George Michael Was a Covert Philanthropist, Secretly Giving Millions to Charity
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It’s no secret that George Michael performed as part of Band Aid and Live Aid in the ’80s, which raised millions for Ethiopia, but since the pop star’s death on Christmas Day at the age of 53, the world has learned that during his lifetime Michael anonymously donated millions to charity.
Childline, a UK-based charity for children’s services, received millions in donations from Michael over the years, though the singer declined any recognition. The organization’s founder, Esther Rantzen, has said, “For years now he has been the most extraordinarily generous philanthropist, giving money to Childline, but he was determined not to make his generosity public so no one outside the charity knew how much he gave to the nation’s most vulnerable children.”
It’s truly a shame that Michael died so young, as Rantzen says a concert in tribute to him was planned for the org’s 30th anniversary.
Richard Osman, a British TV personality and executive producer of the UK version of Deal or No Deal, has said Michael once gave a losing contestant the £15,000 she needed for IVF treatment, albeit anonymously.
Twitter user Emilyne Mondo mentioned after Michael’s passing that he used to volunteer at the same homeless shelter as her.
George Michael worked anonymously at a homeless shelter I was volunteering at. I’ve never told anyone, he asked we didn’t. That’s who he was
— EMILYNE MONDO (@EmilyneMondo) December 26, 2016
When Michael competed on a celebrity edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, gambling with charity money, he swore to repay any money he lost.
George Michael was also the only star on HWTBAMillionaire who, when gambling all the charity’s cash, said “if I lose it, I’ll just pay it”.
— Sali Hughes (@salihughes) December 26, 2016
In 2006, as a special thank you for the nurses who cared for his mother, Michael held a special London concert for NHS nurses. Since then, he’s given away tons of free tickets to nurses.
George Michael used to give a bunch of free tickets to his shows to NHS nurses. He allocated a whole area of Wembley to nurses. DEMOGRAPHIC.
— Hayley Campbell (@hayleycampbell) December 26, 2016
Many weren’t aware that Michael charitably donated many of his royalties as well: number-one 1996 single “Jesus to a Child”; “Last Christmas / Everything She Wants,” to Ethiopian famine relief; “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” to the AIDS hospice London Lighthouse and the Rainbow Trust children’s charity.
In 2000, Michael bought the piano on which John Lennon composed “Imagine for £1.45 million from a private collector, then later donated it to the Beatles Story museum in Liverpool so it would stay in Lennon’s hometown forever.
It’s notable that George Michael’s secrets seem to have been covert acts of extraordinary generosity
— Janine Gibson (@janinegibson) December 26, 2016
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