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It is wonderful that celebrities have the power to make us aware of causes that need our support. But the ownership is still on us to do our homework before making a contribution. A celebrity’s endorsement simply can not serve as a substitute for researching a charity.

Packing Playlist: California

First of all, even if you are the number one fan of a particular celebrity, you two probably do not have exactly the same philanthropic interests. Second, the celebrity may not have thoroughly vetted the charity’s finances, commitment to accountability and transparency or its programmatic accomplishments — all steps that savvy donors take before making a donation.

Africare Nelson Mandela

amfAR Elizabeth Taylor, Harry Belafonte, Kenneth Cole, Sharon Stone

College Summit Don Cheadle

Free the Slaves Desmond Tutu

Keep a Child Alive Alicia Keys

Make-A-Wish Foundation of America Chris Webber, Grant Hill, Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Donnalley, Michael Johnson

Ronald McDonald House Charities Al Roker, Billy Bush, Carl Lewis, Cindy Crawford, Hayden Panettiere, Mario Lopez

Shelter Network Maya Angelou

Special Olympics Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bart Conner, Jackie Chan, Maria Shriver, Michael Phelps, Nadia Comaneci, Pierce Brosnan, Scott Hamilton, Timothy Shriver, Vanessa Williams, Yao Ming

United States Fund for UNICEF Alyssa Milano, Clay Aiken, India.Arie , Laurence Fishburne, Lucy Liu, Sarah Jessica Parker, Téa Leoni

A Place Called Home Al Roker

After-School All-Stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kobe Bryant, Maria Shriver

Alonzo Mourning Charities Alonzo Mourning

American Humane Association Paula Abdul

America’s Promise Alliance Colin Powell

Apollo Theater Foundation Quincy Jones

Boys & Girls Clubs of America Ashanti , Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Courtney Vance, Cuba Gooding, Jr., Denzel Washington, Edward James Olmos, Gen. Wesley Clark, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Jimmy Rollins, John Mellencamp, John Singleton, Kerry Washington, Mario Lopez, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Queen Latifah, Ruben Studdard, Shaquille O’Neal, Smokey Robinson, Swin Cash, Usher

The Fresh Air Fund Mariah Carey, Tiki Barber

Magic Johnson Foundation Earvin “Magic” Johnson

All Stars Helping Kids Emmitt Smith, Kristi Yamaguchi, Marcus Allen, Ronnie Lott

American Diabetes Association Donovan McNabb, Elliott Yamin, Gladys Knight, Greg LeMond, Joan Allen, Lovie Smith, Tony Dungy

American Parkinson Disease Association Muhammad Ali

March of Dimes Denny Hamlin, Jennifer Lopez, Kelly Clarkson, Nicole Kidman, Sherri Shepherd

What charity will you be supporting this holiday season?

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