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Michael Sheen decides to donate all his earnings to social causes as a 'not-for-profit' actor

The 54-year-old Welsh actor and activist pledged to continue funding social causes and projects with his pay.

Michael Sheen decides to donate all his earnings to social causes as a 'not-for-profit' actor
Cover Image Source: Michael Sheen attends the SAG-AFTRA Foundation conversations: "Prodigal Son" at The Robin Williams Center on December 15, 2019, in New York City–Getty Images | Dominik Bindl

Wealthy celebrities are often expected to donate to charities and contribute to other social causes around the around. While some do the needful, others like Michael Sheen go the extra mile to ensure that they leave the world a better place. Sheen is a Welsh actor known for his roles in "Masters of Sex," "The Queen," "Frost/Nixon," "Midnight in Paris" and the "Underworld" film franchise, to name a few. In 2021, the Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA Award nominee revealed that he has turned himself into "a social enterprise, a not-for-profit actor" after deciding that his future earnings would be dedicated to social causes. In an interview with the British newspaper Big Issue, he said he would donate the majority of proceeds from his acting work to promote social causes.

Michael Sheen attends rehearsals for 'Faith Healer' on September 14, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The 'In Camera' production is streaming live directly from the iconic Old Vic stage until Saturday, September 19. (Photo by Manuel Harlan - The Old Vic/The Old Vic via Getty Images)
Image Source: Michael Sheen attends rehearsals for 'Faith Healer' on September 14, 2020 in London, United Kingdom. The 'In Camera' production is streaming live directly from the iconic Old Vic stage until Saturday, September 19–Getty Images | Manuel Harlan

Going into further detail about what he meant, the "Good Omens" star said, "I had committed to helping to organize [2019's Homeless World Cup in Cardiff] and then suddenly, with not long to go, there was no money. I had to make a decision: I could walk away from it and it wouldn't happen. And all those people from all around the world who were banking on coming to have this extraordinary experience, maybe a life-changing experience, wouldn't have it. I thought, 'I'm not going to let that happen.'" He sold his house to ensure the 2019 Homeless World Cup went ahead in Cardiff. "So I put all my money into keeping it going," he continued. "I had a house in America and a house here and I put those up and just did whatever it took."

 Michael Sheen plays the role of Antonio Salieri during a media call for Amadeus at Sydney Opera House on December 30, 2022 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Don Arnold/WireImage)
Image Source: Michael Sheen plays the role of Antonio Salieri during a media call for Amadeus at Sydney Opera House on December 30, 2022, in Sydney, Australia–Getty Images | Don Arnold | WireImage

While the decision was "scary and incredibly stressful" and noting that he will "be paying for it for a long time," he doesn't have any regrets. "When I came out the other side, I realized I could do this kind of thing and if I can keep earning money, it's not going to ruin me," the father-of-two said. "There was something quite liberating about going, 'Alright, I'll put large amounts of money into this or that because I'll be able to earn it back again.' I've essentially turned myself into a social enterprise, a not-for-profit actor."


 
 
 
 
 
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The actor added that he went through "turning point" experiences that changed his perspective on his life and career. The 54-year-old told the magazine he wants to "be one of those people who help other people the way so many people helped me."



 

 "I don't want to just be someone who enjoys the fruits of what other people have done and then pull the drawbridge up and go, 'Well, I'm alright Jack, I've had a nice time.' I'm at the stage of my life and career where I have a window of opportunity that will probably never be this good again," he said. "I'm able to get people in a room; I can open doors. I don't want to look back and think, 'I could have done something with that platform. I could have done something with that money.'"

The Guardian reports the actor is a patron of several British charities. He has even helped set up the End High-Cost Credit Alliance in 2017 to help people find more affordable ways of borrowing money. He also pledged £50,000 over five years to fund a bursary to help Welsh students attend Oxford University.

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