Celebrity philanthropists Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds back Ukraine appeal

Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have pledged to match donations to Ukraine up to £750,000. (Getty Images)
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds have pledged to match donations to Ukraine up to £750,000. (Getty Images)

Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively have pledged to match donations up to £750,000 to support the growing number of Ukrainian refugees.

The Hollywood power couple urged fans to donate to humanitarian charity US For UNHCR to help the thousands of citizens displaced by the conflict and said they would double the support shown.

“In 48 hours, countless Ukrainians were forced to flee their homes to neighbouring countries,” the Deadpool star wrote online.

“They need protection. @usaforunhcr is providing it. When you donate, we’ll match it up to 1,000,000 dollars, creating DOUBLE the support.

Actress Lively added: “@usaforunhcr is on the ground helping the 50,000+ Ukrainians who had to flee their homes in less than 48 hours.

“@usaforunhcr is providing life saving aid, and also working with neighbouring countries to ensure protection for these families.”

Of course, the Hollywood super-couple aren't the only stars known for their philanthropic work.

Country star Dolly Patron has donated millions to charity and healthcare over the years. In 2020 she donated £750,000 towards the development of the Moderna Covid vaccine.

Country star Dolly Patron is well-known for her charity work. (Getty Images)
Country star Dolly Patron is well-known for her charity work. (Getty Images)

Read more: Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds Promise to Match Donations to Ukrainian Refugees Up to $1 Million

But her charitable work dates back years. In 1988 she launched the Dollywood Foundation aimed at decreasing high school drop-out rates. She gave £370 to every seventh and eighth grader who finished high school in her home county of Sevier, Tennessee. The programme was successful in cutting leaving rates from 35 per cent to just six per cent.

Then in 1995, inspired by her own father's illiteracy, she set up the Imagination Library sending one book every month to each enrolled child in Sevier County from birth until their first year of school.

Following the release of her I Believe in You children’s album in 2017, Parton then made a substantial donation of around £750,000 to the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in honour of her niece, who was treated for leukemia at that hospital.

Read more: 34 times celebrities became real-life heroes and saved people's lives

Manchester United star Christiano Ronaldo is also known for his generosity. He auctioned off his Ballon d'Or trophy for £600,000 in 2017 and donated all the proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

In May 2017, a terrorist detonated a bomb at Ariana Grande's Manchester concert, killing 22 people.

The devastated pop singer returned to the city just weeks later and raised an enormous £19,672,400 by putting together a benefit concert, One Love Manchester, to support victims.

Watch now: Manchester 'celebratory' concert

Oprah Winfrey set up her own foundation to help educate women and children around the world. In 2006, she donated around £26m of her own money to the charity. Later in 2020, the foundation donated around £7.5m to the covid pandemic relief efforts to help families who rely on school lunch programmes, the elderly and low-income families.

Oprah Winfrey's foundation focuses on education. (REUTERS)
Oprah Winfrey's foundation focuses on education. (REUTERS)

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Back in 2004, actor Mel Gibson donated around £7.5m to be split between Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and the Cedars-Sinal Medical Center in LA to help care for children from foreign countries.

The donation was to help children with serious medical conditions who were unable to be treated in their own countries.

Many celebrities feel a responsibility to give back as their fortune grows – in these difficult times, being able to use their work as a force for good can be immensely rewarding.

“Celebrities are in a unique position of being able to engage and influence a massive global audience," says celebrity agent Kirsty Milner, founder of Stella Media. "Using their fame and platform to speak out about and donate to causes they and their fans believe in is a moral and ethical duty, and one they can certainly afford."