With the fame and fortune that comes with being a celebrity, some use it for good to raise awareness for causes that are close to their hearts. Social media highlights these organizations in hopes that loyal followers will learn more about their impactful work.
While there are several who show their love for animals through rescue and adoption, some celebrities have gone above and beyond by starting their own animal foundations. We’ve compiled a list of some all-star celebrities in the animal welfare community.
While country music star Miranda Lambert was on the road, she would often use her free time to visit local shelters. It was at one of these shelters that she adopted her first pup, Deliliah, and she became her furry companion on the road.
In order to shine a light on rescue animals and shelters, Lambert and her mom, Bev Lambert, decided to start their own rescue called MuttNation Foundation. Their mission is to promote and facilitate the adoption of shelter pets, encourage spay and neuter of all pets, and to educate the public on these beneficial actions.
Lambert often holds high profile adoption events at her concerts and country music award shows, as well as setting up a donation drive at all of her concerts for local shelters. MuttNation is also committed to providing transportation during times of emergency and disaster. Lambert also sells roses on MuttNation.com with a portion of the money being donated to MuttNation Foundation to help further the foundation’s goals.
When Amanda Balionis is not reporting for CBS at a PGA TOUR event, an NFL game, or a college football game, you can most likely find her at a local shelter in one of the many cities she visits for work. Balionis’ passion runs deep when it comes to rescue animals and the support they can provide to families, especially military families.
Balionis combined her love of golf and rescue dogs to establish her non-profit, Puppies and Golf. Their mission is to protect and advocate for dogs in need of companionship by supporting organizations dedicated to connecting humans and dogs for a lifetime of purpose and love, with an emphasis on Military veterans.
Puppies and Golf has partnered with K9s for Warriors to support military veterans in need of long-lasting K9 companionship. They also help provide grants to shelters around the country to help ease financial burdens and provide grants to rescue dog owners that need additional financial assistance.
Hilaroo is the brainchild of two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank. While filming in South Africa, Swank stumbled upon a stray dog named Karoo and instantly fell in love. She decided to bring him home after filming wrapped so she could help nurse him back to health as he was malnourished and infested with worms.
When Karoo passed prematurely just before his eighth birthday, Swank decided to turn her sadness into a positive and honored Karoo’s legacy by starting the Hilaroo Foundation. The Hilaroo Foundation pairs rescue animals who have been abandoned with youth who, whether by choice or circumstance, have been given up on by society to create meaningful connections.
Hilaroo’s programs currently exist in the form of one-week camps in the summer and holiday months as well as after school programs where a child is paired with his or her own dog to bond with and care for. The foundation’s ultimate goal is to have their own facility where they can provide youth with responsibility training so they can go out into the world and make it a better place themselves and invite the community to adoption events.
Grammy award winning artist Rob Thomas and his wife Marisol founded the Sidewalk Angels Foundation in 2003 with a focus on providing critically needed funds and support to no-kill shelters and rescues. Thomas’ foundation helps shelters all across the globe including Mexico, the Caribbean, and Serbia in hopes of fighting for the rights and fair treatment of those with no voice.
In past years, they’ve helped shelters and rescues build proper infrastructure with both indoor and outdoor kennels. They’ve also helped organizations across the United States with big cross-country rescues and large medical expenses.
Sidewalk Angels is also committed to helping organizations dedicated to increasing public awareness through educational programs that focus on the frequency of violent crimes against animals, and the correlation between animal abuse and violent behavior of animals towards people.
Throughout the COVID pandemic, Thomas and his wife have been extremely active in the animal welfare community, hosting a virtual benefit to raise money for people, their pets, and shelters impacted by COVID-19. They’ve also partnered with Global Lyme Alliance to bring awareness about lyme disease prevention for people and pets – and how to protect all family members from lyme and tick-borne diseases.
Ian Somerhalder is most famous for his roles as Boone Carlyle from the television series Lost and as Damon Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries. When he’s not in character, Somerhalder does a lot of good behind the scenes with his foundation, The Ian Somerhalder Foundation.
Born and raised in Louisiana, Somerhalder was inspired to take action after seeing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil Spill, so he started his foundation in 2010. Its aim is to empower, educate and collaborate with people and projects to positively impact the planet and its creatures.
A few years after starting his foundation, Somerhalder announced that he was opening his own animal sanctuary in Louisiana. The shelter is not only meant to help animals, but also help teen bullying victims by having them care for the homeless pets on the premises.
The celebrities mentioned above successfully used their voices to reach the large audiences that follow them to make a huge difference in the rescue community. Although we only focused on five well-known names and their foundations, there are many people, famous or not, who continue to move the rescue community in the right direction.
Make a splash with other rescue efforts: