NET WORTH: $400 Million, estimated
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Singer-Songwriter
FUNDING AREAS: Environment (Rainforests), Health
OVERVIEW: Much of Sting’s passion and grantmaking has gone to the Rainforest Foundation and Rainforest Fund, which he and his wife Trudie Styler founded in 1989. Sting also supports health and humanitarian efforts.
BACKGROUND: Sting, born Gordon Matthew Sumner in England, is the son of a milkman and a hairdresser. Sting played with several groups before forming the Police with drummer Steward Copeland and guitarist Henri Padovani in 1977. Padovani was later replaced by guitarist Andy Summers. The new trio released the single "Roxanne" in 1978, and "Every Breath You Take" in 1983. Sting later made a name for himself as a successful solo artist and has won 16 Grammy Awards over the years.
ENVIRONMENT: Sting and his wife Trudie Styler founded the Rainforest Foundation and Rainforest Fund, alarmed at the destruction of the Amazon rainforest and the horrific impact on the indigenous peoples who live there.
Originally known as the Rainforest Foundation, the charity split into four organizations: Rainforest Foundation U.K., which favors forest preservation in Africa; Rainforest Foundation U.S., which looks out for the Americas; Rainforest Foundation Norway, which spends its time on The Amazon, Central Africa, and Southeast Asia; and the Rainforest Fund, which feeds money to its sister groups. Its most significant fundraising event is a biennial benefit concert in Carnegie Hall. Entertainers at these concerts have included Stephen Stills, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Renee Fleming, Dionne Warwick and others.
The Rainforest Foundation's approach to preserving rainforests is premised on the idea that indigenous people who live there are the best stewards of the land. The foundation's first major initiative was to help the Kayapo people protect their lands in the Amazon, which resulted in legal recognition and the delineation of a protected area of more than 6.7 million acres.
Support aids indigenous organizations and local non-governmental organizations in the fight for their rights, preserving their forests, boosting their organizational capacity and developing their technical skills. The organizations now work in more than 20 Asian, African, Central American and South American countries, protecting 28 million acres of forest.
HEALTH: Sting has supported Breast Cancer Care, Children's Health Fund, Children's Tumor Foundation and more.
LOOKING FORWARD: It seems unlikely that Sting's philanthropy will depart from his focus on the Rainforest Foundation, but there appears to be significant wealth waiting in the wings. Some of Sting's philanthropy might be channeled through other philanthropic vehicles, so the picture we are presenting here may leave out important grants.
The Rainforest Foundation explains that it is not a typical foundation. It is not endowed and instead raises its entire operating budget each year. While the foundation does provide financial support to other small organizations, it mostly deals with partner organizations. Here is a link to the foundation's contact page