Reported by Robert Stitt
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
— “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson
Michael Jackson was the undisputed King of Pop. Whether you loved him or not, he changed the face and sound of music forever. He also changed a lot of lives for the better along the way.
According to Celebrity Net Worth, Jackson gave generously to the United Negro College Fund; the AIDS project in Los Angeles; various programs for Africa, Thailand, India, Poland and Romania; the Make a Wish Foundation and many, many more known and unknown charities.
Jackson was only 12 years old and singing with the Jackson 5 in 1970 when he performed at his first benefit concert. It would be the first of many. In 1981, the Jackson 5 organized and held a concert for the Atlanta Children’s Foundation. Later, Jackson co-wrote the hit song, “We are the World,” raising almost $70 million to help combat famine in Africa, and after the terrorist attack of September 11, he helped raise $15 million with a self-organized benefit concert.
Apart from concerts, Jackson also donated his personal time and money. After his notorious hair-on-fire incident while filming a commercial for Pepsi, he donated millions of dollars, including his entire salary from the Pepsi endorsement, to the Michael Jackson Burn Center for Children.
He held an art auction to raise over $2 million to provide assistance to needy families in South Africa. The British Children’s Charity and the Heal the World Foundation also received generous amounts. Elizabeth Taylor’s AIDS Foundation received $500,000, and “Families Caring for Families” was blessed with $5.5 million.
He supported the 1995 Million Man March, gave to needy children in Romania and Bangkok, and assisted the “Motown Museum Historic Foundation.” Children in Bombay received millions of dollars and children in Poland received almost a million dollars worth of toys.
These numbers are the type that boggle the mind. Most of us don’t write checks with five numbers before the decimal, let alone six and seven of them. In all, Celebrity Net Worth estimates that in addition to large amounts of time and effort to support charities and causes, Michael Jackson gave in excess of $100 million over the course of his life to try to make the world a better place.
The old saying goes, “put your money where your mouth is.” Michael Jackson did that and more.