5 Drew Brees
Sports stars have also shown a propensity to give back. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees has made the city home base not just for football, but also for his charitable efforts. The former Super Bowl winner contributed to the Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, and he and his wife donated $1 million to help in Hurricane Sandy cleanup in 2012. Through his own foundation, he also donated $2 million to New Orleans–based charities in 2012.
4 Mel Gibson
Despite ruffling feathers with controversial political, ethnic and religious comments on more than one occasion, Mel Gibson does put his money where his mouth is. The film producer, director and actor was third on the 2011 list by the The Giving Back Fund for his over $6.3 million in donations during the year to the Catholic church through the A.P. Reilly Foundation.
3 Lady Gaga
Entertainer Lady Gaga is a very vocal supporter of many nonprofit causes, which she often promotes in her music and performances. Gaga established the Born This Way Foundation with a $1.2 million donation. The nonprofit combats bullying and supports the LGBT community. Gaga also pledged $1 million in the Hurricane Sandy relief effort.
2 Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey has long been renowned for her generosity. Through her show, she regularly supported social causes and charities and surprised fans with gifts and financial support. Winfrey topped the 2010 list of top 30 celeb givers by The Giving Back Fund. This marked her third time atop the list, which is based solely on dollar amount and indicated that she donated a whopping $41.4 million to charities in 2010. Forty million went to her Chicago–based Oprah Winfrey Foundation to support educational programs and global programs for women and children.
1 Taylor Swift
Though she hasn’t yet lived long enough to amass the fortunes of other celebs, country music star and actress Taylor Swift was named number one on the 2012 DoSomething.org list of most charitable celebrities. Among her most notable actions, Swift donated an incredible $4 million to the Country Music Hall of Fame, gave $50,000 to Boston’s Horace Mann School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and co-chaired the National Education Association’s “Read Across America” program.