Thursday, July 9, 2009
On July 8, 2009, as many continued the mourning and reflections on the life of Michael Jackson, the Los Angeles Times reported on a lesser known but most important part of his legacy -- his philanthropy. Below is an excerpt from the article:
Before the financial woes that haunted him in recent years, Jackson was one of the industry's most formidable philanthropists. For example:
* He donated proceeds from the 1988 song "Man in the Mirror" to Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times, a camp for children who suffer from cancer.
* He equipped a 19-bed-unit at Mount Sinai New York Medical Center for cancer research and donated part of the earnings from his Victory Tour to the United Negro College Fund.
* He donated all the money he received from his Pepsi endorsements -- $1.5 million -- to the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children at Brotman Medical Center in Culver City. Jackson had been treated there when he was burned during the production of a Pepsi commercial.
* Before a concert at Wembley Stadium in 1988, Michael met with Prince Charles and Princess Diana, handing over checks totaling more than $400,000 for the Prince's Trust and a children's hospital.
* He founded the Heal the World Foundation to fight illness and poverty among children around the world.
* He boldly joined Ryan White -- a boy who was infected with HIV by contaminated blood transfusions, in his fight against the discrimination of those with AIDS -- at a time of great fear and dread over the AIDS epidemic. In 1993, Jackson was one of the stars to perform at Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration. Before he sang "Gone Too Soon," he talked about the plight of those with AIDS and mentioned Ryan, who died of the disease in 1990.
Seven years later, the Guinness Book of World Records cited Jackson for holding the world record for the "Most Charities Supported by a Pop Star." It's unclear how much Jackson had donated over the years, but some estimates put the number at more than $500 million.
Just perhaps, this is his greatest legacy and contribution to humankind -- his charity. For the full story, please click here.