The World's Most Charitable Athletes
With their massive paychecks and lavish lifestyle, some mega sports stars could be forgiven for forgetting where they came from ... but not these guys!
Here are five of the world's most charitable athletes (and here's some of the most charitable athletes in Australia, too).
1. Cristiano Ronaldo
Juventus striker Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the most charitable soccer players in the world. Earning an estimated $700,000 a week, (not including endorsements) Ronaldo spends a fair chunk of his wage on helping the less fortunate.
The prolific forward donated his entire Champions League bonus, which was just over one million dollars, as well his golden boot, to charity. Ronaldo has also made a huge effort to help aid natural disasters. He donated nearly nine million dollars to Nepal following the 2015 earthquake and even flew to visit victims of the Indonesian tsunami after her saw video of a boy wearing a Portugal guernsey with his name on the back. And it doesn’t stop there. He donated nearly one million dollars to fund the surgery of a 10-year-old child suffering from a brain disorder. Ronaldo is the global ambassador for Save the Children where he helps with issues such as childhood hunger. He said he lives life following a quote his father taught him, “when you help other people, then God will give you double".
2. Serena Williams
Serena Williams is an inspiration on and off the court. She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and promoted their campaign to help educate Asia’s 26 million marginalised children. She also worked with Build Africa Schools where she was able to construct two schools in Kenya and has volunteered to help immunise children in Ghana.
Additionally, Serena has her own charity called The Serena Williams Foundation, which pays for college scholarships for underprivileged kids in the USA, helps with cleaning up the streets of illegal guns as well as helping to provide legal representation to poverty-stricken defendants and prisoners who have been treated unfairly by the legal system. Her foundation supports dozens of other organisations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, Elton John AIDS Foundation, Hearts of Gold and many more.
3. Lebron James
NBA All-Star Lebron James is the founder of The Lebron James Family Foundation – which is focused primarily on children. In 2015, he donated a whopping $41 million dollars to help send over one thousand kids to college. He has also paid for 5000 kids and their families from his hometown Ohio to visit an amusement park. What’s more, Lebron donated all the proceeds ($2.5 million dollars) from the ESPN special “The Decision” about his move to Miami Heat to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. The club’s aim is to help provide all children with equal opportunities, after school mentoring and activities. Lebron and his wife designed and donated furniture, replaced roofs, fixed the children’s work place and donated over 1000 computers to the club. Additionally, Lebron has used his platform to speak out about race relations and the police in the USA.
4. Ronda Rousey
Former UFC champion Ronda Rousey may be tough in the ring, but outside she has a heart of gold. Her foundation, the Ronda Rousey Charity works with foundations such as Didi Hirsch, which helps people struggling with mental illness and substance abuse and runs the Suicide Prevention Centre.
She also started the Gompers Judo program which helps support the airfares, accommodation and food for young athletes as well as running the Free Rice Campaign which donates millions of grains of rice to the World Food Programme.
Just a few years ago, Ronda donated $30,000 and her UFC Championship belt to a Judo school in Brazil.
5. John Cena
WWE Superstar John Cena is the most requested athlete for the Make-A-Wish foundation, where he has granted over 500 wishes! He has also played an important role in the Susan G. Komen organisation, helping to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer and acting as the Grand Marshal for a charity run.
Over the years, Cena has helped raise over one million dollars for the foundation, selling the pink shirts he wears in the ring from September to November every year. Cena also invited a young fan into the ring after he saw she was wearing his gear and holding up a sign that said, “I’m beating cancer”.
Related: Australia's most charitable athletes
Pickstar helps charities and causes connect with sports star ambassadors.