Cate Blanchett, Michael Bloomberg, John Legend Cover Town & Country Philanthropy Issue

Town & Country June/July 2017_Michael Bloomberg_john legend_cate blanchett_new york gossip gal

Photographer: Max Vadukul

For its annual Philanthropy issue (June/July), Town & Country is releasing three very special covers, featuring musical sensation John Legend, silver screen star Cate Blanchett, and former politician and business giant Michael Bloomberg.

Town & Country June/July 17_Cate Blanchett_new york gossip gal_michael bloomberg_john legend

Photographer: Max Vadukul

The thread that ties these three together? Their tireless philanthropic efforts in making this world a better place.

These three cover stars are a part of the larger annual T&C 50 Philanthropists list featuring a powerhouse lineup of movers and shakers.

John and Michael spoke at the fourth annual T&C Philanthropy Summit which began with one question: What Can I Do?

The Summit brought together top thought leaders including Michael Bloomberg, John Legend, Glenn Close, Valerie Jarrett and more to answer this question and raise more while discussing the most pressing issues of the moment including Climate Change, Mental Illness, Criminal Justice Reform, Global Refugee Crisis, Supporting the Arts and How Private Philanthropists Can Make the Most Impact.

The awesome, inspiring, impactful day of panels and conversations with the top philanthropists and advocates in the world included lots of impressive strong women speaking including Elaine Wynn, Sarah Jones, Zosia Mamet and Charlotte Jones Anderson, the first woman to serve as Chairman of the Salvation Army’s National Advisory Board.



  • On speaking out as a public figure:“Obviously, when you step out on anything that’s controversial, someone disagrees with you. And some people take that disagreement in stride and say, You know, I don’t agree with you, but I like your music, so I’ll still buy it, or, I’ll still come to your shows. Some people can’t separate the two and say, If I disagree with you politically, you’re not going to make money off of me. And that’s just the price that we have to be willing to pay… some of the greatest artists we’ve ever known have been willing to risk some social capital to try to improve the lives of other people.”
  • On his passion behind his criminal justice efforts: “When I accepted the Oscar for “Glory,” for the film Selma, something that I wanted to highlight about the movement that encompassed Martin Luther King and other civil rights activists is that we are still dealing with issues of freedom and justice in America in the 21stcentury. I specifically chose to talk about our mass incarceration problem, because if you want to talk about what is going on with America today that Dr. King would be concerned about, I think mass incarceration would be right near the top.”
  • On racism in our modern society: “People feel defensive around the subject of racism, and they shut down, because they feel like they may say the wrong thing and you’ll think less of them. But we have to deal with the fact that these issues have a real impact on people’s lives. There’s a real impact when they’re not getting called back after they’ve applied for a job because they have the wrong name. And there’s a real impact when a police officer assume a person to be more of a threat because of the color of the person’s skin. We are dealing with these things every day, and the only way we are going to fix them is if we confront them, listen to one another, and empathize with one another’s concerns. We can’t worry more about being accused of being racist than we do about actually fixing the racism problem.”


  • On what drew her to work on behalf of refugees: “Actually, being a mother was, for me, undeniably a central point of connection to the refugee crisis. Learning that more than 10 million of the world’s refugees are children, and then meeting refugee parents in Jordan and Lebanon who had fled to protect the lives and futures of their children—well, that was personally heartbreaking and galvanizing.”
  • On the beating celebrities take for trying to use their fame to do good: “I feel an obligation to use my voice to speak up for those who are voiceless. It just so happens that my voice is able to reach a larger audience because of the fact that I have a public profile. If that were something that I thought was worthy of criticism or cynicism, then perhaps it would bother me that there are people out there who look to belittle or demonize those who are trying—in some small way—to help.”
  • On the importance of moving people in the comfortable West to action: “Never has there been a greater need for tolerance, compassion, and solidarity with people who have lost everything. Never has there been a more important time to advocate for shared responsibility within our own communities and to address the fear and xenophobia that are dividing societies. Humanizing the issue—telling the individual human story—is one way to tackle that fear and indifference.”


  • On how philanthropy was planted in him as a child: “I remember my father giving 50 bucks, which was a lot of money to him in those days, to the NAACP. And I remember I asked, Why are we giving money to the NAACP? And he said because discrimination against anybody is discrimination against everybody.”
  • On how he was able to transmit values of philanthropy to his daughters while giving them an affluent upbringing: “I think you do that in general conversation, over dinner. I’ll never forget, I had Emma, my older daughter, with me one day at my offices on Park Avenue between 58thand 59th, and she looked out the window, and there was somebody living in a cardboard box on the island in the middle of Park Avenue. She asked me why somebody was living there when we have a place to live. I had to explain to her, which is not an easy thing to do, why we didn’t do something for that guy at that very moment. When I became mayor I made sure that when there was a situation like that, government responded, and we sent out teams and nobody had to sleep on the streets anymore. We didn’t get everybody, but we made a very big difference in the homeless population.”
  • On the White House’s recent rollback of environmental efforts: “It is not an intelligent thing to do. Hopefully, somebody will come and convince Trump and he’ll change his mind… If I can help him run a good government, I have an obligation as an American patriot to do that. But when he does things I disagree with, I also have an obligation to myself to stand up and say so…. Once he got elected, that’s history, and now I have to see if I can influence him. He hasn’t called me. He’s called once since he got elected. But if he called me, I’d be happy to tell him what I think.”

Additionally, the T&C 50 Philanthropy issue highlights a venerable group of 50 academics, business tycoons, entertainers, political leaders, and tech giants who are currently shifting the philanthropic landscape including Joe and Jill BidenRon Perelman, Jordan Hewson (Bono and Ali Hewson’s daughter), Sheri & Howard SchultzDayle HaddonPaul AllenAnna Deavere Smith and more.

Full list of T&C 50 Philanthropists in alphabetical order:

  • Anna Deavere Smith – MacArthur genius grant recipient, Uses theatre within her Pipeline Project to show how lack of opportunity can lead people into the criminal justice system.
  • Bill & Melinda Gates – Launched the Gates Open Research initiative to fund free access publishing site for their researchers and a plan to develop vaccines before epidemics break out.
  • Billy & Jennifer Frist – Nashville philanthropists who founded the Autism Innovation Roundtable, an annual forum hosted with UBS; are launching a collaboration with Vanderbilt University, UBS, and Ernie Dianastasis, which will identify individual’s with disabilities specific skill set; then match them with employers – if successful the Frists hope to take global.
  • Cari Tuna & Dustin Moskovitz – Facebook co-founder and his journalist wife dedicated tens of millions to researching biosecurity, the risks posed by artificial intelligence, and pandemic preparedness through their Good Ventures foundation and Open Philanthropy Project.
  • Cate Blanchett – Actress and President/CEO of the International Rescue Committee
  • Charles F. Feeney – Founder of Duty Free pledged to give away his entire fortune by 2016, which he did, making donations supporting education, public health, and human rights.
  • Charlotte Jones Anderson – First woman to chair the NFL Foundation and famously turn the Dallas Cowboys’ 1997 Thanksgiving game into a national fundraiser for Salvation Army – which she has been supporting ever since.
  • Connie Nielsen – Danish Actress and co-founder of Human Needs Project that provides basic infrastructure and services to one of Africa’s most impoverished slums – it will serve as a blueprint for future centers.
  • Courtenay Cabot Venton – Economist seeking funds (or avoiding cuts) from world powers to invest in avoiding humanitarian crises and to address conflicts and disasters.
  • Craig Kielburger – Founder of, his lastest project, Me to We, is a sustainable tourism initiative that curates service-oriented trips with the goal of making sustainable vacations and traveling with purpose possible.
  • Darren Walker – President of Ford Foundation, committed $1 billion to mission-related investing for companies that seek not only financial returns but concrete social ones.
  • David Miliband – Head of the International Rescue Committee, the IRC has been trying to settle refugees in America and Europe against political odds helping victims of crises like the Syrian war.
  • Dayle Haddon – Former model and founder of Women One, bringing quality education to girls without access to it- especially those in refugee camps.
  • Elaine Wynn – Vegas mogul, donated $1 million to Planned Parenthood last winter, using her money to level inequalities among the nation’s schools and keep the arts vibrant.
  • Eli & Edythe Broad – Billionaire art collectors who increased funding in stem cell research centers at three universities, funding has already helped cure a severe combined immunodeficiency disease and manage macular degeneration.
  • Gbenga & Aisha Oyebode – She is a co-convener of Bring Back Our Girls in response to the Boko Haram kidnappings, she also runs the Murtala Muhammed Foundation – with overall goals to empower African women and supporting the arts.
  • Glenn E. Martin – Founded JustLeadershipUSA to equip ex-cons with the skills needed to influence and create policy; working to change the way criminal justice is handled at the local level.
  • Henry Timms – Director of the 92nd Street Y, started #GivingTuesday which follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday leveraging capitalism for charity. Last year, $177 million was raised online in 24 hours.
  • Howard & Cindy Rachofsky – Couple who opened their Richard Meier designed home for their annual Two X Two art auction raising funds to combat AIDS with art.
  • Jacqueline Novogratz – Acumen group funds socially minded entrepreneurs, launching Acumen America to focus on problems in the United States in 2016, and this year started and initiative to bring clean energy to 15 million people in East Africa.
  • James Simons – Founder of Renaissance Technologies, created the Flatiron Institute to develop software for advanced research in neuroscience, genomics and galaxy formation.
  • Jeff Skoll – Former eBay executive’s, Skoll Global Threats Fund assembles experts, organizations and governments to “safeguard humanity” from threats like nuclear weapons and climate change.
  • Joe & Jill Biden – Former vice president of the United States and wife, launched the Biden Foundation and continues to support the White House Cancer Moonshot Task Force in an effort to accelerate research and care through data-sharing and partnerships between the public and private sectors.
  • John Legend – Musician and Founder of Unlocked Futures; Unlocked Futures is a fund that will provide grants and training to formerly incarcerated people to launch businesses.
  • Jon Huntsman Sr. – Billionaire plans to donate his fortune to Salt Lake City’s Huntsman Cancer Institute before his death, this month a $173 million expansion opens that includes a biotechnology center.
  • Jordan Hewson – Columbia grad and daughter of Bono and Ali Hewson, founded Speakable. Its products empower readers to act on online stories they care about by donating, signing petitions, or e-mailing policymakers to help the average person make an impact.
  • Laura & John Arnold – Made fortune as natural gas trader at Enron and distributes his funds to reform the criminal justice system and improve education. They gave $59 million to education initiatives last year and partner with the Pew Trusts on various projects.
  • Lee Min-Bok – North Korean biologist who is the godfather of South Korea’s balloon warriors, who use helium to send information across the boarder – empowering North Korea’s citizens.
  • Lilianne Ploumen – Dutch minister launched She Decides to close the $600 million gap when Donald Trump pulled aid to groups providing abortions or family planning.
  • Luma Mufleh – Jordan-born Smith graduate who started a soccer team for kids in a Georgia refugee camp and within a few years it became Fugees Academy, a school that graduated its first senior class – all college-bound last year. She is now taking this method to refugee communities nationwide.
  • Mandy Patinkin – Actor working with International Rescue Committee to meet families on migrant routes in Greece, Serbia and Germany sharing their stories to prove they aren’t the enemy.
  • Michael Bloomberg – Former Mayor of NYC and Author of Climate of Hope
  • Mike Porath – Former AOL news editor in chief launched the Mighty website to offer support and news community for people affected by disease, disability and mental illness.
  • Nicole Hockley – After the death of her son fellow parents started Sandy Hook Promise to lobby for mental health awareness and gun policy change. She is working to pass Gun Violence Restraining Orders to take guns away from at-risk people.
  • Nitzia Logothetis – Her NYC- based Seleni Institute is going global this year, clinicians will be trained to properly care for women with maternity disorders, and telemental health services will provide specialized treatment via secure video feed.
  • Paul Allen – Donated millions to thwart the Ebola epidemic and invested to start the bioscience-focused Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group.
  • Paul & Maurice Marciano – Brothers behind the Guess fashion empire who are opening the doors of the Marciano Art Foundation in Los Angeles housing their collection of contemporary works.
  • Pierre & Pam Omidyar – eBay founder and his wife announced pledged $100 million to support journalism and fight fake news and hate speech. Among the beneficiaries is the Anti-Defamation League, which will use the money to build a Silicon Valley command center dedicated to stamping out online hate.
  • Priscilla Chan & Mark Zuckerberg – Couple have promised to give 99% of their Facebook shares to their Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, they also recently donated millions to alleviate the eviction crisis in the Bay Area and announced a $3 billion effort to cure disease via new technologies.
  • Sanford & Joan Weill – Former chief executive and chairman of Citigroup and his wife donated millions to launch the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences to end Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and related disorders.
  • Sean & Alexandra Parker – Persuaded six prestigious cancer hospitals to share their expertise, a level of collaboration previous unheard of. The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which the couple founded last year, also trains scientists.
  • Sheri & Howard Schultz – Former CEO of Starbucks, announced plans to hire 10,000 refugees after the president’s travel ban, demonstrating compassionate capitalism.
  • Sheryl Sandberg – COO of Facebook, donated millions of company stock to the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Foundation which funds (empowering women) and (helping people manage grief).
  • Todd Wagner – Helps non-profits conquer the digital landscape through the Charity Network, the of philanthropy.
  • Reed Hastings – Co-founder and CEO of Netflix, launched fund to the United Negro College Fund and the Hispanic Foundation of Silicon Valley to support education.
  • Richard Branson – Virgin Group billionaire promoting sustainability and socially responsible capitalism, most recently using a sinking ship that survived Pearl Harbor in the West Indies to create an artificial reef ecosystem that will serve as an underwater art installation.
  • Robert F. Smith – Private equity billionaire, made second largest donation to the National Museum of African American History & Culture and is the first African-American chairman of Carnegie Hall.
  • Ron Perelman – Business tycoon and Giving Pledge signatory, his newest endeavor, constructing the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center to showcase the world’s greatest artists and productions, and emerging performers.
  • Roxanne Quimby – Co-founder of Burt’s Bees, also funds youth art programs, donated 87,000 acres of her Quimby Family Foundation’s 120,000 acres of wilderness to the federal government – to preserve wildlife, particularly in her home state of Maine.
  • Sandra Uwiringiyimana – Co-founder of the Jimbere Fund and author, championing causes including ending child marriage and bringing education and opportunity to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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