When people think of prominent philanthropists, they may talk about John D. Rockefeller or perhaps Bill Gates as a more modern example. However, this view of philanthropy is far too narrow, especially when considering the intersection of pop culture and giving. Many leading pop culture figures have also emerged as major philanthropists. One of the best examples of this is Beyoncé, who regularly makes time for giving back despite having three children and a career that continuously puts her in the global spotlight.
After her recent Coachella performance, for example, Beyoncé announced that she was donating $100,000 to support students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). This donation will benefit one student each at Xavier University in Louisiana, Tuskegee University, Bethune-Cookman University, and Wilberforce University. The scholarships are part of the larger Homecoming Scholars Award Program, which is part of the singer’s BeyGOOD philanthropic initiative. This is the second time that Beyoncé has supported education at HBCUs with her philanthropy. Last year, she launched Formation Scholars, which benefits young women at select HBCUs who are interested in the arts or African American studies.
Beyoncé has a long history of giving. In addition to education, she has focused largely on the needs of women and girls around the world. Some of the initiatives that she has spearheaded include:
In collaboration with Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur Jane Chen, Beyoncé launched Embrace Innovations, which invests in low-cost infant warmers that can help keep premature babies born in developing countries alive. Babies need consistent warmth to grow normally and such heat can be difficult to provide in resource-poor communities. With Beyoncé’s support, Chen has extended the initial pilot programs to a number of different countries throughout Africa, including Mali, Malawi, Rwanda, and Senegal.
Perhaps the most well-known initiative that Beyoncé has undertaken, the Survivor Foundation was created in collaboration with her fellow singer Kelly Rowland shortly after Hurricane Katrina devastated parts of Texas and Louisiana. The organization provided housing and other assistance for people displaced by the storm. Since that time, the organization has expanded in other ways, such as through a partnership with the Music World Cares Christmas Carnival, which provides toys to children in December.
Chime for Change
Beyoncé teamed with actress Salma Hayek to cofound Chime for Change, which raises money for causes related to women and girls around the globe. Personally, she donated $500,000 to the cause to develop job training, counseling, health, and education opportunities in New York. In addition, the organization has provided support for victims of sex trafficking in Los Angeles.
While already mentioned in relation to scholarships, BeyGOOD has undertaken a number of other worthwhile causes. So far, the organization has provided support to six charities based in Europe to provide services to children who are sick or homeless. BeyGOOD has also raised capital for Saint Damien Pediatric Hospital in Haiti.
Miss a Meal
Together with her mother and her sister, Beyoncé started Miss a Meal, which was a fundraiser that asked people to skip one meal and donate the money they would have spent to charity. While not a direct charitable cause, this initiative was a great way to get her fans involved with charity and show them that anyone can donate, regardless of how much money they have. Small contributions like these can really add up in the long run.
Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles, helped launch Knowles-Temenos Place in Houston as part of her larger work to benefit the people of her local community. The organization has worked to provide employment opportunities and housing resources, as well as other supportive services, to people in poverty who are working toward self-sufficiency.
Beyoncé Cosmetology Center
Because Beyoncé is focused on empowering women, she decided to create a cosmetology school that provides beauty education to women who are in recovery after addiction to drugs or alcohol. Courses at the center are designed to enable women to earn their cosmetology license in New York, so they have a steady, reliable way of generating an income as they heal.
World Children’s Day
Beyoncé has demonstrated a dedication to philanthropy for several years. More than a decade ago, she became an ambassador for World Children’s Day and released the song “Stand Up for Love,” which then became the anthem for this important event. By getting involved, she helped spread awareness about the event’s critical work in driving support for children’s causes and likely spurred many more people to contribute to these organizations by tapping into her large fan base.
Before her shows, Beyoncé has been known to ask her fans to contribute to various causes. She has held food drives at venues and dedicated one of her tours to Goodwill, asking her fans to bring donations to the event. In addition, the revenue generated from merchandise sold during the tour was given to Goodwill to further its mission of helping people in need find jobs. Through CharityBuzz, Beyoncé also offered ticket packages that included a monetary donation to Goodwill.