NET WORTH: $1.2 billion
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Musician
FUNDING AREAS: Animal Welfare, Environment, Health, Humanitarian Causes
OVERVIEW: Paul McCartney is known primarily for his support of animal rights and environmental organizations, though he’s also championed a number of humanitarian causes, and supports charities that fight cancer as well.
BACKGROUND: Paul McCartney's story as a founding member of the Beatles is legendary, and his subsequent music career is also impressive. He may be the wealthiest musician in the world.
ANIMAL WELFARE: McCartney became a vegetarian in 1975. Both he and his wife Linda were active on animal rights issues. In 2011, Forbes created a list of the celebrities who were the most generous with their public personas in generating publicity for their favorite causes. McCartney ranked second, generating over $1 million that year in free publicity for PETA. He’s also been an active supporter of the Humane Society of the United States, Humane Society International, World Animal Protection, the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, and others. He’s helped narrate several documentaries, appeared in public service announcements, and even debated public officials on national television about issues like seal hunting.
ENVIRONMENT: McCartney has been involved with the National Resources Defense Council and the Save the Arctic campaign, and contributed to an album that raised funds to save the rainforests.
HUMANITARIAN: McCartney has participated in numerous concerts and donated songs to benefit a variety of humanitarian causes. He's performed in benefit concerts including Band Aid, Live Aid, Live 8, Ferry Aid, and Concerts for the People of Kampuchea. Recordings he’s donated have gone to benefit the U.S. Campaign for Burma and disaster recovery in the wake of the 2004 tsunami in Southeast Asia. He’s also a supporter of the Make Poverty History campaign, and his second wife, Heather Mills, got him involved in Adopt-A-Minefield.
HEALTH: In 2013, McCartney used his birthday to raise funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity. He’s also recorded songs for The Anti-Heroin Project and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, and supported other organizations such as City of Hope, Children with Leukemia, and Teenage Cancer Trust.
TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION: McCartney and the other Beatles were introduced to transcendental meditation in the late 1960s, which McCartney still practices. In 2009, he and Ringo Starr headlined a concert that raised $3 million for the David Lynch Foundation, which teaches transcendental meditation to at-risk youth.
LOOKING FORWARD: Now in his 70s, McCartney’s career as a performer may be winding down, though he definitely still has a soft spot for concerts and recordings that benefit animal welfare, environmental and humanitarian causes. Having amassed a fortune of more than $1 billion, however, he may soon start making larger charitable donations in addition to using his status as a rock star to help raise funding and awareness for the causes he supports.