In addition to the unprecedented artistic career, Michael Jackson was widely known for his philanthropic activity. His philanthropy manifested not only in the support of numerous charitable organizations and initiatives, but also in his keen empathy and willingness to help individual people in need.
Michael was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize twice, in 1998 and 2003. In 2000, he was included in the Guinness Book of Records as a pop star who supported the biggest number of charity organizations (39 at the time). During his lifetime, Michael received many other honorary awards recognizing his charitable contributions and community service. Among his friends were such outstanding philanthropists as Princess Diana, Nelson Mandela and Mother Theresa.
The record of Michael Jackson’s charitable activities is extremely long. This page cites only a few most notable milestones.
In January of 1985, in collaboration with Lionel Richie, Michael wrote charitable single “We Are The World” aimed to raise funds for the relief of famine and disease in Africa. The song was recorded by the group of forty four stars, including Michael, and produced by Quincy Jones. The single released in March of the same year raised 63 million dollars for Africa.
In 1986, United Negro College Fund (UNCF) established the Michael Jackson Endowed Scholarship Fund. Michael’s contributions allowed a number of gifted African American students to receive higher education in performing arts and communications. In the same year alone, 97 students were sponsored in 42 UNCF schools.
In 1988, Michael purchased Neverland ranch, a 2800-acre estate he made his home and, during the next few years, redesigned for visits of sick and unprivileged children. The ranch had a railway with two steam trains that carried the guests, an amusement park with rides specially equipped for children with disabilities, and a movie theater that had not only plush chairs, but also hospital beds for gravely sick visitors. Every few weeks, busloads of children from neighboring hospitals and urban areas visited Neverland to spend a day at the amusement park and enjoy the fun that was unavailable to them in their daily lives. When Michael himself was away, the guests were attended to by the trained staff of the ranch.
In 1992, Michael Jackson established his own charitable organization, Heal The World Foundation, that was funded, among other sources, by proceeds from his Dangerous World Tour. The Foundation’s mission was to help children of the world, provide them with food and medicine, fight child abuse, promote children’s rights and raise the standard of living for children. The mission fully reflected Michael’s personal aspirations as he was always most sensitive to the pain and suffering of children. Heal The World Foundation was active from 1992 to 2002 and carried out a number of important charitable projects, such as transporting 46 tons of humanitarian aid to Sarajevo and finding a liver transplant for Bela Farkas, a Hungarian boy whose life Michael Jackson saved.
Besides his own Heal The World Foundation, Michael Jackson was known to publicly and privately support the following organizations:
- AIDS Project L.A.
- American Cancer Society
- Angel Food
- Atlanta Children’s Foundation
- Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles
- BMI Foundation, Inc.
- Boys and Girl Clubs
- Brotherhood Crusade
- Brothman Burn Center
- Camp Ronald McDonald
- Childhelp U.S.A.
- Children’s Defense Fund
- Children’s Diabetes Foundation
- Children’s Institute International
- Children’s Wish Foundation
- Cities and Schools Scholarship Fund
- Community School/Safety Havens Initiative
- Community Youth Sports & Arts Foundation
- Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)
- Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s
- Dakar Foundation
- Democratic National Committee
- Dreamstreet Kids
- Dreams Come True Charity
- Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation
- Foundation for the Junior Blind
- Ghandi Foundation for Children
- Give For Life
- Go For Your Dreams
- Heal L.A.
- International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
- Jane Goodall’s Ape Research institute
- Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
- Love Match
- Lupus L.A.
- Make-A-Wish Foundation
- Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change
- Minority Aids Project
- Motown Museum
- Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation
- MusiCares and Camp Good Times
- National Rainbow Coalition
- National Solidarity Fund, Family Caring for Families
- Off-Road-Kids e.V
- Operation Christmas Child
- Opportunity Village
- Prince’s Trust
- Rotary Club of Australia
- Society of Singers
- Starlight Foundation
- The Carter Center’s Atlanta Project
- The International Child Art Foundation
- The Sickle Cell Research Foundation
- T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research
- United Nations High Commission for Refugees
- United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
- United Negro College Fund Ladder’s of Hope
- Volunteers of America
- Watts Summer Festival
- Wish Granting
- Wishing Well Fund
- YMCA — 28th St/Crenshaw
- Youth Sports & Art Foundation
Throughout his career, Michael Jackson travelled the world and gave performances in countries rarely visited by other artists. In all those countries, he paid visits to hospitals and orphanages and lent a helping hand wherever he could – both to individuals and local charitable organizations. Thus, his humanitarian activity spread across the world, far beyond the borders of his home country. For the Russians in particular, Michael Jackson did the following:
- August, 1993: Heal The World Foundation together with Pepsi-Cola International donated new ambulances for the Contacts One Independent Living Center for Children in Moscow.
- September, 1993: During his stay in Moscow with the Dangerous World Tour, Michael visited Orphanage #7, donated toys and bed linen, and later made a financial donation to the orphanage.
- September, 1993: Acknowledging the financial troubles of the show organization, Michael relinquished his fee for the show. A portion of the concert tickets was donated to orphanages of Moscow Region.
- December, 1993: With the help of Gorbachev Foundation, Heal The World Foundation delivered 60 thousand doses of children vaccine to Tbilisi, Georgia.
- September, 1996: As part of his second visit to Moscow with the HIStory World Tour, Michael attended sports festival “Nadezhda” for orphaned and unprivileged children. Three thousand children and six hundred volunteers took part in the festival. Michael sang along and showed his appreciation of the festival performances.
- September, 1996: Michael donated his fee from the HIStory concert in Moscow to orphanages of Moscow Region.
Michael Jackson’s visit to the Moscow orphanage in 1993: