Leonardo DiCaprio has had quite a busy year, including some big announcements about his philanthropy. The actor’s wildlife-focused foundation just keeps racking up and shelling out funds. Here’s how his giving has been unfolding.
When we last checked in on DiCaprio, he had just lost an Academy Award, but made a killing for his role in The Wolf of Wall Street. He also had a hot hand after hosting a charity auction that raised about $33 million for his foundation, which then made two of its biggest grants to date. We were predicting Leo’s giving was about to blow up, and it pretty much did.
So much has happened since then—the beard, the bun, his 40th birthday, the climate speech to the U.N. —and a whole bunch of cash coming in and out for his preferred wildlife and marine conservation causes.
For starters, in May, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (which is actually a fund housed within the California Community Foundation), made a $1 million grant to the Elephant Crisis Fund, a project of the Wildlife Conservation Network and Save the Elephants. Elephant poaching has been a concern for the foundation for some time, and the focus of its own public outreach campaigns.
A month later, in sync with the president signaling his intention to establish vast ocean protections, DiCaprio pledged that he would give $7 million to the cause over the next two years. Just this month, he began to make good on that pledge with a $2 million grant to Oceans 5, a funding collaborative that he’s a member of. That grant in particular will go toward protecting Costa Rica’s waters.
With the celebrity art auction going so well, DiCaprio held his foundation’s first gala in July, tucked away in a private hillside vineyard in the South of France, and inviting a bunch of close friends like Bono and Jared Leto. Tickets were rumored to reach six figures and Bono even auctioned off his guitar (Bono doesn’t play guitar in U2, but whatever). The event raised an incredible $25 million for DiCaprio’s foundation.
For all the spotlit charity activity the actor’s been up to lately, which truly is impressive, there’s a lot more I’d actually like to know as his giving has been expanding.
For one, is he going to ditch the donor-advised fund and set up his own shop? Within the CCF, it’s not clear how much he’s got stored away, or how much of his own money is going in or out of the fund. I’m also curious about his endgame. it always sort of seems like he bounces from one multi-million-dollar announcement to the next. But is he planning to spend a bunch of his own wealth? Simply keep building up checks from his Hollywood pals? Build some more fleshed-out programs?
We’re dying to know what's going to happen in the sequels to come.