ByVaria Fedko-Blake, writer at
Staff Writer at Moviepilot! [email protected] Twitter: @vfedkoblake
Varia Fedko-Blake

Without a doubt, charity work and philanthropy is a fantastic way for us to give back to our society. And when it comes to trying to make the world a better place, celebrities are often incredibly willing to use their influence and fame for the greater good.

From supporting causes such as equal rights, water aid, the environment, disaster relief, education and social support, the following A-listers should be given a standing ovation for their contributions.

Take a look at 9 of the biggest philanthropic heavyweights in the entertainment industry below:

1. Leonardo DiCaprio

Cause: The environment

When it comes to trying to make our planet a better place, Leonardo DiCaprio does not hold back. Over the years, he has been determined to educate the public about environmental issues, fostering a more harmonious relationship between humans and our natural world.

Founding the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation in 1998, his charity funds projects that protects tigers and sharks from extinction, saves rainforests, maintains our oceans, and builds access to clean water. Amazing!

2. Jessica Chastain

Cause: US veterans

Chastain is heavily behind Got Your 6, which supports veterans and their families to ensure that they are seen as leaders and team builders in society.

As well as joining forces with other Hollywood A-listers such as Melissa McCarthy and Avengers stars Chris Evans and Mark Rufallo to support those that have served the country, Chastain, who can be seen next in Ridley Scott's space survival movie The Martian, also has numerous other charity causes under her belt. These include PETA and the Chime for Change campaign, focusing on women's rights.

3. Woody Harrelson

Cause: The environment

Passionate about the state of our natural world, [The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2](tag:449866) star, Harrelson's, activism notably includes attempts to preserve the California redwoods and participation in the American Oceans' Campaign. No stranger to adopting slightly more controversial techniques, he once scaled the Golden Gate Bridge to put up a banner that read "aren't ancient redwoods more precious than gold?"

He also became an advisor for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

4. Angelina Jolie

Cause: Education, disaster relief, human rights, poverty, women

Oh Angie! Your philanthropy extends so far and wide that we've almost lost count of all the good deeds you have performed over the years.

A true humanitarian icon, since being appointed UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador back in 2001, the actress has traveled the volatile areas of the world. Above all, her focus has been on refugees and displaced people due to conflict. Amongst the countries on her list, her work has extended to Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Cambodia, Pakistan, Thailand, Ecuador, Kosovo, Kenya, Namibia, Sri Lanka, North Caucasus, Jordan, Egypt, New Delhi, Costa Rica, Chad, Syria, and Iraq.

In 2003, she founded the Maddox Jolie-Pitt Fund which focuses on development and conservation in Cambodia. She also helps fund the Education Partnership for Children of Conflict, working with kids affected by man-made or natural disasters. These are only a few examples of her dedication to making the world a better place.

As the first ever recipient of the Citizen of the World Award given out by the UN, Angelina is truly an angel in disguise.

5. Matt Damon

Cause: Water aid

The Martian actor Matt Damon is the founder of H20 Africa, which became in 2009. The foundation aims to solve the problem of unsafe water supplies, transforming hundreds of communities in Africa.

Alongside with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, he also started Not On Our Watch, a mission to put an end to mass atrocities around the world. He also heavily supports the ONE Campaign, aimed at fighting AIDS and poverty and works tirelessly to find a resolution for the crisis in Darfur.

6. Emma Watson

Cause: Equality

For years, Emma has been an advocate for women's rights and female empowerment and caused a stir by being named the UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador. Watch her inspirational call to action in the short clip below:

The Beauty and the Beast star's movement went viral and has marked her out as one of the most influential people in the business.

7. Charlize Theron


It seems that Charlize Theron is pretty much unstoppable when it comes to charity work. The South African actress is the founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, a charity that helps African youths keep safe from HIV/AIDS. To date, over 200,000 young people in some of the most vulnerable areas have benefited from the project.

No wonder that the [Mad Max: Fury Road](tag:41445) actress was designated the role of UN Messenger of Peace. Watch her also be a bad-ass in the short clip from her latest movie below:

8. Mark Ruffalo

Cause: Water aid

It seems that [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](tag:293035) star Mark Ruffalo is not only the Incredible Hulk but is also quite the heavyweight when it comes to supporting a good cause. His most recent conquest has been raising donations for Water Defense, an organization dedicated to clean water.

For example, he raised $182,000 to fight clean water and combat the controversial contamination by chemical fluids and drilling.


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