NET WORTH: $500 million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Singer
FUNDING AREAS: Health, Animal Care, Arts, Human Services
OVERVIEW: Gloria Estefan and her husband Emilio Estefan move their philanthropy through the Gloria Estefan Foundation, which, in recent years, has been giving in the neighborhood of a few hundred thousand dollars annually. Estefan's philanthropy focuses on Miami, her longtime residence, with health, human services, youth, and animal care outfits receiving support. Estefan has also given to Hispanic organizations.
BACKGROUND: Gloria Estefan fled Cuba with her family when Fidel Castro rose to power. Her father had been a Cuban soldier and bodyguard of President Batista. As a child, Estefan liked to write poetry, and took classical guitar lessons. In the mid 1970s, she met Emilio Estefan, her future husband, who led a band that played popular Latin music. Initially, Estefan only sang on weekends because she was still attending the University of Miami. Eventually, Estefan became the lead singer and the band was renamed the Miami Sound Machine. Estefan later later performed solo, as well. She is one of the top-selling music artists of all time and has won multiple awards.
HEALTH: There are certainly personal elements to some of this philanthropy. For one, Estefan's father, upon return from Vietnam, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, possibly as a result of herbicide exposure while serving in the army. As well, in the early 1990s, Estefan's band bus was involved in an accident, and Estefan suffered a broken vertebra in her back. Following her own brush with paralysis, Estefan teamed up with the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and served as the capital campaign director for the Miami Project’s new building campaign, which raised over $40 million dollars. She and Emilio continue to support Miami Project via their foundation, as well as places like Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Here's Help, which deals with substance abuse.
ANIMAL CARE: Grantees have included dNorth Shore Animal Hospital, Pelican Harbor Seabird Station, Humane Society of Greater Miami, and the Cesar Millan Foundation, whose mission is to "create and deliver community humane education programs and promote animal welfare."
HISPANIC CAUSES: Given Estefan's background, it's no surprise that she's also funded outfits like Hispanic Unity of Florida, which was founded in 1982 as a haven for immigrants and refugees, and has grown to serve "diverse and multi-cultural working families from the United States as well as more than 25 other countries." Other grantees have included Smithsonian Latino Center.
OTHER: Sums have also gone to outfits that serve youth and children such as Amigos Together for the Kids, "a nonprofit dedicated to preventing child abuse and neglect," and to schools such as Miami Senior High School, and Berklee College of Music. At least $1 million alone went to University of Miami, her alma mater, in 2006. She and Emilio have also supported human services organizations like World Central Kitchen.
LOOKING AHEAD: Estefan has amassed quite a fortune over the years, not only through music but through restaurant and hotel management, and other ventures. She's a Miami mainstay and should be watched by those in the area.
The foundation accepts requests at the address below:
The Gloria Estefan Foundation, Inc.
420 Jefferson Ave.
Miami, FL 33139
Telephone: (305) 534-4430