These 11 Hollywood Mamas Are Bringing Change Into Their Communities

by Allie Gemmill
Mar 17, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Shakira, Viola Davis, Anne Hathaway
Image: Design: Michaela Early/SheKnows; Images: Getty Images

These celebrity women are mothers and humanitarians dedicated to being the change they wish to see in the world.

1 /11: Anne Hathaway

Image: Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/

1/11 :Anne Hathaway

Anne Hathaway has often been considered a sweetheart of an actor, but now her kindness is being used for a greater purpose: working as a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations. Hathaway was nominated in 2016 and announced that her platform would include putting "the spotlight on the issue of the unequal burden of care work in the home as one of the key barriers to gender equality, working internationally to advance the adoption and implementation of policies that will bring measurable change," the U.N. website says. "These include affordable childcare services and shared parental leave at both government and corporate levels."

2 /11: Viola Davis

Viola Davis Hunger Is
Image: Hunger Is/Peggy Sirota

2/11 :Viola Davis

As if winning an Oscar and stealing our hearts every week in How to Get Away With Murder wasn't enough, Viola Davis is also dedicated to helping end childhood hunger. Davis has worked as an ambassador for Hunger Is, an organization "designed to build awareness and raise funds in an effort to eradicate childhood hunger in America."

3 /11: Shakira

Shakira Pies Descalzos Foundation
Image: Alberto Tamargo/Getty Images

3/11 :Shakira

Shakira has been operating charitably and as a humanitarian since she was a teenager. She founded the Pies Descalzos Foundation in 1997, which began her career as a philanthropist and humanitarian. According to its website, the Pies Descalzos Foundation works to "implement a comprehensive intervention strategy, with five axes: provide quality & public education, improve the nutrition of our children, promote personal growth & sustainable development, building top-notch schooling infrastructures and finally establishing supported schools as community centers via 'open-door school strategy.'"

Additionally, Shakira has worked with the ALAS Foundation to create "integrated early childhood public policies" for Latin American children. These strategies are aimed at eradicating malnutrition and access to education. Shakira has also worked as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. 

4 /11: Angelina Jolie

Image: Papadakis Press/

4/11 :Angelina Jolie

Angelina Jolie has arguably set the modern-day template for how a celebrity can juggle a career, motherhood and humanitarian efforts.

Jolie has actively been involved with the United Nations for the better part of two decades. In 2001, she began her long relationship with the UNHCR as a Goodwill Ambassador. Jolie has worked with refugees, visiting Syrian refugee camps in Jordan and Afghan refugees in Pakistan. She has also been an advocate for children and women, recently giving testimony to the International Criminal Court in support of policies on child safety. Jolie has gone on more than 40 missions to meet with refugees and displaced persons in concert with the UNHCR. 

5 /11: Charlize Theron

5/11 :Charlize Theron

Charlize Theron is on a mission to end the spread of HIV and AIDS in African youth. Through the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project (CTAOP), Theron and her foundation have worked tirelessly to protect African children and teens from on the most far-reaching and devastating diseases in modern history.

The CTAOP website says that the project's approach to affecting change is as follows: "For young people, the ability to protect themselves from HIV is encompassed in their overall empowerment and ability to invest in their own futures as well as the future of their peers and communities. Providing knowledge and support leads to changes in attitudes and increases self-efficacy. This change influences behavior, empowering young people to make healthy decisions with regard for their futures. CTAOP supports programs that align with this theory of change."

6 /11: Whoopi Goldberg

6/11 :Whoopi Goldberg

Goldberg has popped up all over the charitable giving scene for some time. She has long been a part of the Comic Relief effort, performing and helping to raise money for a variety of causes. Goldberg was also part of the Give a Damn initiative, which worked to create an alliance of strength and advocacy for LGBTQ persons between straight-identifying people and the LGBTQ community. 

7/11 :Amy Poehler

Poehler has dedicated her time and talents to supporting women and children anywhere and everywhere. Two shining examples of Poehler's involvement in charitable causes are the Worldwide Orphans Foundation and Amy Poehler's Smart Girls.

For the former, Poehler has traveled on mission trips and participated in awareness-raising events as part of an effort to protect and bring vulnerable children, including orphans, to safety.

Her own foundation is focused on "helping young people cultivate their authentic selves. We emphasize intelligence and imagination over 'fitting in.' We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We are a place where people can truly be their weird and wonderful selves. We are funny first, and informative second, hosting the party you want to attend."

8 /11: Kerry Washington

Kerry Washington Ellen
Image: Ellen

8/11 :Kerry Washington

Working mama Kerry Washington has dedicated her time to a variety of causes focuses on helping disenfranchised communities: people of color, women and LGBTQ people all have a special place in Washington's heart.

She has worked with GLAAD, the Creative Coalition and was a member of V-Day, which worked to bring awareness to and end violence against women and young girls. Recently, Washington worked with Allstate Foundation Purple Purse, a charity dedicated to giving women "the financial independence and tools they need to free themselves from abusive partners."

9 /11: Beyoncé

9/11 :Beyoncé

Of course Beyoncé has worked on behalf of those in need of assistance. That's exactly what you'd expect Queen Bey to do.

Beyoncé has given of her time and herself in great quantity over the course of her career. She has begun a variety of #BEYGOOD initiatives, focused on "putting people back to work, restocked clothing donation centers and provided counseling, housing, food and medical assistance to the homeless.”

Additionally, Beyoncé co-founded The Survivor Foundation, dedicated to helping survivors of Hurricane Katrina. She has also partnered with Goodwill to assist with those who are homeless and unemployed and Phoenix House to assist those battling drug addictions.

10 /11: Alicia Keys

10/11 :Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys has aligned herself with the Syrian refugee crisis, access to education and caring for children in the foster care system. In 2016, Keys released a short film called Let Me In, which was intended to re-focus Americans' ideas about refugees and what it would be like to live as a refugee.

11 /11: Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba Global Citizen
Image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images For Global Citizen Festival

11/11 :Jessica Alba

While she has spent more than two decades working in film and television, Jessica Alba also holds the titles of mom, entrepreneur, humanitarian and charity-minded citizen.

It was reported in 2016 that Alba was a part of Global Citizen, an organization dedicated to ending extreme poverty worldwide. Alba has also worked alongside March of Dimes, Children's Defense Fund and Revlon Run/Walk for Women.