December 13, 2010; Source: iVillage Entertainment | While some people like Travie McCoy, want to be a billionaire like Oprah with oodles of philanthropic giving under her belt, there were others on the Giving Back Fund’s list of the most charitable celebrities worth taking note of—including several who contribute not to foundations that they established and control, but directly to independent charities.
For example, Usher gave $1 million to the Clinton Global Initiative for youth services. Yeardley Smith, Lisa Simpson’s voice on The Simpsons, gave $900,000 to the Grameen Foundation. Boxer Oscar de la Hoya put $1.3 million into Green Dot Educational Projects in Los Angeles. And Tyler Perry gave $1 million to the NAACP, the largest individual contribution the organization has ever received.
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Undoubtedly some of the celebrities’ eponymous foundations are doing good work as well, but it is notable that some celebs simply make out their checks to reputable charities and dispense with creating and running philanthropic middlemen.
When Travie raps, “I’d probably visit where Katrina hit, And damn sure do a lot more than FEMA did,” he joins the likes of Usher Raymond and Tyler Perry in reminding celebrities that charitable giving can be just as rewarding as being “on the cover of Forbes magazine, Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen”—even if they don’t quite make it into Oprah’s billionaire category.—Rick Cohen