After becoming a world-famous actor at the age of 24 with his award-winning role in Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio decided to use his money and fame to help save the world. He started by founding the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation (LDF) dedicated ultimately to save us from ourselves. Since then he has given out grants worth over $100,000,000 through LDF to organizations battling climate change.
The foundation’s mission is to support innovative projects, through collaborative partnerships, that will make a positive impact on the planet. Its goals are to protect vulnerable wildlife from extinction while at the same time restoring balance to threatened ecosystems and communities. LDF accomplishes this through six main program areas – Wildlands Conservation, Oceans Conservation, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, Transforming California, and Innovative Solutions.
“When I founded LDF 20 years ago, I did so based on the simple idea that we could make a real difference by directly funding some of the most effective environmental projects – whether it be individuals, grassroots movements or major nonprofits, we wanted to focus on getting critical funding to those who could have the greatest impact. We are extremely proud to celebrate 20 years of this model. Since 1998, we have supported over 200 projects on every continent and in every ocean from habitat and species conservation, renewable energy, climate change, indigenous rights, and more. 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.” – Leonardo DiCaprio
That above was part of his speech at a 20th Anniversary Celebration he hosted for LDF. It was more than just a party. It was an auction of fine arts organized to raise funds for LDF global environmental efforts, ones that address climate change and protect biodiversity. All proceeds went on to support LDF’s critical environmental programs. The money they earned from sales was given to the foundation’s grantee partners “who are on the front lines in every corner of the globe working to protect the earth and all of its inhabitants from climate change and the array of environmental crises it has created.”
The event was a zero waste, completely sustainable celebration. It used 100% renewable energy and locally sourced organic foods. Any leftover food was donated to Sonoma Family Meal to help victims of the Sonoma County fires. Even the waste was utilized by composting everything from the event.
To make sure people got the credit they deserved, many individuals were awarded and acknowledged for impressive contributions to protecting our planet. Leonardo DiCaprio did not leave out those special souls from his speech:
“This year we honor extraordinary individuals and organizations for their contributions to protecting our planet, and for upholding the core beliefs of LDF. Through his art, Wayne Thiebaud has invigorated and inspired people to take action to protect our planet. Arne Glimcher, working with the African Environmental Film Foundation, has been instrumental in educating the public on environmental concerns throughout Africa. We are also pleased to recognize LDF grantees Amazon Frontlines and Ceibo Alliance. The partnership these organizations have formed has proven essential in leading a resistance to defend indigenous territory and culture. Their courageous work has prevented rainforest destruction throughout Ecuador and we honor them for their work.”
Some of the most recent good deeds of LDF include donations to support disaster relief efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Florence and donations to the Just and Resilient Future Fund following recent fires in the Napa Valley region. With these donations the people who have lost everything have hope that things will be ok again.
People like DiCaprio helping humanity doesn’t just help people materialistically, it helps them mentally as well. Hope is a powerful thing especially in the face of great destruction and tragedy… it can make all the difference in the world.