Who Runs The World? Powerful Female Celebrities

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In Forbes’ roundup of the most powerful, financially successful women on the planet, women in entertainment ruled. “The celebrities on Forbes’ list of The World’s Most Powerful Women are the entertainers and tastemakers who are inspiring change and driving conversation,” explains the financial resource for global leaders in business. Happily, its list of The World’s Most Powerful Women was also a list that represented major philanthropists. Here are some of the top givers:

Shakira Mebarak. Shakira has always been really great at staying out of the public eye (and any media drama) despite her massive success as a singer in both America and her native Colombia. The world-renowned performer is also one of the most powerful women on the planet, and is revered for the ways she gives back to others. Shakira has been a huge donor for educational initiatives, including her formation of the Barefoot Foundation and her promise to build new schools in earthquake-devastated Haiti. She has also performed at various benefit concerts and has partnered with many human rights initiatives.

Oprah Winfrey. It probably comes as no surprise that Oprah Winfrey, arguably one of the world’s most influential women EVER, is on yet another of Forbes’ powerful people lists. Oprah is the only African American billionaire in American, and has given much of her fortune away to others. To date, she’s donated $400 million to educational causes and $100 million to her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. She also gave away hundreds of thousands of dollars annually on her network talk show, and continues to pave the way for philanthropic causes.

Beyoncé Knowles. Another celebrity whose needs no introduction is the formidable Beyoncé Knowles. The independent woman has been at the forefront of women’s empowerment in philanthropy, headlining benefit concerts such as “Chime for Change.” Through social media she has inspired humanitarian efforts, and has donated funds to countless organizations that benefit education, the arts, fighting hunger, and women’s issues. She and the other women featured represent the most powerful forces for education, equality, and the humanities globally.

Is it any coincidence that these powerful women are all known best by only their first names? Learn more about the women that rule the philanthropic world here.

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Oprah Gives Back

Oprah Winfrey
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Oprah Winfrey is one of the most recognizable, successful women in business.  While most know her from her television talk show, she runs a successful magazine, O Magazine, and has her finger in many other business ventures such as her film company Harpo.

However, she is also very concerned with giving back to the community.  She basically has three main branches of philanthropy which she is involved in.  They are Oprah’s Angel Network, the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy and the Superstorm Sandy Relief Effort.

She has donated money toward education, disaster relief and other causes.  One of the most important things she has done is to open schools for girls in South Africa.  One school is called the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for girls, and their first class has graduated.

On December 31, 2006, the academy opened its doors to a group of hand-picked students.

Oprah said, “People lower their expectations for what a disadvantaged child can do, and I wanted to take that on.”

The school opened with much fanfare as it was a state-of-the art facility.  It had a dance center, dining hall, clean bedding (as it’s a boarding school), well-designed classrooms and indoor plumbing.  Amazingly, the girls were most impressed with the showers and toilets.  After having to walk more than a mile to clean water, this was a vast improvement.  The school even had to implement rules about how long you could use the showers because the girls just wanted to stay in there all day.

One girl said that her room at school is bigger than the house she came from.  Yet, she says, that, for her is home.  These girls do walk the line between two worlds.  Oprah has said she did a little of that growing up.

She said, “I lived in the inner-city with my mother on welfare, and I had an opportunity in the 9th grade to go to a school in the suburbs where I was one of two black kids out of 2,000.  Every morning I would take the city bus with all of the maids.  I would walk into a school where kids had allowances, and they had parents who had wealth, and I had none of that.  I would get on the bus with the maids going home and walk back into my inner-city community and would have to balance who you are here and who you are there.”

Oprah said not all the students will become doctors, lawyers or world leaders, but it will give them opportunities they otherwise would never have had.

To learn more about Oprah, visit our profile.


Prominent People in Philanthropy: Jenny Farrelly

Jenny Farrelly
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Jenny Farrelly is a successful businesswoman who is dedicated to helping young people move up in the world. With a B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Farrelly knows how far a good education can take a person.

Her education has taken her to KKR, the private equity giant led by co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts. Jenny Farrelly is a member of the Global Public Affairs team and key media contact for KKR. Her education was specialized for work in finance and corporate communications, and she has worked for other notable corporations like Edelman’s Corporate & Financial Communications practice, Citigroup, and Stifel Nicolas.

Jenny Farrelly’s résumé is enviable, but through her involvement in programs like the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN) and Student Sponsor Partners (SSP), she has proven that she’s dedicated to helping others do the same.

To read the entire profile on Jenny Farrelly, visit here.


Prominent People in Philanthropy: Oprah Winfrey

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If you’re like many of the TV-watchers in the United States, you grew up (physically or emotionally) listening to Oprah Winfrey. With her intriguing news coverage, appeal to the ethos of the audience, and urgent calls to action, Oprah Winfrey won the ratings and the hearts of the United States. Her path to television royalty was not an easy one, however. Winfrey grew up in poverty and dealt with many difficult issues including teenage pregnancy, molestation, and disadvantages that come with lack of financial resources. If anyone embodies the motto, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade,” it’s Winfrey. What many believe marked Winfrey’s success was her ability to work “with” her audience to achieve goals like weight loss, health, Christmas shopping, and even completing reading lists. This ability to work towards bettering herself and those around her lead to the creation of her network, her contributions to education, and her landing on 2012 Forbes Top 400 list for philanthropy.

For more information on Oprah Winfrey, click here!


Prominent People in Philanthropy: Jon Bon Jovi

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It’s safe to say that Jon Bon Jovi don’t “give love a bad name,” especially with the kindness he exudes in his philanthropic efforts. While almost everyone is aware of his popular contributions to the rock music industry, considerably fewer know of his charitable generosity. Since the 1980’s, when Bon Jovi’s stardom rose, he has been giving to philanthropic causes. His contributions started small and eventually experienced a snowball affect. This year, Bon Jovi was rated number one on Forbes’ Most Charitable Celebrity list for his efforts aiding Special Olympics, American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Project H.O.M.E, Covenant House, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and several other causes and non-profits. He has spent time educating himself on the plights of the less fortunate including homelessness and poverty.

To read more about Jon Bon Jovi’s philanthropic efforts, click on the link!