27 charitable celebs making an actual difference in the world

by Sarah Long
Sep 9, 2016 at 3:00 p.m. ET

Swift may be a super-busy pop princess and record-breaking recording artist, but that doesn't mean she doesn't find time to be charitable. In addition to always being there for her fans, Swift announced in 2014 that all the proceeds from the single "Welcome to New York" off her album 1989 would be donated to New York City public schools. A Department of Education official confirmed in February 2015 that Swift had indeed contributed $50,000, and Team TSwift says she will continue to donate as long as the single keeps selling.

1 /27: Britney Spears

1/27 :Britney Spears

Spears has a big heart, y'all! 

She revealed on Ellen in September that she is donating $125,000 to the Red Cross to help deliver disaster relief to flood victims in her home state of Louisiana.

2 /27: Taylor Swift

2/27 :Taylor Swift

Swift also recently donated $1 million to victims of the 2016 Louisiana flooding.

"We began the 1989 World Tour in Louisiana, and the wonderful fans there made us feel completely at home. The fact that so many people in Louisiana have been forced out of their own homes this week is heartbreaking," she said in a statement.

3 /27: Jennifer Beals

3/27 :Jennifer Beals

Jennifer Beals has joined the #passthebag movement to raise money for the Malala Fund. 

The campaign raises money for women's education by producing Malala-themed shipping bags that can be filled with used clothing. Schoola, a clothing donation program, sells the items online and gives 40 percent of the proceeds to the Malala Fund. You can learn more about #PassTheBag and shop to help here.

4 /27: Rihanna

4/27 :Rihanna

Rihanna recently announced her global scholarship program through her Clara Lionel Foundation, which will award scholarships to international and U.S. students going to college in the U.S.

"To be able to give the gift of an education is actually an honor," Rihanna said, via USA Today. "Higher education will help provide perspective, opportunities and learning to a group of kids who really deserve it. I am thrilled to be able to do this."

5 /27: Ryan Reynolds

5/27 :Ryan Reynolds

Reynolds actively supports the Make-A-Wish Foundation and was matched up with 13-year-old Connor McGrath, who was a huge Deadpool fan. Reynolds was delighted that McGrath was the first person to see his new Deadpool movie, and shared his grief on Facebook after McGrath died earlier this week.

"I'm grateful I got to orbit Connor's world for a brief time," Reynolds wrote. "Grateful for the pages and pages of hilarious texts between us. Grateful to his parents for allowing Connor to spend time with a foul-mouthed child in the body of a 39 year old."

Reynolds also urged his followers on Facebook to donate to Make-A-Wish.

"If you'd like to donate to The Make-A-Wish Foundation, I can pretty much guarantee, your money's going to a damn good place," he said. "These people do not suck. They are heroic. Full stop. http://makeawishna.ca/wishes/donate."

6 /27: Chris Pratt

6/27 :Chris Pratt

After losing a Super Bowl bet to pal Chris Evans, Pratt made good on his promise to visit the Boston-based organization Christopher's Haven, a charity that helps provide housing for families with children fighting cancer, dressed as Star-Lord, his character from Guardians of the Galaxy.

7 /27: Chris Evans

7/27 :Chris Evans

Evans may have won the Super Bowl bet against Pratt, but he decided to ante up and pay his losing stakes anyway. Evans announced on Twitter that he would be joining Pratt to visit the Seattle Children's Hospital dressed as his Marvel character, Captain America.

8 /27: Tyler Oakley

8/27 :Tyler Oakley

For two years running, the YouTube star has chosen to use his online presence and birthday to raise awareness for The Trevor Project, an organization that provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ youths. This year, Oakley aimed to raise $150,000, but ended up donating more than $500,000, according to thetrevorproject.org.

9 /27: Emma Watson

9/27 :Emma Watson

The Harry Potter alum is not only a brilliant actress, but has proved herself to be an incredible advocate for women's rights as well. She serves as an ambassador for the UN campaign to support equality among the sexes. Her HeForShe campaign has sparked over 1.2 billion social media conversations about feminism, according to Watson.

10 /27: Shonda Rhimes

10/27 :Shonda Rhimes

In addition to giving an incredibly empowering speech about sexism and racism in the entertainment industry in late 2014 at the THR Women in Entertainment breakfast, Rhimes was also honored in 2015 with the Ally for Equality award from the Human Rights Campaign for her ongoing advocacy of LGBT civil rights.

11 /27: John Cena

11/27 :John Cena

The WWE star has made more than 400 dreams come true for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, an organization that seeks to make life better for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Cena has granted more wishes than any other celebrity in the history of the program. In addition, he's also help raise more than $1.2 million for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure cancer foundation.

12 /27: One Direction

12/27 :One Direction

The boy-banders raised $346,513 for cancer research in the U.K. and the Stand Up to Cancer campaign. Other charities that the boys support include the Alzheimer's Association, Greenpeace, Comic Relief and the Global Poverty Project.

13 /27: Olivia Wilde

13/27 :Olivia Wilde

Wilde started a company called Conscious Commerce, a nonprofit that seeks to point shoppers in the direction of ethically sound small businesses. "Spend some time with us," the company's website reads. "And, if you're so inclined, spend some money that will go to good people doing good things."

14 /27: John Legend

14/27 :John Legend

In 2014, Legend launched the #OperationGirl Charity Challenge, which raised $495,000 for global organizations that focus on women and girls. The singer used the video for his single "You and I" to help create awareness for the cause.

15 /27: Beyoncé Knowles

15/27 :Beyoncé Knowles

Beyoncé raises money for numerous causes through #BeyGood, including Make-A-Wish, the Houston Food Drive, Goodwill, Girls Inc. and Chime for Change. Over the holidays in 2014, #BeyGood helped provide outreach to more than 150 families in three shelters throughout New York, according to Beyoncé's website.

16 /27: Miley Cyrus

16/27 :Miley Cyrus

Miley Cyrus may catch a lot of heat, but the girl has a good heart. In 2014, she used her MTV VMA win to help raise awareness for homeless youth by sending a homeless man up to accept her award. She began raising funds for the homeless and focusing on My Friend's Place, a center for homeless young people in Hollywood.

17 /27: Laverne Cox

17/27 :Laverne Cox

The actress is very active in promoting awareness for LGBTQ rights and is an avid supporter of GLAAD. In October 2014, Cox lit the Empire State Building in purple in recognition of Spirit Day and National Bullying Prevention Month on behalf of GLAAD.

18 /27: Mindy Kaling

18/27 :Mindy Kaling

In 2014, Kaling auctioned off a Mindy Project script and donated the proceeds to Rosie's Theater Kids, an organization that enriches the lives of underserved children through arts education.

19 /27: Amy Poehler

19/27 :Amy Poehler

Poehler supports a variety of causes, including Autism Speaks, The Trevor Project and Worldwide Orphans Foundation. She also helped create a website called AmysSmartGirls that aims to engage followers towards volunteerism, civic activism, cultural exchange and self-expression through the arts.

20 /27: Justin Bieber

20/27 :Justin Bieber

Bieber has a bad-boy reputation, but he gives back to a ton of charities, including Make-A-Wish, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, City of Hope, Comic Relief and PETA. In 2014, he also joined the #CardsForDanny online campaign to send birthday wishes to a young boy with brain cancer.

21 /27: Demi Lovato

21/27 :Demi Lovato

Lovato is an official ambassador for the youth empowerment event WE Day, and also contributes to numerous other charities. In 2014, she joined the Mental Health Listening and Engagement tour to advocate for mental health support and treatment.

22 /27: Kerry Washington

22/27 :Kerry Washington

Washington teamed up with the Allstate Foundation in 2014, which works with domestic abuse survivors. The actress designed a purse symbolizing victims taking back financial control of their lives that went up for auction to raise money for the cause.

23 /27: Jennifer Hudson

23/27 :Jennifer Hudson

In memory of her nephew, Hudson holds an annual event that provides less fortunate students in the Chicago area with school supplies. In 2014, the National Hatch Day Celebration hosted more than 8,000 children.

24 /27: Angelina Jolie

24/27 :Angelina Jolie

Jolie has become almost as famous for her philanthropy as her work in film. She has been extremely active as an advocate for refugees for nearly 15 years and acts as an ambassador for UNICEF. Her most recent cause has been eliminating sexual violence as a weapon of war.

25 /27: Jaime King

25/27 :Jaime King

After the birth of her first child, King was inspired to help less fortunate children. She partnered up with TOMS shoes to help raise awareness for impoverished children everywhere through the company's One Day Without Shoes event.

26 /27: Andrew Garfield

26/27 :Andrew Garfield

Garfield is a longtime avid supporter of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation and even appeared as a real-life superhero in the most recent PSA for the organization. He and girlfriend Emma Stone also like to bring awareness to the cause by shielding their faces from paparazzi with signs advertising for the WWO website.

27 /27: Billy Joel

27/27 :Billy Joel

Billy Joel pledged 1$ million dollars to save the Long Island High School for the Arts from closing its doors. Joel, a Long Island native, takes pride in his roots and values the music programs and faculty who put hard work into teaching what he was taught back when he attended Hicksville High School. With his generous contribution, the local High School for the Arts, Nassau BOCES, will now keep its doors open in hopes to have an increase in enrollment due to Joel's kind donation.