Leonardo DiCaprio

NET WORTH: $245 million, estimated

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Film & Television

FUNDING AREAS: Environment

OVERVIEW: DiCaprio has a singular focus on the environment, and has been donating to environmental causes through the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) for some two decades. DiCaprio was recently named a United Nations Messenger of Peace for climate advocacy.

BACKGROUND: DiCaprio grew up with his mother in Los Angeles, and started acting at a young age. Filming his first commercial when he was 14, he soon landed bit parts on a number of television shows, most notably Growing Pains. His first big screen role was in This Boy’s Life, followed by What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, for which he was nominated for both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. He has since starred in dozens of films, most notably Titanic, and been nominated for a total of five Academy Awards and ten Golden Globes.

ISSUES:

ENVIRONMENT: Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the most prominent celebrities in environmental activism. He started the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) in 1998 in order to give some structure to his philanthropy and provide funding for environmental causes. He also serves on the boards of the World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, the funders’ collaborative Oceans 5, and International Fund for Animal Welfare.

LDF has awarded over $30 million since 2010 to fund tens of high-impact projects in more than 44 countries across South-East Asia, Central Asia, Africa, North, Central and South America, the Eastern Pacific, the Arctic, Antarctica, the South Pacific, and the Indian Ocean. Areas of focus include "Protecting Wildlife," "Saving Our Oceans," and "Restoring Wetlands." Projects include working with partner NRDC on a project that provides an "in-depth review of China’s ivory trade policies and domestic ivory market, providing guidance to the CITES Management Authority of China and the country’s State Forestry Administration." Some of his other projects include partnering with WWF to save the Sumatran rainforest, which is home many large endangered mammals, and making an appeal to get people to donate to save the polar bears on behalf of the NRDC. 

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: DiCaprio has made grants to Concern Worldwide to provide people in Tanzania, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Darfur with sustainable access to clean water. He also made a $2 million gift to the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund in the wake of the earthquake there.

LOOKING FORWARD:  As the newly appointed UN Messenger, expect DiCaprio to become more involved with environmental policy issues. If there’s another area that he’s interested in, it’s probably global development, but any major movement on an issue other than the environment would come as a surprise.

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