Heavy-hitters such as billionaire businessmen Bill Gates and Warren Buffet often take center stage when talk turns to charitable giving, but a new segment of do-gooders has been grabbing headlines: celebrity philanthropists, or "celanthropists."
While actors Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Bono are well-known for their causes, the newest star to emerge in a big way is two-time Grammy-winning musician, singer and creative sartorialist Lady Gaga.
Matthew Bishop, author of "Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World," has named Lady Gaga as one to watch on the charitable scene this year. Her causes include the homeless and youth. She partnered with Virgin Mobile to offer VIP tickets to her Monster Ball concert for those who volunteer time to those causes, raising $80,000. She has also raised $500,000 for victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Bishop wrote on his blog that he expects her to step up her charitable efforts this year, supporting causes that are dear to her fans' hearts. That's a smart move. Putting her star power behind the charities that people with fewer financial resources are passionate about means that she marshals large groups around specific causes, adding up to more bang for the buck.
Bishop's blog names actor Ben Affleck as another one to watch in the coming year and predicts that actor Ashton Kutcher might step up his philanthropy as a means to recover from negative publicity around the breakup of his marriage to Demi Moore. He also predicts that social media will become a bigger player in philanthropy, giving both the celebrities and the charities welcome and unwelcome publicity.
What do you think about celebrities putting their star power to work in philanthropy?
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