These Are the Causes Philanthropists Like Oprah Winfrey and Miami Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross Are Supporting

With productions halted, museums shuttered, and concerts canceled, the financial ruin felt by the creative community has caught the attention of donors devoted to making a difference. A growing number of these givers are taking the soaring unemployment rate of the industry into their own hands, discerning that a stimulus check or small business loan may not be enough to get students, families, and professionals through the crisis. Others are prioritizing inclusivity, equality, and diversity through educational funding. Here’s our list of notable sports, media, and entertainment gifts in Los Angeles and New York.


Carola Jain, Chief Marketing Officer, Spartan
Robert Jain, Co-chief Investment Officer, Millennium Management

$1M, Diversity and Inclusion in Education

The couple established the Robert and Carola Jain Cornell Promise Scholarship, a $1M need-based fund to financially support Black students at Cornell University. The gift aims to further diversity and inclusion at Cornell’s College of Arts and Sciences by aiding Black families facing coronavirus-related financial difficulty. 

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Composer, Lyricist, and Actor

$1M, Diversity and Inclusion in the Arts

The Grammy-winning Hamilton playwright and his family pledged $1M through the Miranda Family Fund for theater students of color pursuing training at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s National Theater Institute. Since 2017, 40 students have received the scholarship.

Stephen M. Ross, Chairman, Related Companies; Owner, Miami Dolphins

$13M, Racial Equality in Sports

Real estate entrepreneur Stephen Ross pledged $13M over four years to RISE, a nonprofit he founded in 2015 with the vision of eliminating racial discrimination in sports. RISE hosts cultural-competency leadership programs and racial-equality workshops with coaches, athletes, colleges, and community groups. Ross has already donated $30M to the charity.

Laurie Tisch, President, Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund

$1.5M, Arts Education

The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College received a $1.5M endowment from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. The grant will expand the museum’s K–12 and family educational programs to reach schools, libraries, and other institutions in underserved communities. Tisch was CSQ’s 2018 New York Visionary of the Year in Philanthropy, Art, and Culture.

Steven Victor, Senior Vice President of A&R, Universal Music Group; Founder and CEO, Victor Victor Worldwide; COO, GOOD Music

$1M, Racial Equality

Music executive Steven Victor committed $1M to fight systemic racism through his newly established Victor Victor Foundation, which will give children of color access to business opportunities through a mentorship program.


J. J. Abrams, Chairman, Bad Robot
Katie McGrath, Co-CEO, Bad Robot

$10M, Racial Equality

Bad Robot Productions and the Katie McGrath and J. J. Abrams Family Foundation announced on Instagram that they will be distributing $10M over five years to anti-racist organizations and Black Lives Matter initiatives. So far, the foundation has donated $200K to Black Lives Matter L.A., Community Coalition, Know Your Rights Camp, Equal Justice Initiative, and Black Futures Lab. 

Greg Berlanti, Writer, Producer, and Director, Greg Berlanti Productions

$2M, Arts Education

$600K, Financial Assistance

The Berlanti Foundation gave $2M to establish the Barbara Berlanti Professorship in Writing for the Screen and Stage at Northwestern University’s School of Communication, in honor of Greg Berlanti’s late mother. Berlanti also committed $600K to Greg Berlanti Productions’ crew and staff members who are financially vulnerable due to production shutdowns. An additional $400K was donated to COVID-19 emergency relief through the Motion Picture and Television Fund, SAG-AFTRA, and the Actors Fund. 

Beyoncé Knowles, Singer, Songwriter, Producer, and Actress

$6M, Health and Wellness

In partnership with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey’s Start Small initiative, UCLA, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Beyoncé’s BeyGood will donate $6M to organizations providing mental health, wellness care, food supplies and deliveries, and medical services to essential workers in Houston, New York, New Orleans, and Detroit. 

Jerry Moss, Chairman, Almo Sounds; Co-founder, A&M Records
Tina Morse Moss, PsyD, Founder, 

$25M, Performing Arts

Tina and Jerry Moss gave $25M to The Music Center in downtown L.A., the largest donation for programming in the performing arts center’s history. Music Center President and CEO Rachel S. Moore says the donation will expand its meaningful cultural programming for Los Angeles residents, including an annual free summer concert in the newly christened Jerry Moss Plaza. The Music Center will also partner with organizations promoting the artistry, health, and wellness of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists.

Ted Sarandos and Reed Hastings, Co-CEOs, Netflix

$100M, Financial Assistance

Netflix set up a $100M relief fund for production crews and cast members left jobless due to COVID-19. Ted Sarandos announced that the fund will mainly support laid-off crew members who typically work on individual projects and are paid hourly wages. This includes $15M to support nonprofits providing emergency assistance such as SAG-AFTRA and Fondation des Artistes in France.

Oprah Winfrey, Chairwoman and CEO, Harpo Productions; Chairwoman, CEO, and CCO, Oprah Winfrey Network

$10M, Coronavirus Relief

In April, media mogul Oprah Winfrey announced a $10M donation to coronavirus relief efforts around the country. America’s Food Fund—a nonprofit launched by Leonardo DiCaprio, Emerson Collective, Apple, and the Ford Foundation that combats food insecurity for low-income families—received $1M. Funds also went to World Central Kitchen, Feeding America, Save the Children USA, No Kid Hungry, and Urban School Food Alliance.