It’s known that many celebrities support noble causes. After all, if you’re a celeb, you supposedly got the visibility and the money. So, you’re particularly well-suited to help other people.
Some VIPs go the extra mile and found their own charitable organization.
But are these celebrity-powered charities effective? Or even: are they doing any good?
To answer these questions, we picked five charities founded by celebrities and ran them through our Kinder Vetting Framework. Let’s see what came out.
Our selection of charities below isn't based on any scientific criteria. We browsed lists of celebrity founded charities and tried to pick out a balanced list
These are the charities that we picked:
The Lopez Family Foundation. Co-founded by journalist Lynda Lopez and her sister singer Jennifer Lopez, the Lopez Family Foundation “advocates and invests in policies and programs that make a positive, measurable impact on communities and makes quality healthcare and health education available for underserved mothers and their children.”
Born This Way Foundation. A charitable organization created in 2012 by Lady Gaga and her mother Cynthia Germanotta “with the goal of creating a kinder and braver world” (we can’t help but sympathize with such aim).
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Created in 1998, the foundation was established with the mission of protecting the world’s last wild places.
The Maddox Jolie-Pitt Foundation was founded in 2003 by Angelina Jolie as a “conservation and community development program in the Samlout Protected Area” (Cambodia).
The Kinder Vetting Framework
At Kinder, we developed a vetting framework to assess the performance of charitable organizations. At the moment, it’s made of two steps but we’re working to add another two in the near future.
The first step is called Initial Screening. With it, we examine the transparency and accountability of charitable organizations by evaluating their official websites.
In particular, we evaluate the charities on five parameters.
This is a fairly low initial threshold. To pass the Initial Screening, you need a score of 95.
The second step is called Organizational Competence. With it, we try to determine whether a charitable organization is competent and well-suited to solve the problems it’s addressing.
If an organization fails the Initial Screening, we usually don’t vet it on its Organizational Competence. Our aim in the next months is to start reaching out to all the organizations that fail the Initial Screening, share our results with them, and ask if they’re willing to improve their score.
So, to start with, we just wanted to see whether the five celebrity-run charities passed the Initial Screening.
I asked our in-house research team to have a look. This is the screenshot that they shared with me:
Again, to pass the Initial Screening you need to score at least 95. None of them did.
Quite discouraged, I read the notes the research team attached to the screenshot.
All charities with the exception of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation lack relevant information about their strategic plans. At the same time, DiCaprio’s organization needs to improve on other parameters like publishing its financial statements.
The Born This Way Foundation’s website was deemed “quite minimalist” by the research team, lacking information about key staff members and financial statements. Similarly, the Lopez Family Foundation should expand its website to include financial statements, strategic plans, relevant information about key staff members, and contact information (they don’t even have a contact form).
Obviously, the fact these five charities don’t pass the Initial Screening doesn’t mean that they’re inherently inefficient. It just suggests that they should work more on their online transparency and accountability.
In general, Kinder is not in the business of bashing charities and we would never share an organization’s poor results without discussing them with the relevant stakeholders beforehand. In this case, we made an exception since these five charities are exceptionally well-backed.
And if you’re Lady Gaga, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, or Angelina Jolie and want to improve the Initial Screening score of your foundation don’t hesitate to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
Header Image: The Wolf of Wall Street © Paramount Pictures
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American Internet celebrity and makeup artist Jeffree Star wants to open his own vegan-friendly fast-food chain.
As reported by LiveKindly, Jeffre Star made the announcement during a live stream on his Youtube channel where he speaks to an audience of 11 million subscribers.
During the video, the makeup guru said that he is "in talks" to start the business. The concept? A vegan-friendly ('that's the real gag") restaurant, selling pink cheeseburgers and cotton candy fries.
Yes, you got that right.
As noted by LiveKindly, this is not Mr Star's first foray into the world of veganism. Over the years, his beauty brand Jeffree Star Cosmetics already launched a series of vegan products like Thirsty, a vegan eyeshadow palette, and, more recently, the four festive vegan lip scrubs.
We'll see whether these business plans will turn out to be something more substantial than a Youtube announcement.
Meanwhile, we can't help but gladly notice that plant-based burgers and veganism at large are gaining momentum across different audiences.
If we want to save our planet and ourselves from climate apocalypse, we need new policies and governmental action. We're not gonna save the Earth changing our household light bulbs.
Extinction Rebellion – a burgeoning social movement to fight climate change that is taking hold in the United Kingdom – is asking for just this: governments must tell the truth about the ecological emergency and enact legally binding measures to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025.
There are no other ways out of this mess: structural change is needed.
However, this doesn’t mean that as individual citizens we can go on a carbon spree without consequences. Or that all the ways to reduce our personal carbon footprints are equally ineffective.
Different studies highlight that there are four effective ways to cut on your individual carbon emissions. And no, changing light bulbs is not one of them.
While we should keep asking for top-down changes, it’s also good to remember that we can start making an impact on the environment right now by adapting our lifestyle.
1) Eat a plant-based diet
I enjoy the flavour of meat a lot and I’d find it difficult to go 100 percent vegetarian (let alone vegan) right now. Nevertheless, I can considerably decrease my meat consumption. This is already highly beneficial for the environment.
Moreover, I can advocate for meat alternatives like plant-based or clean meat.
2) Avoid air travel
Flights are a notorious source of gas emissions. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to avoid flying. Many jobs require travelling on a regular basis and even though in many cases a virtual meeting will do just fine, there are still some occasions in which your physical presence is needed.
How to solve this ethical dilemma? One solution might be to donate some money to carbon offsetting schemes. These projects can go a long way in fighting carbon emissions.
3) Live car-free
Research shows that living car-free saves about 2.4 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year (while a plant-based diet saves 0.8 tonnes of CO2 equivalent every year).
I’m lucky enough to live in the Netherlands, a country where it's easy to move around without a car. This is possible thanks to an efficient public transportation system and the omnipresent cycle lanes.
In this case, it’s interesting to notice how my personal decision to live car-free is supported by environmentally friendly public policies.
4) Have a small family
If someone doesn’t exist, she doesn’t have a carbon footprint. This reasoning might seem at the same time cynical and stupidly obvious. But it’s also true.
According to Population Matters, having one fewer child is 25 more effective in cutting carbon emissions than living without a car.
What else could I do to reduce my carbon footprint?
Support Cool Earth, a highly effective organization that we thoroughly vetted.
Cool Earth is not only an offset scheme. It provides grant funding to rainforest communities, supporting community work in rainforest protection and ensures their voice is heard in agreements about the future of the rainforests. At the time of writing, 234,436,540 tonnes of CO2 has been stored as a result of their projects. Their Asháninka project shields millions of acres of forest from loggers, with 901,679 acres saved to date.
You too can help to save our planet. A more liveable Earth is just a click away 👇
In the face of climate disaster, a new environmental movement by the name of Extinction Rebellion has risen up, and they will make sure you hear their plea — which evidently is the plea of our planet.
October 2018 was a big bad month in terms of news about the future of our living planet. The people of the world were confronted with two reports stating climate breakdown is happening right before our eyes and it’s going to destroy us and everything we touch in the foreseeable future.
The first was the report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), essentially letting us know that the direness of our living planet’s condition is much worse than we thought it would be by 2018 and that we have less than a decade to start fixing it.
The second piece of bad news came not much after the IPCC report in another report, this time published by the WWF, stating that since 1970 we, humanity, have destroyed 60 percent of all mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles.
Extinction Rebellion launched on 31 October 2018, following a month that came with the two harrowing reports on the state of our planet and the living species that inhabit it. In short, Extinction Rebellion is an organisation and a social movement aiming to avert climate catastrophe and the destruction of our living planet. They’re here to drive radical change through nonviolent resistance.
By no means, nonviolent means passive in Extinction Rebellion’s case (and many more movements that came before and inspired it). The Rebels have already taken to the streets and they’re not planning on stopping until sustainable, effective change is made.
Since their official launch on October 31, which came in the form of a rally and a sit-in to block Parliament Square in London, Extinction Rebellion has been disrupting public space and public discourse. They have since glued their hands to the United Kingdom Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, blocked access to UK Prime Minister’s residence and office, simultaneously blocked five bridges in London, held a funeral service for the future of life, and swarmed London’s roads for several minutes at a time, gridlocking the city’s traffic.
These are all well-planned actions of mass civil disobedience. They are respectful, nonviolent, considerate yet tenacious. Since their launch, thousands of rebels have gotten arrested and hundreds have gone to jail. This is all part of the plan. People who get arrested and people who go to jail are the ones who declared, upon joining the rebellion, they would be okay with these consequences. They are given all the information they need before the action and supported throughout the whole experience by the rebellion.
Roger Hallam, one of Extinction Rebellion’s organisers and a PHD researcher on effective radical campaign design, explains that getting willingly arrested is a common practice in mass civil disobedience. It is a nonviolent way of grabbing both the public’s and the government’s attention.
As environmentalist writer George Monbiot put it in Extinction Rebellion’s launch protest:
Such examples of mass civil disobedience serve Extinction Rebellion’s first and most immediate course of action: to inform the general public about the size and urgency of the crisis we are facing at this moment in time. They claim that our current political system and those in charge are failing to protect citizens of the world from future mass extinction and that mainstream media is complicit in this crime because they, too, are failing people by not sufficiently covering the breakdown of our living planet and its future effects on human life.
The Extinction Rebellion’s message is loud, as demonstrated above, and clear. They want governments, starting with the government of their origin, The UK, to treat climate catastrophe as what it is: a looming crisis that will negatively affect all life on earth.
Header image is by Billy Rickards via Extinction Rebellion