Guest Author - Tricia Krietzberg
Say what you want about Michael Jackson – everyone has a different opinion about the man, his life and his music. One thing there is no debate about is how charity-minded Michael Jackson was. As aware as I am about charity, I thought I was pretty aware of Michael Jackson’s charitable giving. But I have learned something about Michael Jackson's generosity and his charitable giving that I never knew. In the year 2000, Jackson was named by the Guinness Book of World Records as being the pop star who donated the most money to charity.
The one charitable act that the majority of folks probably remember Michael Jackson for is his involvement in the celebrity-filled production of the 1985 song “We Are the World.” Jackson co-wrote the song with Lionel Richie, and it eventually produced $63 million to help African people suffering through a horrid famine. But Jackson’s contributions to society go way beyond “We Are the World.”
Jackson was also famous for granting wishes to young fans who wanted to meet him or attend his concerts. He was probably most known for his friendship with young AIDS victim Ryan White, on whose behalf Jackson fought against AIDS discrimination. But there were countless other children over the years that were treated to backstage passes at concerts, in-person hospital visits and more. It was a common occurrence for Jackson to invite hundreds of children from various circumstances to his Neverland Ranch for a little fun.
Did you know that Jackson donated millions of dollars Jackson from his music sales, touring and advertising revenue? Everyone remembers when Jackson suffered burns in a horrible accident during the filming of the now famous Pepsi commercial in 1984. What many people forget is that Jackson donated all the money he earned from Pepsi, $1.5 million, to set-up the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children at the Brotman Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for his burns.
Jackson also donated all the proceeds from his single, “Man in the Mirror” to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children with cancer. Then, in 1992, Jackson led another world tour to raise funds for his “Heal the World Foundation.” Over the years, the Foundation supported causes including the fight against AIDS, Juvenile Diabetes, the Los Angeles riots, war-stricken children, and victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Throughout his short life, Jackson gave willingly of his time, talents, and money to help people from all walks of life. Jackson has been a huge supporter of the Boys and Girls Clubs, the United Negro College Fund, various AIDS organizations, the American Cancer Society, and more. Most of all, Jackson gave to children – abused children, sick children, needy children. He gave and gave, more than $300 million in his lifetime.
Ironically enough, before he died, Jackson made arrangements to yet again donate part of the proceeds of his upcoming tour to charity. Though he did not get the chance to continue helping people while he was alive, he is doing so after his death by setting aside 20% of his assets to charity.
I’d say that’s a pretty amazing charitable legacy. Again, say what you want about Michael Jackson. But you simply can’t deny that the man gave more willingly of his money and time than most millionaires out there do. And that’s the truth.
For a huge list of contributions Jackson made in his lifetime, check out Jackson Action.
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