Madonna

NET WORTH: $520 Million, estimated

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Singer

FUNDING AREAS: Women, Education, Global Development & Humanitarian 

OVERVIEW: Madonna's Ray of Light Foundation supports organizations around the world working to promote peace, equal rights and education for all. The foundation works both in the United States as well as globally. The Ray of Light Foundation has a website, though information for prospective grantees is limited.  

BACKGROUND: Madonna was born in Michigan in 1958. In the 1980s, she went solo as a pop singer and became a sensation. She had a series of hit singles from her studio albums “Like A Virgin” and “True Blue” that established her as a pop icon. In 2007, Guinness World Records listed her as the world’s most successful female recording artist of all time and she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. 

ISSUES:

RAY OF LIGHT FOUNDATION: Madonna established Ray of Light Foundation in the late 1990s. The aim of the charity is to support organizations around the world working to promote peace, equal rights and education for all. Ray of Light's main focuses include The Afghan Institute of Learning, Palestine Fair Trade Association (PFTA) a "union of more than 1700 small farmers working with fair trade cooperatives across Palestine," and Raising Malawi, a nonprofit Madonna cofounded in 2006 whose mission is to "bring an end to the extreme poverty and hardship endured by Malawi's orphans and vulnerable children." Madonna and Ray of Light also support Global Fund for Women. 

Back in the U.S., some of Madonna's philanthropy focuses on her native Michigan, particularly Detroit. She's helped fund the Detroit Achievement Academy, a free public charter school.

Other grantees have included The Empowerment Plan, "a Detroit nonprofit that hires previously homeless women to make sleeping bag coats for homeless people," On The Ground, which supports "sustainable community development in farming regions across the world," JP Haitian Relief Organization, and the Downtown Boxing Gym Youth Program in Detroit. 

LOOKING FORWARD: In her 50s, Madonna still has plenty of time left to give. As one of the wealthiest singers in the world, expect plenty of money to continue to stream to causes around the world. Apart from Ray of Light Foundation, Madonna might also have more direct avenues of giving, and some important gifts may be missing from this rundown. 

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