A Southern Focus: A Look At Morgan Freeman's Philanthropy

Morgan Freeman was born in Memphis and raised in Mississippi and Chicago. His net worth is $120 million, according to some estimates. Despite a long Hollywood career and major roles in such high-profile films as The Shawshank Redemption and Million Dollar Baby, Freeman has eschewed Hollywood living and spends much of his time in Mississippi. The actor co-owns a blues club in Clarksdale, Mississippi, called Ground Zero Blues Club. Much of Freeman's philanthropy has also focused on the Magnolia State.

Freeman moves his philanthropy through the Rock River Foundation, which doesn't have much of a web presence or a clear way to get in touch. The foundation's treasurer does have an email address, however. In the most recent tax year for which information is available, a little over $930,000 went out the door.

Through Rock River Foundation, Freeman has supported educational outfits in Mississippi, including Delta State University Foundation, Mississippi State University Foundation (which received nearly $650,000 in the 2013 fiscal year), and Northwest Community College Foundation in Senatobia. Outside the state, recent money has gone to the University of Kentucky. On the K-12 front, funds have gone to outfits such as Teach for America, East Tallahatchie School District, and Mississippi Teacher Corps, which "selects exceptional college graduates to teach in high-poverty public schools in Mississippi." Sums have also gone to youth outfits such as Boys & Girls Club of the Mississippi Delta.

Freeman also supports arts and culture. In the 2013 fiscal year, $60,000 went to Mississippi Museum of Art and another $60,000 went to Charleston Arts and Revitalization Effort (CARE), created to foster "the economic development of Charleston, Mississippi, through the arts while maintaining the heritage and valuable history of the community." A component of this philanthropy involves music, with recent money going to Sunflower River Blues and Gospel Festival, and Yocona International Folk Festival.

Money has also gone to Mississippi community organizations such as Clarksdale Downtown Development Association. Apart from Rock River Foundation, Freeman is a founder of PLAN!T NOW, "an organization focused on natural disaster preparedness." Freeman has also supported organizations including Artists for a New South Africa, Stand Up to Cancer and the Campaign for Female Education. Finally, we should note that Freeman may have other more direct ways of giving and important gifts may be missing from this rundown.

Related: Morgan Freeman