In 2012, Rihanna donated over US$1.5 million worth of radiotherapy equipment to the only public hospital in Barbados, transforming treatment and care for countless people in her home country. The donation was made to honour her late grandmother, Clara Braithwaite, who had passed away from cancer that year. It would be the beginning of what the Grammy-winning superstar would call her Clara Lionel Foundation, named in honour of both her grandparents.
10 years on, the foundation has donated millions to address global injustices, with a focus on social and climate initiatives, particularly in the Caribbean.
According to their website, some of the foundation’s milestones include raising $60 million in their 2013 collaboration with MAC Cosmetics to benefit women and children impacted by HIV/AIDS, launching a global scholarship program in 2016 to support exceptional students from the Caribbean and South America, giving $1 million to emergency response organisations in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian hit, donating $36 million to COVID relief efforts in 2020 with a focus on supporting communities of colour as well as $11.5 million to organisations fighting racial inequality, giving $3 million the following year to grassroots organisations supporting the Asian American and Pacific Islander community and this year, providing funding grants to 18 environmental organisations addressing clean energy policies, land reclamation and more.
“As we reflect on the past decade, one thing is certain – this is just the beginning in the U.S. and around the world, climate policies are being challenged, democracies are being threatened and natural disasters are increasingly becoming more powerful,” Justine Lucas, the foundation’s Executive Director shares in their newsletter.
“Our work won’t stop until the Caribbean becomes the world’s first climate-resilient zone. Our work won’t stop until Black and Brown communities have the resources they need to tackle the climate crisis. Our work won’t stop until we shift how the world responds to inequity and injustice.”
Rihanna’s work has resulted in her earning Harvard’s Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2017, the NAACP President’s Award in 2020 and being named a National Hero of Barbados in 2021.
(Feature Image Credit: Andrea Raffin/Shutterstock)