Happy List 2021: Nine celebrities doing good deeds

These famous faces have been a powerful force for good in the wake of global uncertainty

Emma Ledger
Tuesday 31 August 2021 08:52


Grime star Stormzy has pledged to support a further 30 black students studying at the University of Cambridge over the next three years. Since 2018 the rapper has funded two students a year through their degrees at the University, through his scholarship scheme Stormzy Scholarship for Black UK Students. He covers the full cost of tuition fees without expecting a penny to be paid back.

George and Amal Clooney

The power couple made large donations to three charities following a deadly explosion in Beirut in August 2020 which left 203 people dead and more than 5,000 wounded. “We’re both deeply concerned for the people of Beirut and the devastation they’ve faced in the last few days,” said the pair. “Three charitable organisations we’ve found are providing essential relief on the ground: the Lebanese Red Cross, Impact Lebanon, and Baytna Baytak.”

Taylor Swift

Continuing her longstanding tradition of performing fairy godmother-style acts of kindness, Taylor Swift gave £12,500 to two mothers, Nikki Cornwell and Shelbie Selewski, who were battling coronavirus last December. The individuals received the donations from the Grammy award winning singer through their respective GoFundMe pages, alongside a supportive message. One read; “I read about you in the Washington Post and thought it was really brave of you to share your story. I’m so sorry for everything you’ve had to go through this year and wanted to send you this gift, from one Nashville girl to another.”

The Weeknd takes part in US government meeting on the Ethiopia crisis

The Weeknd

Singer The Weeknd gave over $1 million to relief efforts in Ethiopia amid the ongoing conflict between the government in Addis Ababa and the Tigray region. The star, whose real name is Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, said “my heart breaks for my people of Ethiopia as innocent civilians ranging are being senselessly murdered and entire villages are being displaced out of fear and destruction.” The Weeknd also held a virtual concert on TikTok, pulling in more than two million viewers who helped raise $350,000 for the Equal Justice Initiative through purchases of limited edition Weekend x TikTok merchandise. The Equal Justice Initiative, founded in 1989, focuses on ending mass incarceration in the United States, combating racial and economic injustices and fighting for equal rights for all.

Jo Whiley

Jo’s sister Frances has cri du chat syndrome, a genetic disorder that can cause significant learning disabilities and has other health issues. The BBC radio DJ and television presenter became the first patron of Sibs, the only UK charity dedicated to supporting siblings who have a disabled brother or sister, and worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the need for learning-disabled people to be prioritised in the Covid-19 vaccine schedule. When Frances was admitted to hospital with the virus, Jo and her family were told to prepare for the worst. Thankfully, Frances pulled through, and just days later the government confirmed all people on the GPs’ learning disability register would be prioritised, meaning 150,000 people would be offered a vaccine more quickly. “I’m very grateful to my sister for having made this happen,” said Jo.

Michael Jordan

“In these challenging times and in a year of unimaginable difficulty due to Covid-19, it’s more important than ever to pause and give thanks,” said former NBA star Michael Jordan, who donated $2 million of his proceeds from The Last Dance documentary to food banks in Carolina and Chicago in November 2020. He added; “I am proud to be donating additional proceeds from The Last Dance to Feeding America and its member food banks in the Carolinas and Chicago to help feed America’s hungry.”

Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas

When Covid-19 began to take hold in India in April 2021 Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas set up an online fundraiser to provide supplies for vaccination and testing sites. “There is a desperate need to support the exhausted health infrastructure, breaking under the pressure of a ferocious second wave of COVID-19. With more than 300,000 recorded cases every day — higher than any other country in its peak — the health system is on the brink of collapse. So we feel the best way to help is to provide the support it needs,”said the couple, who wed in 2018.

Read about 50 remarkable people driving positive change in Britain here.

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