Most celebrities have gone through the wringer before achieving superstar status. Even big stars like Tom Cruise started out in minor and supporting roles. Hollywood’s star of the moment Jennifer Lawrence appeared in minor guest spots in television shows before she hit it big in “Winter’s Bone,” “The Hunger Games” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” Some actors had to work menial jobs just to support themselves while waiting for their big break.
So it is refreshing to see celebrities give back to society once they hit it big financially. They have been blessed and they are not averse to sharing their blessings. Here is a list of the top 10 most generous celebrities.
10. Marcia Carsey – $1.87 million to the Carsey Family Foundation
She is half of Carsey-Werner Productions, the outfit that has produced hit shows like “The Cosby Show,” “Roseanne” and “That ‘70s Show.” She established the Carsey Family Foundation, which donates to Media Matters for America, Institute for America’s Future and the Progressive Talent Initiative.
9. Meryl Streep – $2.1 million to the Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts
She has won three Academy Awards and gotten countless nominations. She is one of the best actress of all time. She helped establish the Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts, which has donated to Oxfam America, Partners in Health and Vassar College.
8. Lance Berkman – $2.4 million to The Lord’s Fund
He is a baseball player for the Texas Rangers in Major League Baseball. He was also part of the Houston Astros, New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals. He has played first base and all three outfield positions with ease. He helped establish The Lord’s Fund, an organization that helps the youth and children of Eastern Europe, Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Vietnam and the Philippines.
7. Ndamukong Suh – $2.6 million to the University of Nebraska
He is a defensive tackle for the Detroit Lions in the NFL. He used to be a college football star for the University of Nebraska, where he earned All-American honors. He was also the recipient of the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year Award and the Lombardi Award. He has donated $2.6 million to the athletic department and the College of Engineering of his college alma mater.
6. Nora Roberts – $3 million to The Nora Roberts Foundation
She is the author of 209 romance novels. She is also the writer behind the pseudonyms J.D. Robb, Jill March and Sarah Hardesty. She was the first author inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Romance Writers of America. Her works have spent a total of 861 weeks in the New York Times Bestseller List, including 176 weeks at number one. She has sold over 280 million copies of her books. Her foundation is devoted to supporting local literacy programs, children’s welfare, arts organizations and humanitarian efforts.
5. Taylor Swift – $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Taylor Swift is an American singer who was born in Pennsylvania and moved to Nashville to become a country singer. She released her debut album when she was only 16 years old. The song “Our Song” made her the youngest person to write and perform a song that went to the top of the country chart. She has been able to cross over to the pop charts, earning for herself several hit songs in the process. In 2012, she made a sizeable donation to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which made her one of the most charitable celebrities of the year.
4. George Lucas – $4.25 million to the George Lucas Educational Foundation
He was the founder and chairman of Lucasfilm Limited, a renowned movie company before it was sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2012. He created two of the most famous franchises in movie history, namely “Star Wars” and the “Indiana Jones” series. One of the most financially successful filmmakers ever, Lucas is currently the second largest shareholder of Disney. He helped establish the George Lucas Educational Foundation that aims to educate the youth on how to become responsible citizens and compassionate leaders.
3. Mel Gibson – $6.85 million to the A.P. Reilly Foundation
He was born in New York before moving to Sydney when he was 12 years old. He starred in the “Mad Max” and “Lethal Weapon” series of movies. He also produced, directed and starred in “Braveheart,” a film that won for him several Academy Awards. He also produced and directed the 2004 movie entitled “The Passion of the Christ” that vividly detailed the last hours of Jesus. A devout old-style Catholic, he has been connected to racist controversies against Jews and Mexicans. He probably hopes to make up for that by being charitable, donating to the A.P. Reilly Foundation a substantial amount for the support of the Holy Family Church.
2. Herb Alpert – $9.1 million to the Herb Alpert Foundation
He is an American musician who fronted the group called the Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass. He has had five number one songs, won eight Grammys and garnered 14 platinum albums. He is the only artist to have reached number one both as an instrumentalist, for the 1979 “Rise,” and as a vocalist, for the 1968 “This Guy’s in Love with You.” He was a premiere recording executive after founding A&M Records with Jerry Moss. Polygram Records eventually bought out the label. He established the Herb Alpert Foundation that focuses on the arts, compassion and general well-being.
1. Jami Gertz – $10.6 million to the Ressler Getz Foundation
Jami Gertz was active in teen movies back in the 80s, appearing in films like “Sixteen Candles,” “The Lost Boys,” “Crossroads” and “Less than Zero.” She was also in the television show entitled “Square Pegs” and “Still Standing.” She is married to Anthony Ressler, an investor who is part of the group that owns the Milwaukee Brewers in Major League Baseball. The two have established the Ressler Getz Foundation and given it a $10.6 million endowment. They have also built the Getz-Ressler High Academy. Some of the beneficiaries of the foundation include the LA County Museum of Art and the Cedar Sinai Medical Center.