According to hollywoodscoop.com’s December 2010 report (http://www.hollyscoop.com/Oprah/top-3-celebrity-philanthropists_26000.aspx), the top 3 celebrity philanthropists are:
1. Media mogul,Oprah Winfrey ($40 million given mainly through the Oprah Winfrey Foundation for causes such as education and programs for women and children).
2. Novelist, Nora Roberts ($4.45 million given to the Nora Roberts Foundation to support literacy in underserved communities).
3. Emmy Award Winning Actress, Meryl Streep ($4 million given to the Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts).
Congratulations ladies and thank you for your demonstrated support of such causes as education, women, children, literacy, and the arts.
Now, on behalf of all aspiring celebrities, I’d like to ask each of you a few questions. At what point did you determine the cause and/or charitable organization you would support? Was it before you made your millions (or in some cases billions), you know, during those times when becoming a celebrity was merely a dream rehearsed over and over in your head and sometimes in front of the mirror? Or was it after you struck your first, million dollar deal? Or perhaps it was after you already made a substantial amount of money and felt that giving some of it away would be more beneficial and rewarding than keeping it all for you?
Just when, Oprah, Nora and Meryl, did you start thinking about giving and when did your giving actually begin?
At this point, I would imagine that these three ladies would begin to tell stories of some occurrence, some relationship, or some experience in their lives that helped shape the cause of their present efforts of charitable giving.
Yet in light of the fact that this in-depth interview with these three remarkable women is one that, at this point, is only in my head, I’d like to offer you the advice I believe they would each give to anyone, albeit a celebrity billionaire, celebrity millionaire or none of the above.
I believe they would start by saying, there is an old proverb which says, “Charity should begin at home, but should not end there." True giving first starts in the heart as compassion and from the heart, becomes a tangible expression. Thus, no matter your net worth, there is always something you can give to someone if nothing more than your time. Giving is a universal law. As you give, you will receive. Similarly, as you sow, you will reap. Sometimes what you receive or reap is tangible and other times, intangible like the warm, deep satisfaction of knowing that you contributed to the life of someone else.
So don’t wait until you strike that big deal or make your first million before considering the cause you will support. Start now as you ascend and in some cases approach the ladder of stardom. Choose a cause to which you will commit your efforts and an organization to which you will volunteer your time.
Maybe one day there will be a report entitled, “The Top 3 Celebrity Philanthropists Who Started as Remarkable, Non-Celebrity Volunteers,” your name just might appear on that list and I may be interviewing you.