As the Hollywood awards season begins to rev up, all eyes are front and center on the celebrities who will be strutting their stuff at the Golden Globes. Celebrities receive much critical acclaim for their work on the silver screen, but beyond the glitz and the glamour of showbiz, many of these household names are quietly serving on the sidelines as active philanthropists. Many celebrities are doing far more than just writing a check or turning up at a gala or cocktail party - some of the headlining nominees at this year's Golden Globes are passionate volunteers, advocates, or founders of their own nonprofit organizations. Here are some of the 2014 Golden Globe nominees who are dedicated to causes far away from the lights of Hollywood.
Tom Hanks (nominated for Captain Phillips) is No. 14 on a recent Daily Beast list of the 25 most charitable celebrities; the Apollo 13 and Forrest Gump star is a big proponent of alternative fuels and took part in the America: A Tribute to Heroes 9/11 charity telethon. Matt Damon (nominated for Behind the Candelabra), at No. 16, is well-known for his efforts to stop the war in Darfur. Damon also cofounded water.org and is a founding partner of Industrial Revolution II, a garment factory in Haiti that invests 50 percent of profits into its workers, their families, and the local community.
Cate Blanchett (nominated for Blue Jasmine), Meryl Streep (nominated for August, Osage County) and Kerry Washington (nominated for Scandal) were three narrators in the film Girl Rising, comprising stories of nine girls across the globe who show how education "can change a girl--and the world." Streep, famed for her 17 Academy Award nominations, is also the National Spokesperson for and a regular donor to the National Woman's History Museum.
Joaquin Phoenix (nominated for Her) has made a vast number of contributions to the nonprofit sector. He served as an incognito Red Cross volunteer after Hurricane Katrina, and among other recent acts of goodwill, he has lent his talent to recording videos for nonprofits such as The Art of Elysium, who stated this: "Joaquin Phoenix actually lives love and helps our children deal with fear thru creativity. He joined The Art of Elysium family in 2005 and has helped the organization reach more artists to share their talents with our children. His talent, creativity and passion are an inspiration to us, to our artists and most importantly to the very special children we have the privilege of working with. We love having him as our Angel."
Oscar-winning star Kate Winslet (nominated for Labor Day) founded the Golden Hat Foundation following her work on the documentary A Mother's Courage: Talking Back to Autism. Winslet said, after watching the movie, "My daughter turned to me and asked "What if I wasn't able to tell you I love you, mummy?" As I thought about what that meant, for a mother not to be able to talk with her own child, I realized that I had to lend my voice to raise awareness of this rapidly increasing disorder."
Robin Wright (nominated for House of Cards) teamed up with John Prendergast of the nonprofit Enough Project to raise awareness of the issues involved in the Congolese civil wars. Said Prendergast in an article by The Hollywood Reporter, "I think stars can make a huge difference and bring a spotlight. They're also master recruiters. When people who otherwise don't have any idea what's happening in the world are asked by celebrities to get involved, they become activists."