A Veritable Wallflower, Lady Gaga Dominates List of 2011’s Most Charitable Celebrities

December 27, 2011; Source: CNN Entertainment | Right after Christmas, the DoSomething.org youth charity released its “Top 20 Celebrities Gone Good” list of the most charitable celebrities of 2011. Lady Gaga tops the list, followed by Justin Bieber:

  1. Lady Gaga
  2. Justin Bieber
  3. George Clooney
  4. Will & Jada Pinkett Smith
  5. Leonardo DiCaprio
  6. Matt Damon
  7. Ellen DeGeneres
  8. Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie
  9. Dwight Howard
  10. Demi Lovato
  11. Shakira
  12. Ashton Kutcher & Demi Moore
  13. will.i.am
  14. Blake Shelton & Miranda Lambert
  15. Nick Cannon
  16. Lea Michele
  17. Daniel Radcliffe
  18. Miley Cyrus
  19. Coldplay
  20. Taylor Swift

The list skews awfully young, with only a handful of baby boomers and older. Gaga’s charitable focus at the moment is the impending 2012 launch of her Born This Way Foundation, aided by her ability to recruit support from the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The former Stefani Germanotta knows how to get attention for herself and her anti-bullying charity with pledges of support from mainstream foundations (apparently, the California Endowment is also signed on as a partner) and from individual donors (a nude charcoal drawing of her by the artist Benedetto, better known to the American public as singer Tony Bennett, was sold for $30,000, with the proceeds split between Gaga’s charity and Bennett’s Exploring the Arts nonprofit).

The new web page of the yet-to-launch foundation contains this mission-looking statement:


Lady Gaga brought the announcement of her foundation and this mission to the White House in early December, and was invited to discuss her anti-bullying plans not with the president, who was giving a speech in Kansas, but with top aide Valerie Jarrett. One of the organization’s emphases will likely be Gaga’s longtime concern about the bullying of LGBT youth. Her visibility and access give the foundation solid chances for impact and success.

No one can criticize these celebrities for their willingness to give, but the DoSomething.org methodology isn’t immediately apparent from the descriptions of the top 20 on the organization’s website. The list is dominated by celebrity support for services (with a strong dose of youth charities), though there are a couple on the list with strong public policy advocacy agendas, particularly Leonardo DiCaprio’s international environmental work and George Clooney’s activism against the genocidal practices of the Sudanese government. Hopefully, DoSomething.org is monitoring celebrities for their human rights activism as well as their donations to human services, health, and disaster relief.—Rick Cohen