A variety of humanitarian causes, including ending genocide in places like Darfur, providing relief to refugees and helping AIDS orphans. Jolie, 31, the mother of Maddox, 5, Pax, 3, Zahara, 2, and Shiloh, 1, serves as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency, while Pitt, 43, also champions the rebuilding of New Orleans.
WHY THEY DO IT
“You see these people who are really fighting something, who are really surviving, who have so much pain and loss,” Jolie told CNN last year of her visits to refugee camps. “I am so inspired by these people.” Says Pitt: “Being a father means being concerned about the plight of all children, especially the children who don’t have the opportunities mine have…. We could be doing better. It makes me want to get involved.”
The $40 million Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for disadvantaged girls in South Africa. She has also built 60 schools in 13 countries through her Oprah‘s Angel Network and donated more than $200 million to educational and children’s organizations around the world through the Oprah Winfrey Foundation.
WHY SHE DOES IT
“Education is the most important gift you can give anyone, because giving an education begins to change a life forever,” says Winfrey, 53. “No child should have to go to a school where there is no running water. Every child should feel safe and secure. Every child should have access to books that inspire. Every child’s love of learning should be supported and nurtured.”
To learn more, go to http://www.oprah.com/ophilanthropy
NICOLE KIDMAN WOMEN’S RIGHTS
UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women that promotes antirape laws, labor rights and an end to domestic violence around the world.
WHY’S SHE’S MOTIVATED
Last October she traveled to Kosovo to hear firsthand how violence is impacting women’s lives. “You can’t help but be affected when women share their experiences with you,” says Kidman. “When you learn that violence against women is the most widespread human rights violation, you have to do whatever you can.”
To learn more, go to http://www.unifem.org/support
HURRICANE RELIEF AND EDUCATION
The rebuilding of the Katrina-ravaged Warren Easton Senior High School in New Orleans. Bullock, 42, is also helping to create the Ann Richards School for Young Women Leaders, in Austin, Texas, honoring the late Texas governor.
WHY SHE DOES IT
“There will always be a need for help, and if I see the desire to make a change for the better, I’m happy to lend a hand. It’s important to me for the same reasons millions of other people are willing to take care of their neighbors.”
To learn more, go to http://www.warreneastoncharterfoundation.com
Getting the nation’s 500,000 school buses to switch from fossil fuels to cleaner-burning biodiesel fuels, which are refined from vegetable oils.
WHY SHE GOT INVOLVED
The 39-year-old mom to twins, Phinneaus and Hazel, 2, is expecting her third child this summer, and has credited her activism to “motherhood really urging my consciousness along into different places.”
To learn more, go to http://www.citizensschoolbus.org
KEEP A CHILD ALIVE, which provides HIV and AIDS medicine to families in developing countries.
WHY SHE GOT INVOLVED
Visiting South Africa in 2002, Keys was struck by the devastation caused by the AIDS pandemic. Since then, she has helped raised $3 million for the organization and helped build a clinic in Durban, South Africa.
“I went back last April to meet the doctors we hired, see the food delivered and the medicine given out, and it was an incredible feeling,” says the singer, 27. “Being involved has given me a greater sense of purpose. It makes me see the power that we all have.”
To learn more, go to http://www.keepachildalive.org
RELIEF FOR DARFUR
The International Crisis Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to resolving deadly conflicts in places like Darfur. In April 2006 Clooney visited refugee camps in the African country and later testified before the U.N. Security Council about the tragedy.
WHY HE’S MOTIVATED: “My visit certainly made me more passionate about it,” says Clooney, 46. “But it’s important that a trip like that isn’t about how it affected me. That’s the danger of celebrity—to go, ‘It was so sad for me.’ The truth is, it’s sad for the millions of people whose lives are being destroyed.”
To learn more, go to http://www.crisisgroup.org
The TZone Foundation, a nonprofit organization that began as a camp for teen girls, but now provides grants to grassroots groups that serve low-income women. Plus, Banks recently launched the “So What?” campaign to help women deal with body images issues.
WHY SHE DOES IT
“This is something that I started with my own money years ago when it wasn’t hip,” says Banks, 33. “I felt like I needed to give back.”
To learn more, go to http://www.tzonefoundation.org
ON THE BOARD OF
The Natural Resources Defense Council. DiCaprio, 32, also just finished making the documentary The 11th Hour (due out late summer), about the challenges facing the global environment.
WHY HE’S MOTIVATED
“This is my issue, and I want to stay focused on it. There’s so much we can do to create a sustainable environment. It’s exciting to learn about all the solutions that are out there already.”