Richard Gere

NET WORTH: $100 million, estimated 

SOURCE OF WEALTH: Actor

FUNDING AREAS: Global Development & Humanitarian Causes, Homelessness

OVERVIEW: Richard Gere cofounded the Tibet House in 1987 and has served as the chairman of the board for the International Campaign for Tibet since 1995. Gere also founded the Gere Foundation in 1991. The mission of the Gere Foundation is to alleviate suffering and advocate for the people of Tibet. 

BACKGROUND: Richard Gere was born in Philadelphia in 1949. He grew up in a large Methodist family. As a kid, Gere was a trumpet player. After graduating from high school, Gere studied philosophy and theater at UMass Amherst. One of his early musical roles was in Grease in London. Gere had a breakthrough with the late 1970s film Looking for Mr. Goodbar, starring Diane Keaton. Gere's career took off in the 1980s, when he starred in films such as American Gigolo and An Officer and a Gentleman. In 1990, he starred in Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts.

ISSUES:

GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT & HUMANITARIAN CAUSES: The Gere Foundation describes itself as a "a small grant-giving organization" which supports groups "dedicated to the cultural preservation of Tibet; to providing HIV/AIDS care, research and treatment and to those organizations addressing human rights violations throughout the world. "The Gere Foundation contributes directly to the Tibet Fund, supporting the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan community-in-exile. The foundation's grant recipients include the International Campaign for Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet, "a global grassroots network of students and activists working in solidarity with the Tibetan people for human rights and freedom."

The Gere Foundation also contributes to other humanitarian causes. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have received support. Oxfam America, International Red Cross, and Doctors Without Borders have been supported for their work in famine and disaster relief. Sums have also gone to the J/P Haitian Relief Organization, a nonprofit founded by Sean Penn in response to the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

HIV/AIDS: Gere has supported places like AMFAR, AIDS Research Alliance, AIDS Project of Los Angeles, Children Affected by AIDS, Harvard AIDS Institute. Gere has a particular concern with AIDS in India. He's worked closely with the Naz Foundation, a nonprofit in New Delhi, and helped the foundation establish and then expand the AIDS Care Home, "the first residential facility in India dedicated to serving women and orphaned children with AIDS." Some of this work also takes place through the Gere Foundation India Trust, established 1999 to support various humanitarian programs in India. He also launched the Heroes Project in 2002 in partnership with the Avahan AIDS Initiative of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

HOMELESSNESS: Richard Gere recently played a homeless man in a film. He's spoken at the National Conference on Ending Homelessness in Washington, D.C. and supported outfits such as City Harvest, a nonprofit that feeds some 1.4 million New Yorkers every year. Gere contributed to a 2013 event that raised $3 million for City Harvest.

LOOKING AHEAD: While Gere's main philanthropic focus is advocacy for the people of Tibet, he clearly has other interests, as well. Less clear is how much wealth he has to put behind his causes going forward. The Gere Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals or materials. 

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