Watch Rihanna receive the 2017 Harvard Humanitarian Award of the Year at 1:13:54.
Before launching the Clara Lionel Foundation (CLF) in 2012, Rihanna demonstrated an unrelenting giving spirit from the outset of her career. That commitment runs even deeper as the icon continues to leverage her influence to address a diverse group of global issues.
Today, CLF supports groundbreaking and effective education, health and emergency response programs around the world. With the voices of Rihanna and her fans, CLF also engages in global advocacy with the goal of improving the quality for young people everywhere. Current programs include the Clara Lionel Foundation Global Scholarship Program, the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados and the Barbados Micro Grants Program.
Rihanna formed a partnership with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and international education and advocacy organization, Global Citizen in 2016, to tackle the global education crisis on a broader scale through advocacy. In the lead up to headlining the annual Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, she called on her fans to ask the Canadian and French governments to increase their commitments to education. As a result of these efforts, Canada pledged to invest $20 million in the Education Cannot Wait Fund.
In January 2017, she traveled to Malawi in her role as Ambassador for the Global Partnership for Education and in partnership with Global Citizen to spend time with the key educators, government officials, mentors, and students who are working collaboratively to build a better future for the next generation of Malawians.
Rihanna’s philanthropic journey began in 2006 when she founded the Believe Foundation at just 18-years old. The goal of the organization was to help terminally ill children by providing critical, emotional, educational, financial and medical support. Over the ensuing years, she performed a series of charity concerts on behalf of the Believe Foundation. Through generous support from sponsor and advertisers, Rihanna’s “A Girl’s Night Out” concerts provided medical and school supplies as well as toys.
Rihanna has supported DKMS, an organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and blood disorders by helping to find bone marrow donors for patients in need of transplants. She was honored by the organization in 2011 for her efforts.
The singer’s indelible footprint in the fashion world has also helped boost awareness for the battle against HIV/AIDS. In 2008, Rihanna joined a handful of public figures in the designing of a clothing line for H&M’s Fashion Against AIDS charitable project. A percentage of the proceeds from the line are donated annually to Designers Against AIDS and YouthAids.To date H&M Fashion Against AIDS has raised more than $10 million. She was also at the helm of the two Viva Glam lipstick campaigns with MAC, the first of which raised $60 million in 2013 to benefit women and children living with and affected by the disease.
Over the past five years, Rihanna’s charitable impact has encompassed a vast international scope. She has served as an ambassador for UNICEF’s Tap Project, which raises funds to bring clean water and sanitation for children around the world. She has also made generous donations to the Food Bank For New York City in the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy as well as UNICEF’s “There for the Philippines” campaign to support survivors affected by Typhoon Hayian.
In 2008 she performed the original song “Just Stand Up!” with 15 other female artists live during the 2008 “Stand Up To Cancer” televised special. All proceeds from the single benefited cancer research and the special helped raise over $100 million. Performing at the House of Blues in Los Angeles in 2012, she helped raise money for the Children’s Orthopedic Center and the Mark Taper-Johnny Mercer Artists Program at Children’s Hospital in L.A. In addition, Rihanna has supported various other foundations and campaigns. Among them: The Alzheimer’s Association, City of Hope, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, Grammy Foundation, Live Earth, Hope for Haiti Now, Kids Wish Network, MusiCares, Red Cross, Cartier Love Charity Campaign and Chime for Change.
In 2012 she purchased modern radiotherapy medical equipment to install in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados. The center was later renamed the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine in honor of Rihanna’s late grandmother.