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Remembering Michael Jackson the Humanitarian

Updated on June 18, 2013

On June 25, 2009, the world lost a much-loved icon and one of the greatest entertainers of our time when Michael Jackson passed away at the age of 50. While the mark he left in the music and entertainment world will surely be here for eons to come, a lot of people are unaware of his immense humanitarian efforts besides “We Are the World” and his Heal the World Foundation. A caring, generous man who wanted to make a huge difference in this world, and an avid supporter of children's rights and children's charities, his charity work landed him in The Guinness Book of World Records for “the most charities supported by a pop star” with 39 charities. There were 33 other charities he supported, and possibly more, as there were many times that he gave anonymously. It is estimated that he may have given at least $500 million to charities in his lifetime. It's sad and disheartening that the media never paid much attention to or brought to light all the charity work he did, instead preferring to concentrate on spreading lies and rumors and creating a tabloid caricature of the real, kind-hearted human being that was Michael Jackson. This article is just a sampling of some of the work he did.

After his Pepsi accident in 1984, in which his scalp was severely burned, the $1.5 million he received from Pepsi for damages was donated to Brotman Memorial Hospital, where he was treated, to help equip a Michael Jackson Burn Center, along with a hyperbaric chamber.

Several songs were written for or had their profits donated to charities. He co-wrote “We Are the World” with Lionel Richie, which would feature 39 singers on the recorded song. All proceeds of the single went to African famine relief. The single “Man in the Mirror”, from the Bad album, hit the charts in 1988 and all the proceeds from that went to the Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children who suffer from cancer. After the tragic events on September 11, 2001, Michael wrote "What More Can I Give" and organized a benefit concert for the victims of 9/11 in which $15 million dollars was raised.

The Michael Jackson United Negro College Fund/Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 1986. He donated $1.5 million to help college students who were majoring in the performing arts. Two years later, he donated his earnings from a private benefit concert to the fund. In the past two decades, more than 500 students have been able to attend college because of this gift.

In 1992, he set up the Heal the World Foundation to help provide medicine to children threatened by illness and war, to fight world hunger, and to provide for the education and prevention of drug/alcohol abuse. His Dangerous Tour profits and his fee for performing during Super Bowl XXVII were donated to Heal the World. Through the foundation, he had 46 tons of supplies airlifted to Sarajevo during the Bosnian War.

Besides donating money or personal items to charities, he also gave his time and visited countless hospitals and orphanages around the world to visit with sick and needy children, bringing them gifts. Michael and Lisa Marie Presley, his wife at the time, met one little Hungarian boy at one of the hospitals, a four-year-old named Bela Farkas, who was in desperate need of a liver transplant. Michael pledged the funds from the Heal the World Foundation to cover the cost of surgery and care to help Bela. A few months later, the young boy received his new liver. A longtime military supporter, he would also visit with wounded soldiers in the hospital and would invite members of the military and their families to his Neverland Ranch.

Michael donated a lot of his concert earnings to charity, including every cent he made from the 1984 Victory Tour with his brothers. With some concert stops during his solo tours, he would donate all or most of his earnings in particular cities and his personal appearance fees. He would also leave hundreds of tickets for disadvantaged children.

There are so many other things he did, such as paying for the funeral costs of slain children whose parents couldn't afford to pay for a funeral, donating massive amounts of his time and money to AIDS and cancer research, or inviting a German family to come to Neverland Ranch after their home was destroyed in a flood. This is just a tip of the iceberg.

List of Supported Charities

  • AIDS Project L.A.
  • American Cancer Society
  • Angel Food
  • Atlanta Children’s Foundation
  • Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles
  • BMI Foundation, Inc.
  • Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Brotherhood Crusade
  • Brothman Burn Center
  • Camp Good Times
  • Camp Ronald McDonald
  • Childhelp U.S.A.
  • Children's Defense Fund
  • Children's Diabetes Foundation
  • Children's Institute International
  • Children's Wish Foundation
  • Cities and Schools Scholarship Fund
  • Community School/Safety Havens Initiative
  • Community Youth Sports & Arts Foundation
  • Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)
  • Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn's
  • Dakar Foundation
  • Democratic National Committee
  • Dreamstreet Kids
  • Dreams Come True Charity
  • ElizabethTaylor AIDS Foundation
  • Family Caring for Families
  • Foundation for the Junior Blind
  • Gandhi Foundation For Children
  • Give For Life
  • Go For Your Dreams
  • Heal L.A.
  • Heal the World Foundation
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • Jane Goodall's Ape Research Institute
  • Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
  • Love Match
  • Lupus L.A.
  • Make-A-Wish Foundation
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change
  • Minority Aids Project
  • Motown Museum
  • MusiCares
  • National Rainbow Coalition
  • National Solidarity Fund
  • Off Road Kids e.V.
  • Oneness
  • Operation Christmas Child
  • Opportunity Village
  • Prince's Trust
  • Rotary Club of Australia
  • Society of Singers
  • Starlight Foundation
  • The Carter Center's Atlanta Project
  • The International Child Art Foundation
  • The Sickle Cell Research Foundation
  • T.J. Martell Foundation for Leukemia, Cancer and AIDS Research
  • Transafrica
  • United Nations High Commission for Refugees
  • United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
  • United Negro College Fund Ladder's of Hope
  • Volunteers of America
  • Watts Summer Festival
  • Wish Granting
  • Wishing Well Fund
  • YMCA - 28th Street/Crenshaw
  • Youth Sports & Art Foundation


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    • staceyh profile image

      staceyh 5 years ago from Texas

      Thank you so much for reading! Here's a great quote about rumors: "Rumors are started by haters, spread by fools, and accepted by idiots."

    • jfroberg profile image

      jfroberg 5 years ago from Minneapolis

      I always loved Michael and never believed the rumors.

    • staceyh profile image

      staceyh 5 years ago from Texas

      Three years and he's still terribly missed; there will never be anyone like him. Thank you for stopping by.

    • nmdonders profile image

      Nira Perkins 5 years ago

      I cannot believe it's already been 3 years since he passed. What a great guy he was. I had no idea he did this much but I always liked him.