While music’s biggest names are known for what they bring to the stage and the stereo, it’s the things they do in between selling out venues and making platinum records that reveal their true character. No, not the mansion parties and golf outings, but rather the endless array of charities that music’s superstars have created and contributed to over the years. No one asked these artists to help anyone, but they’ve decided to put their wealth towards all the right causes.
Perhaps the most famous musical philanthropist of all, U2 frontman Bono spends almost as much time traveling the world to raise awareness of AIDS and social injustice as he does playing with his band. He helped create organizations such as DATA, (RED), and the ONE Campaign, and his generosity has gotten him 3 Nobel Peace Prize nominations. Aware of his larger-than-life status, Bono once told Paste Magazine: “I’m a spoiled-rotten rock star. My kids don’t have to worry about schooling or medical bills. In return, there’s a deal. One, don’t bend over. Two, use this spotlight to shine on bigger problems.” Like the rock-star equivalent of Spider-Man, Bono knows the responsibility that comes with his vast influence.
In 2008, singer/songwriter Jack Johnson put all of his tour earnings towards the foundation of the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation. Headed by Johnson and his wife Kim, the organization supports environmental art and music education, two cultural clusters that need all of the help they can get. Johnson remains environmentally aware on tour by having sustainable merchandise and re-using water bottles. The beloved artist might be leaping around the globe, but he’s making sure to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible.
Jon Bon Jovi
When Jon Bon Jovi isn’t packing out stadiums, he’s making sure the neighborhoods surrounding them are as happy a place as possible. With his Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation, he helps combat poverty and homelessness through various community partnerships. The Philadelpha Soul, an arena football team owned by Bon Jovi, has made an abundance of donations to children’s hospitals and foster homes in the Philly area, giving hope to a generation of children livin’ on a prayer.
Singer, Producer, Actor… perhaps the former N’ Sync heartthrob’s most important title is giver. The Justin Timberlake Foundation has channeled tons of revenue towards music education, keeping the dream alive for the thousands of children hoping reach the same musical spotlight that Timberlake has shined under for a decade.
One of alternative rock’s heaviest hitters for over a decade, Incubus are using their status as young rock royalty for the betterment of the world. The Make Yourself Foundation, named after the band’s 1999 breakthrough record, was created to fund various environmental causes and charities. Like Jack Johnson, Incubus stay eco-friendly wherever they go, and have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to organizations such as the Red Cross, Carbon Neutral, and Save the Music.