Leonardo DiCaprio just celebrated the 20th anniversary of his non-profit organisation, the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation. Yes, somewhere in between becoming the legendary Jack Dawson in Titanic and the reigning King of France in The Man In The Iron Mask, Leo started his foundation with one important mission in mind – to protect the world’s last wild places.
Over two decades, he’s been doing just that and more. We’re talking protecting endangered species from extinction, restoring balance to threatened ecosystems, raising awareness about global warming and taking action to fight it.
“Since 1998, we have supported over 200 projects on every continent and in every ocean” Leo explains at the foundation’s 20th anniversary gala event in California over the weekend.
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Dr Goodall had an incredible time with inspirational friends @leonardodicaprio and @markruffalo among others at the 20th anniversary @leonardodicapriofdn gala – the focus, determination and compassion of these individuals fill the world with so much hope! To follow Jane as she travels 300 days a year around the globe to spread her message of peace and human responsibility, follow #wheresjane and check bit.ly/wheresjane | #drgoodall #drjanegoodall #janegoodall #conservation #markruffalo #leodicaprio #leonardodicaprio #hope (end photo by Getty)
And there’s no sign they’re slowing down: “I am pleased to announce $11 million in new grants across our six program areas bringing the total financial impact of LDF to over $100 million.”
It’s a funny thing to see the magazines go crazy over who he’s dating or what shape his body is in this week or, my personal favourite – WHEN WILL HE SETTLE DOWN?! – when the real stories about Leo seem so blatantly obvious.
Like that time in 2013 when his foundation sponsored a petition which attracted 1.5 million signatures and lead to Prime Minister Yingluck Shingawatra pledging to end the ivory trade in Thailand.
Or that time in 2014 when he was appointed a United Nations Messenger of Peace for the climate.
Or that time he met with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to help save the vaquita – a critically endangered species of porpoise.
Or the countless times his foundation has given away millions of dollars in grants to support all sorts of projects, from protecting rain forests in Indonesia and the Amazon to marine conservation programs all over the world.
20 years of this stuff, you guys. 20 YEARS!
And if you aren’t already one of Leo’s 25.8 million Insta followers or his 16 million Facebook fans (who even are you?), just take a look at his social media accounts. You won’t find a single selfie on there. EVERY post is dedicated to an environmental cause. EVERY post has a purpose.