At this time of year in particular, thinking about those who are less fortunate puts a pretty big lump in my throat. My husband works for a charity that sees a ton of need at Christmas and the stories he tells me are heartbreaking: families with nothing, parents unable to put presents under the tree for their kids. A feeling of helplessness always comes up for me when I hear about these situations. This feeling is sometimes eased if I can put focus on those who are doing good: the charities, the volunteers, the average individuals giving what they can each day. Thank goodness for the work of sweet, selfless people who I know, who I see around me, and who I want to write about here:
Whitney Cummings: I follow Whitney on social media not only because she is a hilarious comic, but also because she often posts adorable pics of her many dogs, and one beautiful horse. Her entertaining Instagram page took a turn for the serious when the horrible fires hit California a few weeks ago. Whitney began posting image after image and story after story of burned up areas that she was heading into just to check for animals that may have been left behind. She justifiably confronted the Saddlerock Ranch in Malibu for leaving their giraffe, Stanley, during the fire evacuation. She gave her funds and time to get in touch with vets and figure out how to best transport Stanley to safety. Whitney rented trucks and drove into affected areas to rescue animals like Stanley, frequently posting to ask her followers if they needed assistance or knew of any animals that she might be able to help. Many of her recent Insta posts feature a ridiculously cute pig that she came across and rescued during one of her many treks.
Will MacAskill: This guy is literally trying to save the world; his ideas are so interesting that I could easily write an entire post about just him. Will is professor at Oxford who has dedicated his life to answering the question, “how can we do the most good?”. Will created and practices, “effective altruism”, a term that essentially means supporting charities that can make the greatest, most positive impact in the world. He believes that the biggest problems facing people and our planet can be solved. He donates every dollar over $36 000 that he makes each year to charities that are working to ensure a bright future for humanity. In his Ted Talk below, he mentions the Nuclear Threat Initiative and the Centre for Human Compatible AI as groups that deserve support from anyone who shares his belief that we should be doing all that we can to protect future generations.
Bethenny Frankel: This hard-working lady is one of the stars of The Real Housewives of New York and creator of the Skinny Girl alcohol brand. Her latest venture is a disaster relief initiative called bstrong. In the video below Bethenny explains how the devastation caused by hurricane Maria motivated her to fill a plane with supplies, fly to Puerto Rico, and connect not only with those in need but with other disaster relief foundations like GEM. She sent a total of 40 planes worth of supplies to Puerto Rico, and has helped provide relief to victims of the recent California fires as well as hurricanes Harvey, Willa, Irma, Michael and Florence.
Ellen Degeneres: There are a bunch of things I could write about here regarding Ellen’s sweet, generous nature and the message of love she spreads through her work. But I was recently moved to find out about a really cool thing that she and her wife, Portia DiRossi are involved in, called The Ellen Fund. The video below depicts Portia’s appearance on Ellen’s 60th birthday show, during which she states that her wife’s gift is the establishment of the Ellen Degeneres Campus of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund. The video also explains Ellen’s decades long love of Dian Fossey and the work she did with Mountain Gorillas, Check out the Ellen Fund Twitter account for beautiful gorilla images, videos, and stories, and to see the online journal that Ellen wrote to detail her and Portia’s trip to the campus in the Rwandan jungle.
Tyson Fury: This heavyweight champion had a lot of people talking after his recent fight with Deontay Wilder, for good reason. Not only did he surprise and impress boxing fans by rising from the canvass to keep fighting after appearing to be knocked unconscious by his opponent, he also donated his entire purse (8 million Pounds) to homeless charities after the fight. Wilder is open about his struggles with addiction, mental health, and attempted suicide. In the clip below, Fury explains how his faith, focus, and family helped to pull him out of his dark tailspin and how material possessions mean very little to him these days.
There are plenty more stories of celebrity foundations and acts of kindness that make me happy: I want to give a special mention to Keanu Reeves, who I just found out has been low key involved in a foundation that helps children’s hospitals and cancer research efforts for several years now; also P.K Subban, whose charisma and flair I love almost as much as his dedication to raising money for kids in need. These are just a few stories that have warmed my heart recently. I love knowing that there are so many people in the public eye who make it a priority to positively impact the world.