NET WORTH: $120 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Actor, Director, Producer
FUNDING AREAS: Children in Haiti, Syrian refugees
OVERVIEW: Ben Stiller founded the Stiller Foundation in 2010, which seeks to promote the well-being of children worldwide through education initiatives. The foundation focuses on education for children in Haiti by rebuilding schools. In July 2018, the UNHCR appointed him its goodwill ambassador.
BACKGROUND: The son of comedian-actors Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, Ben Stiller grew up in New York City. He attended UCLA but left to act. Early in his career, he wrote for Saturday Night Live and created the short-lived The Ben Stiller Show. He has starred in many hit films, such as There's Something About Mary, Zoolander, Meet the Parents, and the Night at the Museum films.
CHILDREN IN HAITI: Stiller took trips to Haiti and Africa in 2009 and wrote that it was "pretty devastating to see the conditions that a huge amount of people in the world live in. Poverty is a worldwide problem, as we all know, even in the U.S...so I started this 'foundation' as a way of sort of channeling any funds and attention I could help raise into helping the people I think are doing amazing work to solve this problem."
In 2010, Stiller started the Stiller Foundation, which promotes the well-being of children worldwide through initiatives in education. The foundation so far has been laser-focused on Haiti, supporting Architecture for Humanity, a non-profit design services firm, and its Haiti Schools Initiative, as well as the Digicel Foundation, to construct or repair around a dozen schools throughout that nation in the wake of the 2010 earthquake. Since 2011, the Stiller Foundation has worked in concert with Artists for Haiti to support reconstruction. In 2009, Stiller launched the StillerStrong campaign in concert with Save the Children to raise funds for the Ceverine School in Haiti.
OTHER: The Stiller Foundation partnered with the Balfour Education Center, Bicycles for Humanity, and the Waipa Foundation, which works to "restore Waipa as a Native Hawaiian learning center and community center." Support has gone to Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts in New York and New Jersey, through Covenant House and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.
LOOKING FORWARD: Only in his 50s, Stiller is still very active in Hollywood, but his growing philanthropy should be watched as well. In addition to Haiti, he has talked about his experiences in Africa, which may emerge as a greater focus. The UNHCR appointed him its goodwill ambassador, which may indicate a future emphasis on refugees in his grantmaking. Stiller may have other avenues of giving, however, so important gifts may be missing from this rundown.