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Celebrities have a large influence on American culture, and for better or worse, inspire many of the trends in everything from fashion to baby names to important social issues.
When Victoria Beckham changes her hairstyle, women flock to the salon to get the same cut. When Angelina Jolie gets involved with a cause, suddenly there's renewed interest in that issue. But what motivates and inspires these celebrities? Many celebs point to their children as the source of motivation for much of what they do, but even more so when it comes to celebrities getting involved in philanthropic activities. Like mothers the world over, famous moms acknowledge that becoming a parent has changed their perspective and they have been encouraged to find ways to give back. The list of famous philanthropic moms is a long one, but below I've highlighted 5 of my favorite celeb moms who inspire me by the ways they give back.
Salma Hayek The Mexican actress has long been a champion for battered women and created her own charity, the Salma Hayek Foundation, to raise awareness about violence against women. Since the birth of her daughter in 2007, she has added helping children to her charity interests. Her foundation now also works with disadvantaged children on the streets of Mexico, helping them to overcome problems like violence or lack of education. In addition, she has become an advocate for stopping the spread of maternal and neonatal tetanus in developing countries by being the spokesperson for the Pampers 1 Pack = 1 Vaccine campaign which allows UNICEF to provide tetanus vaccines to pregnant women. "In our own small way, this is an opportunity for moms like me here in North America to help other mothers on a global level,” Hayek explains her motivation for getting involved in this issue.
Reese Witherspoon As a mother of two, Witherspoon has a special passion for children's issues, exemplified by her support of Save the Children and by serving on the board of the Children's Defense Fund. She also serves as the honorary chair of and the global ambassador for the Avon Foundation, which supports women issues and focuses on breast cancer research and the prevention of domestic violence. Witherspoon talks about how her role as a mother inspires her to give back, "As a woman and a mother I care deeply about the well being of other women and children throughout the world and through the years, I have always looked for opportunities to make a difference."
Tina Fey Fey manages to balance writing and starring in an award-winning TV show and being the mother of a young daughter, all while supporting numerous causes. In 2009, she was named among the Mothers Who Make a Difference by Love Our Children USA, an organization that fights violence against children. Her other philanthropic activities include raising awareness about autism by participating in a comedy benefit show entitled a Night of Too Many Stars and appearing at the 64th Golden Globe Awards in a blue puzzle piece which is the logo of Autism Speaks, an organization focused on autism research and advocacy. Fey is also a supporter of Mercy Corps, a global relief and development organization, in their campaign to end world hunger and was the 2009 national spokesperson for the Light The Night Walk, which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Jennifer Lopez Like Tina Fey, Lopez was also named by Love Our Children USA as one of the Mothers Who Make a Difference. The mother of twins, Lopez received the Artists for Amnesty International award in recognition of her work as producer and star of Bordertown, a film about the ongoing murders of hundreds of women in the border city of Juárez, Mexico. She also assisted in launching a bilingual website to raise awareness about this issue. In addition, she has become an advocate for vaccinations abroad to prevent childhood illnesses.
Madonna The pop icon is a mother of 4 children, 2 of whom she has adopted from Malawi, which is why the country holds a special place in her heart. In 2006, she co-founded Raising Malawi, a nonprofit that supports community-based organizations which provide children and caregivers with food, shelter, education, and medical care. In addition, Raising Malawi works with NGOs that offer impoverished families with opportunities for sustainability such as Millennium Promise. What's more is that Madonna matches every dollar donated to Raising Malawi. She also is a Patron of Children of Peace, an organization that fosters friendship between Israeli and Palestinian children.
Which celebrity moms do you admire? To find out how your favorite celebrities give back, check out the site Look to the Stars.