Michael Jackson: Award-Winning Supporter of Charities

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009), dubbed the "King of Pop", was an American musician and one of the most commercially successful entertainers of all time. His unique contributions to music and dance, along with a highly publicized personal life, made him a prominent figure in popular culture for four decades.

For the most part it is believed that Michael Jackson did not officially practice any one religion devoutly, although he did explore different alternative religions throughout his life. Michael Jackson's parents were Jehovah's Witnesses. Michael was born a Jehovah's Witness, and practiced this religion for a short period of time after his hit "Thriller" was released. In 1987, when the Jehovah's Witnesses criticized his album, Michael Jackson announced that he was no longer a member of this religious following.In 2007, he briefly took interest in Islam when his brother Jermaine was converting to Islam. There is speculation that Michael Jackson converted in November 2008. However, no official statement or confirmation of these rumors has ever been made, or been publicly released by him or his publicists.

There is no doubt that Jackson's personal life generated significant controversy but what many do not know is thay he is a true humanitarian, an example to us all.  Jackson devoted much time and money to a wide range of charities. He loves children and takes time out when touring secretly visting sick children. He also has special rooms at his home Neverland for sick and terminally ill children to stay over. He was listed in the 2000 edition of the Guiness Book Of World Records for breaking the world record for the "Most Charities Supported By a Pop Star". It states that Michael Jackson has supported 39 charity organizations either with monetary donations through sponsorships of their projects or by participating in their silent auction.

Michael Jackson wrote “We Are The World” with Lionel Richie in 1985 and performed it as part of an all-star single to raise money for Africa in 1985.

In 1984, Jackson equiped a 19-bed-unit at Mount Senai New York Medical Center. This center is part of the T.J. Martell-Foundation for leukemia and cancer research. Later in the year, he visited the Brotman Memorial Hospital, where he had been treated when he was burned very badly during the producing of a Pepsi commercial. He donated all the money he received from Pepsi, $1.5 million, to the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children. In 1986, he set up the “Michael Jackson United Negro College Fund Endowed Scholarship Fund”. This $1.5 million fund is aimed towards students majoring in performance art and communications, with money given each year to students attending a UNCF member college or university.

He donated the proceeds from the sales of The Man In The Mirror to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children who suffer from cancer. Jackson donated tickets to shows in is 1989 Bad Tour to underprivileged children. The proceeds from one of his shows in Los Angeles were donated to Childhelp USA, the biggest charity-organization against child-abuse. Childhelp of Southern California then established the “Michael Jackson International Institute for Research On Child Abuse”.

In 1992, he established the Heal The World Foundation, whose work has included airlifting 6 tons of supplies to Sarajevo, instituting drug and alcohol abuse education and donating millions of dollars to less fortunate children.
Here is a list of some charities he has supported:
    * AIDS Project L.A.
    * American Cancer Society
    * Angel Food
    * Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles
    * BMI Foundation, Inc.
    * Brotherhood Crusade
    * Brothman Burn Center
    * Camp Ronald McDonald
    * Childhelp U.S.A.
    * Children's Institute International
    * Cities and Schools Scholarship Fund
    * Community Youth Sports & Arts Foundation
    * Congressional Black Caucus (CBC)
    * Dakar Foundation
    * Dreamstreet Kids
    * Dreams Come True Charity
    * Elizabeth Taylor Aids Foundation
    * Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
    * Love Match
    * Make-A-Wish Foundation
    * Minority Aids Project
    * Motown Museum
    * NAACP
    * National Rainbow Coalition
    * Rotary Club of Australia
    * Society of Singers
    * Starlight Foundation
    * The Carter Center's Atlanta Project
    * The Sickle Cell Research Foundation
    * Transafrica
    * United Negro College Fund (UNCF)
    * United Negro College Fund Ladder's of Hope
    * Volunteers of America
    * Watts Summer Festival
    * Wish Granting
    * YMCA - 28th Street/Crenshaw

Jackson died at the age of 50 on June 25, 2009, in Los Angeles, California after suffering from cardiac arrest. Indeed, the world has lost a rare gem, a rare heart tied to giving!