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Non-Profit Promotional Activities of Celebrities and Famous People

In addition to self-promotion, many celebrities and famous people participate in supporting charitable causes or positive messaging to support constructive personal and social behavior. They lend their fame and recognition to promote efforts to build a positive society. In turn, they are recognized for doing good deeds and work and that helps promote their positive image.

One of the most outstanding examples of celebrity and positive messaging for a charitable organization is the National Celebrity Cabinet of the American Red Cross. The talented individuals on the Red Cross National Celebrity Cabinet donate their time, skills, passion, and energy to help the Red Cross highlight important initiatives and responses. Cabinet members include Amy Grant, Dr. Phil McGraw, Heidi Klum, Jane Seymour, Peyton Manning, and dozens more. All these celebrities have a strong social media presence, as does the American Red Cross [1].

Celebrities also do considerable work for U.S. diplomacy. The United States generally carries out its foreign policy through the work of the State Department and its government-appointed officers, but citizen diplomacy is also an important part of diplomacy, and when high-profile celebrities contribute to those efforts, they can have a far-reaching impact.

Celebrities are commissioned by the State Department to be special envoys for specific causes. An example of this is sports diplomacy, which takes advantage of a universal interest in sports to bridge the gap between the United States and other countries. These programs help the State Department appoint different sports celebrities to reach out to the world community. In 2007, Cal Ripken Jr., a baseball player, was named as the second Special Sports Envoy.

Celebrity diplomats come from other backgrounds than sports. American Music Abroad is another State Department program that brings American musicians of diverse styles to a worldwide audience. The State Department invites actors, artists, poets, and chefs, among others to serve as diplomats. U.S. embassies often host programs, performances, or workshops put on by these individuals. This serves to break down cultural barriers and build positive narratives with foreign countries. One area that has had a significant impact is culinary diplomacy.

Celebrities who are not officially appointed by the State Department can still act as diplomats if their work advances U.S. interests. George Clooney’s efforts to bring awareness to the crisis in Darfur have stirred international support. The U.S. embassy in Rome inspired Lady Gaga to advance her advocacy of LGBT rights by performing at EuroPride Rome in 2011. These celebrities, along with many others, work in conjunction with the State Department’s mission to advance freedom, democracy, and human rights.

Five-time World Skating Champion Michelle Kwan talked to students during a visit to the Dandelion School for Children of Migrants in Beijing, China. Kwan was appointed as an American Public Diplomacy Envoy and visited China to promote cross-cultural dialogue with youths. Celebrity diplomacy covers many areas, including culinary diplomacy, American music abroad, and American poetry [2].

Another major endeavor involving celebrities and their social media influence was the launch of the Let Girls Learn initiative. There are 62 million girls around the world who are not in school and millions more are fighting to stay there. In a show of support for girls’ education and empowerment around the world, nearly 30 artists and athletes, as well as a host of global non-profits and businesses, joined with the U.S. federal government to launch Let Girls Learn. This effort aims to elevate a conversation about the need to support all girls in their pursuit of a quality education. Brought together by heinous acts of violence and intimidation against girls in different parts of the world, celebrities gathered in New York and Los Angeles to lend their voices to a common message: The right to education is universal and unambiguous. The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is coordinating “Let Girls Learn.” USAID has an impressive arsenal of content and social media outlets, including “extreme possibilities (the USAID storytelling hub), the USAID Impact blog, Medium, Exposure, Storify, Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and LinkedIn [3].

Numerous celebrities support efforts to inform the public about health issues. One example is Katie Couric’s televised colon cancer awareness campaign that is supported by social media. There is a series of national health observances—special days, weeks, or months—dedicated to raising awareness about important health topics. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services supports a website

Table 10.1 National Health Observances with Toolkit Support




Cervical Health Awareness Month


American Heart Month

Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month


Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month


Alcohol Awareness Month


National Physical Fitness and Sports Month Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month


National Safety Month

June 27 National HIV Testing Day


National Immunization Awareness Month


National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Fruits and Veggies — More Matters Month


National Breast Cancer Awareness Month


American Diabetes Month

World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day

and social media efforts that provide information on more than 200 national health observances with up-to-date information and outreach materials on national health observances ( Healthfinder also provides toolkits for individuals or organizations that want to get involved in a specific observance. The toolkit includes a sample announcement, sample Tweets, e-cards, a Web badge, and resources that can be shared. Table 10.1 lists the observances held during each month of the year [4].

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