NET WORTH: $250 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Actor, Director, Producer & Screenwriter
FUNDING AREAS: Humanitarian Aid & Global Development, Poverty
OVERVIEW: Hollywood superstar George Clooney is a well-known humanitarian and political activist with strong interests in the ongoing Sudan conflict. Along with his Ocean’s 11 co-stars Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, and Brad Pitt, and producer Jerry Weintraub, George Clooney co-founded Not On Our Watch, whose goal is to stop the genocide occurring in Sudan. Clooney's work has also involved antipoverty efforts. It's not clear how much of his own wealth Clooney has contributed to his causes over the years.
BACKGROUND: George Clooney was born in Lexington, Kentucky to a former beauty queen and a former anchorman and game show host. After his cousin got him a small part in feature film, Clooney caught the acting bug and began to work in the industry. His first major role was on the drama E.R. From that show, he broke into film, becoming a major movie star.
HUMANITARIAN AID & GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: As a humanitarian, Clooney is well known for his work to stop genocide in Sudan through Not On Our Watch, and he has visited the area personally. Work in Darfur has involved advocacy and aid. The organization "contributes significant funds towards lifesaving, humanitarian, and emergency programs in the Darfur region." So far, Not On Our Watch has given over $7.5 million to support these projects. Apart from work in Darfur, the organization also operates in Burma and Zimbabwe. Work in Zimbabwe has included supporting UNICEF in its child protection and welfare services efforts for Zimbabwean refugee children.
In 2012, Clooney auctioned off a 2008 Telsa Roadster car (valued between $100,000-$150,000) the proceeds of which went to supporting causes in the Sudan. Clooney also launched the Satellite Sentinel Project, a partnership between the Enough Project and DigitalGlobe, which "conducts monitoring of the border between Sudan and South Sudan to assess the human security situation, identify potential threats to civilians, and detect, deter and document war crimes and crimes against humanity." Clooney also hosted a Hope for Haiti telethon in Los Angeles.
Last decade, George Clooney and the Running Heart Foundation gave the city of Rome, Italy ten BMW scooters equipped with first aid for heart problems. In 2008, Clooney was made a UN Messenger for Peace, and in 2012, he was arrested, along with his father, while protesting outside the Sudanese embassy in Washington.
POVERTY: Clooney has sat on the board of trustees of United Way, and has supported the charity, including providing $1 million to the United Way Hurricane Katrina Response Fund. Clooney has also supported the ONE Campaign, dedicated to fighting poverty in Africa. Another outfit Clooney has supported in this area is Realizing the Dream, a nonprofit founded by by Martin Luther King III, which aims to "champion freedom, justice, and equality by working to eliminate poverty, build community and foster peace through nonviolence.”
CLOONEY FOUNDATION FOR JUSTICE: In late 2016, George and Amal Clooney cofounded the Clooney Foundation for Justice (CFJ), which so far has largely focused on Syrian refugees. CFJ is designing a program to help out-of-school children in Lebanon, Syrian refugees among them, a chance to go back to the classroom. Partners in this program include Google.org and the Radcliffe Foundation. CFJ is also developing its Trial Watch Project, an initiative focused on monitoring, reporting on, and responding to trials around the world which pose a high risk of human rights violations." CFJ, as well, has sponsored the resettlement of Syrian and Yazidi refugees in the United States and plans to continue to offer support and assistance.
It's worth noting that apart from CFJ presidents George and Amal Clooney, CFJ Executive Director David Pressman is the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for Special Political Affairs.
LOOKING FORWARD: With the launch of a new foundation, expect George and Amal Clooney's philanthropy to continue to ramp up. Global issues should remain a top priority in the coming years.