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6 Charitable Celebs And The Causes They're Passionate About

From Leo to Ellen, some stars actually give back.

08/09/2016 4:00 PM AEST | Updated 09/09/2016 6:06 AM AEST
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When it comes to celebs, you're far more likely to be familiar with the movies they're in, songs they've sung or -- let's be real -- relationships they've been in (hello, #Hiddleswift) than their philanthropic pursuits.

But now and again a celebrity will use their fame as a way to draw attention to a cause they are passionate about, rather than spruik their latest fragrance, film or 'friendship' (wink, wink).

Here's a round-up of some of our favourite famous people and the causes they're passionate about off-screen.

Leonardo DiCaprio

How good is Leo? Not only has he given us an entire library of excellent films over his career, he is also a passionate environmentalist.

After being nominated for an Academy Award six -- yes six -- times, when he finally picked up the Best Actor gong for 'The Revenant' he used his acceptance speech to highlight his concerns about climate change (you can view the whole speech above).

"Making 'The Revenant' was about man's relationship to the natural world, a world that we collectively felt in 2015 as the hottest year in recorded history," he said.

"Our production needed to move to the southern tip of this planet just to be able to find snow.

"Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating."

Better yet, DiCaprio puts his money where his mouth is, having established the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation way back in 1998. In 2014, he was also designated as the United Nations Messenger of Peace for Climate Change and received the 2014 Clinton Global Citizen Award.

He also serves on the board of several environmental organisations, including: World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Geographic's Pristine Seas, the funders' collaborative Oceans 5, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.

Pamela Anderson

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Pamela Anderson has long been an advocate of PETA.

When it comes to making headlines, surely Pamela Anderson has made them all. Sex tapes, short-lived marriages, short-lived divorces, breast enhancements, breast reductions... the list goes on.

But throughout all this, the former 'Baywatch' actress has remained steadfast in her devotion to human, animal and environmental rights. She is an honorary director of PETA as well as the founder of her own charity, The Pamela Anderson Foundation.

She is also one of the faces of Greenpeace's 'Save The Arctic' campaign, has worked with M·A·C in supporting their AIDS Fund and is on the board of directors for Sea Shepard Conservation Society.

Sting

Getty Images for David Lynch Fou
Sting performs during 'Change Begins Within: A David Lynch Foundation Benefit Concert' in 2015.

Sure, you probably know all the words to the chorus of 'Every Breath You Take' but did you know Sting founded a charity with his wife Trudie Styler? Or that he has a species of Colombian tree frog named after him as a result? (Seriously. It's called Dendropsophus stingi. Google it.)

The Rainforest Foundation partners with Indigenous communities to save rainforests in the Americas, focusing on issues such as mining, oil, illegal logging, agriculture and climate change.

But that's not where Sting's philanthropy ends. He is known to be quite happy to perform at numerous benefit shows, such as Don Henley's Concert for Walden Woods and Live 8, as well as being generous in both his time and money to support several music-based charities.

Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt

POOL New / Reuters
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt attend the "Cinema for Peace 2012" charity gala in 2012.

Not only do Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt routinely top the list of Hollywood's hottest stars, they're also one of the most charitable couples going around.

Their charity, the Jolie-Pitt Foundation was established in 2006 and is dedicated to eradicating extreme rural poverty, protecting natural resources and conserving wildlife.

Individually, Jolie has long been involved with the United Nations and was appointed Special Envoy for UNHCR in April 2012, as well as working with the Afghanistan Relief Organization, Care to Learn and Alliance of the Lost Boys of Sudan.

Meanwhile, Pitt founded the Make It Right Foundation in the wake of hurricane Katrina, making a personal donation of $5 million to help rebuild New Orleans.

The couple is also extremely generous when it comes to putting their money where their mouth is. Famously, tax records have revealed the Jolie-Pitts donated more than $8 million to charity in 2006 alone.

Ellen DeGeneres

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
Ellen DeGeneres accepts the humanitarian award at the People's Choice Awards 2016.

Or should that be DeGenerous? (boom-tish).

Ellen's philanthropic ventures spread far and wide, with the talk show host actively involved in a number of organisations supporting orphans, disadvantaged children, gay and lesbian rights, women's rights, abuse victims and those with AIDS and HIV.

She is also famously anti-bullying and has created her own anti-bullying PSA 'Be Kind', as well as being a huge supporter of animal rights (in 2009, she was named Woman of the Year by PETA.)

You only need to look at the #EllensOrganisations section of her website to get a grasp of how many charities she actively supports -- too many to list here -- and to grasp the extent of her humanitarian efforts.

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