Pop superstar Robyn Rihanna Fenty was awarded the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award on March 1. Fenty is well-known for her music, performances, fashion and personal life, but her charitable contributions are often overlooked. In 2006, the Grammy award-winner founded The Believe Foundation, her first foundation, which raises awareness of the impact of blood cancers such as leukemia, particularly on children. This foundation has recruited and registered nearly 4,000 bone marrow donors. The Believe Foundation also provides educational, financial, social and medical support for children suffering from blood cancers. Fenty founded this organization when she was just 18-years-old.
During her speech, Fenty talked about her grandmother, in whose honor she named the Clara Lionel Foundation. Founded by Rihanna in 2012, the non-profit is dedicated to funding and facilitating groundbreaking education, health and emergency response programs for impoverished communities all over the world. In support of Rihanna’s philanthropic efforts, fashion house Dior has announced they will be donating a percentage of proceeds from each “We Should All Be Feminists” t-shirt – made famous on their Spring 2017 runway and Rihanna’s Instagram – to the foundation. The Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations is also a partner in the Dior effort.
When receiving the award, Fenty spoke of her desire to help young people from a young age and how she followed her grandmother’s advice. Fenty says her grandmother always said, “If you got a dollar, there’s plenty to share.” Fenty has also established an oncology and nuclear medicine wing at Queen Anne Hospital in Barbados and a scholarship program for Caribbean students studying in the United States. The Barbados Ambassador for Children and Youth supports the Global Partnership for Education and Global Citizen Project, a multiyear campaign that will provide children with access to education in over 60 developing countries, giving priority to girls and those affected by lack of access to education.
Ms. Fenty is an excellent example of someone putting her wealth and celebrity to good use.
Read more about Fenty’s Harvard Humanitarian Award at Caribbean 360.
This post was written by Nsenga K. Burton, founder & editor-in-chief of The Burton Wire. Follow her on Twitter @Ntellectual.