds to her ever growing appeal. She is known for her charity works and is even a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Of course, out of her many causes, she never fails to include her hometown in her good deeds. She donated 10,000 pairs of tennis shoes to children in poverty-stricken areas in Barranquilla.
She’s been dubbed the queen of pop and for good reason. Madonna ensures that she continues to evolve so that she can remain relevant decade after decade and relevant she has indeed remained. Like most big stars, she had very humble beginnings, being one of six children from a middle-class family in the outskirts of Detroit, Michigan. She has given back through causes close to her heart: the youth and women. She has built the Downtown Youth Boxing Gym in Detroit to bring out the athletic side of youngsters. She has also helped in developing an empowerment plan to aid homeless women.
7 Ricky Martin
It’s hard to believe that Latin crooner and pop star Ricky Martin started out in the music industry as a 12-year-old fresh face in the all-boy pop group Menudo. He has definitely come a long way since then, establishing himself as a successful solo artist with such hits as Maria and Livin’ La Vida Loca. He hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico, where he was born and raised, and he has used his fame to create the Ricky Martin Foundation, which educates people about child exploitation.
6 Sheryl Crow
She’s a small town girl from Kennett, Missouri, but American singer, songwriter, and actress Sheryl Crow has made her way to fame and fortune since her humble beginnings. She was a girl of many talents, not just in music and acting, but in sports as well, being an all-star track athlete in her high school days. But it was her passion for music that won out in the end and she turned the passion into a lucrative career. She will never lose the fondness for her hometown and she supports the Delta Children’s Home, a foster care facility in Kennett, raising more than $80,000 for the foundation’s benefit.
5 Bruce Springsteen
Fondly known as The Boss in the music scene, Bruce Springsteen has been a fixture in the industry for decades. He was born and raised in New Jersey, spending his growing up years in Freehold Borough. Springsteen has stayed close to home, living in the town right next to Freehold and he frequents it when he’s not busy, to visit his loved ones. Springsteen helps in whatever way he can, like donating a new firetruck for the town’s volunteer fire company.
4 Dave Matthews Band
The name Dave Matthews Band is quite a mouthful so the fans fondly refer to the band by the much simpler abbreviation DMB. The all-American rock band was formed in Charlottesville, Virginia in 1991 and has achieved success with such hit songs as Crash Into Me, Ant’s Marching, and The Space Between. The band gives back to its hometown of Charlottesville, donating more than $450,000 to the Music Resource Center, which provides music and recording lessons to interested teenagers.
3 Justin Bieber
Detractors of singer and songwriter Justin Bieber ought to know that he isn’t all that bad. While it’s true that he gets media attention for his bad behavior almost as much as his music career, he doesn’t get as much publicity for the good deeds that he does away from the spotlight. Born and raised in Stratford, Ontario, the Canadian singer has kept his hometown close to his heart, donating to and supporting the town’s food bank Children’s Miracle Network.
2 LeBron James
He’s lauded as one of the most influential and most popular basketball players in NBA history, not to mention one of the wealthiest. LeBron James came from the small town of Akron in Ohio and he doesn’t hesitate to look back with fondness at the town where his values were shaped. He established the LeBron James Family Foundation, which has helped as many as 800 children from Akron to graduate high school. He also intends to set up a scholarship program at the University of Akron.
1 Tony Bennett
Very few entertainers are still up and about, doing what they do best at the age of 89. Singer Tony Bennett is certainly one of the lucky ones who gets that privilege, as he still gets to belt out his songs, performing concerts and collaborating with today’s biggest pop stars on his hit songs. Having grown up in Astoria, Queens, New York, Bennett has included his town on his list of many charitable works. He founded the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, a public high school in Astoria.