How This Funnyman Does His Philanthropy

Steve Martin is popularly known for his comedy, from his first feature-length film role in the The Jerk to movies like Planes Trains & Automobiles, L.A. Story, and Father of the Bride. Martin is also known for his stand-up and Saturday Night Live appearances. But apart from that, he's written books and plays, and has been playing the banjo—expertly—for more than four decades. In fact, a collection of his banjo compositions earned him the Grammy for Bluegrass Album of the Year in 2010. And then there's his art collecting. And his skills as a magician. And probably a few things we left out. 

Of course, Martin isn't the only entertainer who has a diverse portfolio of skills. These kinds of hyphenate celebrities not only get to express their creativity in different arenas; they can also gain increased financial flexibility and success. In Martin's case, that's led to a net worth of around $110 million, according to some estimates, further proof that it can pay to master many talents.

Martin has put some of his wealth toward philanthropy, and in 1997, he founded the Steve Martin Charitable Foundation. The outfit doesn't have much of a web presence, and it has several key interests worth knowing about:

1. The Foundation Supports Arts and Culture

Recent money from the Martin Charitable Foundation has gone to Los Angeles County Museum of Art ($2,500 in 2013), Elevator Repair Service theater group in New York, Whitney Museum of Art, Huntington Library (which received $100,000 in 2013 and a $1 million gift back in 2005), and more. In fact, the majority of the foundation's recent grantees have been related to arts and culture.

True to Martin's passion for the banjo, in 2010, he established the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. The 2015 prize was recently awarded to Danny Barnes, a clawhammer and three-finger picker from Texas. Recipients receive a $50,000 cash prize and a bronze sculpture. Past recipients have also joined Martin in performing on the Late Show with David Letterman. The Steve Martin Charitable Foundation funds the prize, while a panel of musical luminaries that includes Martin, Bela Fleck, Alison Brown and others chooses the winner.

2. The Foundation Provides Support for Health Issues

Martin suffers from tinnitus, a condition that causes ringing or buzzing in the ears. He gave the American Tinnitus Association a $10,000 grant in 2013. Support has also gone to the Echo Foundation in Culver City toward education for hearing-impaired students.

3. Martin's Support Has Also Gone to the Environment

Recent money has gone to NRDC, Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation (CERF), which "promotes the study of the structure and functions of estuaries and the effects of human activities on these environments," and TreePeople, which "promotes sustainable urban ecosystems in the Greater Los Angeles area."

Related: Steve Martin Glitzy Giving Profile