We all admire the celebrities who organize and donate to charities all round the globe. But it is not just money, is it? These stars are giving a lot more than dollars. They are dedicating their expertise, knowledge, time, space and energy. This is the true spirit of generosity because the ripples they create are making a better, kinder world. Let us look at 10 VIPs who will inspire us to give more of our own talents, time and energy, although we may not be as rich!

“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” – Khalil Gibran

1. They give their skills and expertise.

In addition to the 30 charities he supports, Sir Richard Branson is dedicated to saving the planet. He is passionate about how clean fuel is the way to go. He has committed $3 billion from his travel business profits in the next decade to combat global warming. An excellent example of giving expertise, instead of writing a blank check. Watch the video, ‘My passion for the planet’ below to discover more about his commitment to saving Earth.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h7aD3IdN8cE

“If you are in a position to make a difference, you’ve got to spend every waking hour trying to make a difference.” – Richard Branson

 2. They listen to forgotten people

George Clooney is determined to end the genocide in the Sudan where half a million people risked genocide in 2012. He founded the United to End Genocide and traveled to the Nuba Mountains in the Sudan to hear the stories of people who were in extreme danger from air strikes. The memory of the Darfur tragedy was uppermost in his mind where 300,000 people perished. Not only did he listen, but he testified before a US Senate Committee. He was arrested a few days later for civil disobedience outside the Sudanese Embassy along with Martin Luther King III and his father Nick Clooney.

3. They fight for human rights

There are many charities which are working to improve women’s rights and give them access to  free contraception which is a basic human right.  Melinda Gates (co- founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation) is leading a campaign to do just this in addition to the AIDS, hunger, peace, water, environment and homelessness charities they support.  Although Melinda is a practicing Catholic, this has not deterred her in trying to help women gain access to contraceptives in the fight against AIDS.

“From those who are given great resources, great things are expected.”-  Elaine French (Melinda’s mother, at their wedding ceremony)

4. They give in-kind

Tom Cruise is famous for dramatically saving people in his films. But, did you know that in real life he has given in-kind by intervening to save people in distress?  Once, when he was relaxing on his yacht, he saw another boat nearby in flames. He went to rescue them immediately. On another occasion, he was the witness of a hit and run accident. He not only stayed with the injured person but footed the $7,000 bill when he discovered the victim had no insurance.

5. They give time

The British comedian Russell Brand (Kate Perry’s ex husband) spends quite a bit of his spare time with the homeless and the down and outs. He is famous for inviting these guys to dinner and he is a great listener and gives up his time willingly to hear what they have to say. Quite a few of them claim to be Jesus, though!

6. They make themselves available

Roger Moore who is now 87, was famous for his James Bond role in the 007 films. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his charity work. He has made every effort to remind politicians and statesman of the importance of the UNICEF’s ‘Rights of the Child’.

“You have to remind governments of that, and I make a nuisance myself in that respect.”- Roger Moore

He has espoused another cause in trying to ban the sale of  fois gras in the UK because of the force feeding of the ducks and geese.  He personally wrote to every Member of Parliament in the House of Commons to get their help. Instead of just writing a cheque, Roger Moore offered his time and effort for very worthy causes.

7. They give space

Whether it is online space, advertising space or office space, celebrities give willingly to help charities. It has been estimated that when a celebrity endorses a charity, people tend to give 1.4 percent more and that can add up to an extra $100,000 a year.

Talking of space, did you know that the passenger list for the Virgin Galactic space trip includes such prestigious names as Stephen Hawking, Ashton Kutcher and Justin Bieber? The cost of the flight is a mere $250,000. Test flights have been successfully completed and the first actual flights will take place in 2014, according to Sir Richard Branson.

8. They take an interest in the needy

“People chase money and forget that time is our most precious resource.” – Andre Agassi

Andre Agassi, the former tennis champion, is an excellent example of how he dedicated time and energy to founding a different type of school where at risk kids could reach their full potential.  The school is in southern Nevada. It is completely free and kids are selected by lottery. There is a lot of emphasis on character building and self-esteem. The school has already won an ‘exemplary ‘award from the Nevada Department of Education.

“Tennis was a stepping-stone for me. Changing a child’s life is what I always wanted to do”- Andre Agassi

9. They use life’s lessons as an inspiration for their generosity

When Mariah Carey discovered that her sister was HIV positive, she became more aware of the needs of sick and disadvantaged children. Her Fresh Air Fund was set up to give the kids from the toughest New York neighbourhoods a chance of a free holiday. Over 300 children benefit each year.

In the other children’s projects she has promoted, there is an emphasis on empowerment and career guidance.

“If you see me as just the princess then you misunderstand who I am and what I have been through.”- Mariah Carey.

10. They are compassionate

Johnny Depp is involved in many charities connected with children too. He was particularly moved when he heard the story of Sophie Wilkinson who was in a coma after a car crash. As she was coming out of her coma, doctors recommended getting taped voices issuing commands which they drew up. All the better if it was a voice of someone she recognized and admired. As Sophie had been a great fan of Johnny’s, he stepped up to the plate and sent a load of recordings. He used the voice he had as Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean. This was the beginning of Sophie’s Gift which was set up with Johnny and other famous celebrities such as Richard Hammond and Sharon Osbourne to help other people in coma to wake up.

“The only creatures that are evolved enough to convey pure love are dogs and infants.” – Johnny Depp

So, celebrities are doing a lot more than signing cheques and presiding at glamorous events. Help to publicize their generosity in doing good deeds by sharing this post on the social networks.

Check out 8 Secrets Charities Don’t Want You to Know

Featured photo credit: Johnny Depp/Andy Templeton via flickr.com

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