The actor founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation at the age of 24 in 1998 with the 'mission of protecting the world’s last wild places.'
When it comes to fighting climate change and reversing the damage mankind has inflicted on Mother Earth, Leonardo DiCaprio has been putting his money where his mouth is for years. The Hollywood heartthrob has gone above and beyond in his quest to save the planet even as certain world leaders (you know who) insist that these very real environmental concerns are nothing but "fake news." Rather than sitting around twiddling his thumbs and waiting for climate change deniers to step up and smell the smoke in the air, DiCaprio has taken it upon himself to get the job done in any which way he can.
The Titanic star founded the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation at the age of 24 in 1998 with the "mission of protecting the world’s last wild places. LDF implements solutions that help restore balance to threatened ecosystems, ensuring the long-term health and well-being of all Earth’s inhabitants." Over the past two decades, the actor has slowly but surely been working towards his dream of a better world by both using his stardom to bring attention to the crisis and providing financial aid to high-impact projects across the globe.
Leonardo DiCaprio my Fave Actor and Humanitarium for Climate Change 👍 pic.twitter.com/re7zOL0Yfo— Berry (@BerryYNWA) September 24, 2019
Through grantmaking, public campaigns and media initiatives, LDF brings attention and needed funding to six program areas -- Wildlands Conservation, Oceans Conservation, Climate Change, Indigenous Rights, Transforming California, and Innovative Solutions, states the foundation's official website. DiCaprio's tireless work towards his cause has even been recognized by the UN as evidenced by his position as the United Nations Messenger of Peace for Climate Change. In addition to founding the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, the star also serves on the board of several environmental organizations including the World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Geographic’s Pristine Seas, Oceans 5, and the International Fund for Animal Welfare.
The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary in September last year. The Shutter Island star hosted a celebration "to raise funds for its global environmental efforts to address climate change and protect biodiversity." Speaking at the event, the 44-year-old said, "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."
Proceeds from @dicapriofdn's 20th Anniversary Celebration online auction will support LDF's work around the world to build climate resiliency, protect vulnerable wildlife, and restore balance to threatened ecosystems and communities. Learn more here: https://t.co/FWCTufBHHN.— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) September 13, 2018
DiCaprio added, "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."
The actor further amplified his efforts to save the planet, in the aftermath of hitting such a monumental milestone, by partnering with Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth earlier this year to launch the Earth Alliance. "I am incredibly proud of the impact my foundation has had over the last 20 years by supporting nearly 200 projects from 132 different organizations across climate science, marine and land conservation, critical species preservation, and indigenous rights. Today marks the next step in the evolution of LDF as it fully merges under the new Earth Alliance management and grant-making framework. Laurene and Brian are incredible civic leaders who share my passion and understanding of the urgency and scale of the challenges we face. I am proud to partner with them to form this new larger, nimble platform that shares resources and expertise while identifying the best programs to drive real change around the planet," DiCaprio said at the time.
Protect. Recover. Restore. The new #Forests4Life Partnership, which is being announced now at the #UNClimateSummit will halt and reverse the degradation of a billion hectares of the world’s great forests, ensuring a viable future for all life on Earth. Join us. #ClimateAction pic.twitter.com/zmc7YBRWMU— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) September 25, 2019
Just about a month since its launch, the Earth Alliance announced that the organization has pledged $5 million to help preserve the Amazon rainforest. #EarthAlliance has formed an emergency Amazon Forest Fund with $5m to focus critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the biodiversity of the Amazon against the surge of fires, the organization tweeted at the time. DiCaprio confirmed the news himself by sharing a post by the organization which stated, Earth Alliance is committed to helping protect the natural world. We are deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the Amazon, which highlights the delicate balance of climate, biodiversity, and the wellbeing of indigenous peoples.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 27, 2019.