From Leonardo DiCaprio to Gigi Hadid, celebrities raise millions to help Ukraine

Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively and the British royal family are also among a growing list of public figures using their voices to appeal for more assistance

Among celebrities using their star power to raise funds for refugees from Ukraine are, from left, Mila Kunis and her husband, Ashton Kutcher; Gigi Hadid; and Ryan Reynolds and his wife, Blake Lively. AFP; AP
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Celebrities are not only speaking out for the people of Ukraine but are using their star power to help raise money for displaced citizens and refugees as Russia’s invasion continues.

Last week, the Polish Border Guard said more than a million Ukrainians have fled to Poland since the attack on February 24. "Traffic on the Polish-Ukrainian border is growing, today at 07.00 42,000 people arrived in Poland from Ukraine," it wrote on Twitter on Monday.

On Thursday, it was reported that actor Leonardo DiCaprio was the latest to donate to Ukraine, joining a growing number of stars pledging financial assistance to people displaced by the attack.

Earlier reports claimed he had donated $10 million to an organisation to benefit Ukraine, which those reports also said was his grandmother's native country. Neither the donation nor DiCaprio's heritage were accurate, a person close to the actor said.

DiCaprio has, however, donated to the humanitarian groups Care, International Rescue Committee, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Save the Children in support of Ukraine, the person close to DiCaprio said. No dollar amounts were provided.

On Sunday, model Gigi Hadid took to social media to share that she was helping Ukraine by donating her earnings from the fashion shows she worked.

"Having a set fashion month schedule has meant that my colleagues and I often present new fashion collections during heartbreaking and traumatic times in history. We don’t have control over most of our work schedules, but we would like to walk ‘for’ something," Hadid posted on Instagram, saying she was inspired by fellow model Mica Arganaraz.

"I am pledging to donate my earnings from the Fall 2022 shows to aid those suffering from the war in Ukraine, as well as continuing to support those experiencing the same in Palestine. Our eyes and hearts must be open to all human injustice. May we all see each other as brothers and sisters, beyond politics, beyond race, beyond religion. At the the end of the day, innocent lives pay for war — not leaders.

"Hands off Ukraine. Hands off Palestine," Hadid said.

Star couple Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively were one of the first celebrities to help raise support for displaced Ukrainians.

Last month, the pair announced they were matching all donations to the UN's Refugee Agency benefitting Ukrainians who were fleeing their homes for safety.

"When you donate, we’ll match it up to $1,000,000, creating double the support," Reynolds and Lively shared on their social media accounts, along with a link to the UNHCR's donation page.

The UNHCR has said that nearly three million people will require humanitarian assistance this year, including "immediate shelter, protection and safety".

Another celebrity couple, Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis, also started a GoFundMe page last week, saying they were aiming to raise $30 million to help refugees fleeing Ukraine.

"I'm a proud American. I love everything this country has done for myself and my family. But today, I've never been more proud to be a Ukrainian," Kunis, who was born in Chernivtsi in Ukraine, says in a plea on video.

"Ukrainians are proud and brave people who deserve our help in their time of need. This unjust attack on Ukraine and humanity at large is devastating and the Ukrainian people need our support. Our family is starting this fund to help provide immediate support and we will be matching up to $3 million dollars."

On Sunday, Kutcher and Kunis announced they've so far raised $15m.

On Monday, the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella group that brings together 15 aid charities in the UK, also announced that its celebrity-backed Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal had raised more than £100m ($131m) in only four days.

Stars involved in the campaign include Game of Thrones actor Kit Harington and former Doctor Who star David Tennant, who've lent their voices to TV and radio spots for the Committee.

"In an instant, a million people in Ukraine have been forced to flee, fearing for their lives. The desperate efforts to get them to safety continues," Harington says in a video appeal to viewers to donate. "The number of displaced people could reach four million, many without shelter, food and water. We have a chance to make a difference now."

The Committee also said "generous donations" have already been made by British royals including Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Prince William.

The Duke of Cambridge and his wife Kate Middleton shared their support for Ukrainians last month from their Kensington Royal social media accounts.

"We stand with the president and all of Ukraine’s people as they bravely fight for that future," the couple said.

— This article was first published on March 7, 2022

Updated: March 10, 2022, 6:24 AM
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