To me, Jay-Z channels the great Jewish philosopher Maimonides, who constructed the eight levels of charity. He believed the highest form of giving is anonymous to anonymous, and equates to a complete self-less offering. Hov in heavily invested in this idea and chooses to conduct his charity work privately and efficiently. But for those still wondering, here is a list of Shawn Carter’s charity work [that has been made public]:
Every year since the late 1990s Jay-Z has hosted the ‘Jay-Z Santa Claus Toy Drive, where he travels back to the Marcy Projects on Christmas Day with his family to donate presents to the children living there. He also provides for Thanksgiving turkey drives in his hometown borough of Bedford–Stuyvesant every year.
Jay-Z employs hundreds of people at his various companies, and he always endeavors to employ under-privileged young black women and men who are most in need of employment.
April 1999 – Jay-Z donated his proceeds from the Denver stop of the Hard Knock Life Tour to help the families of the victims of the Columbine tragedy.
August 2000 – Hosted, commentated, and made a donation at a charity basketball game that benefited the Boys Harbor summer camp and T.H.A.N.K.U. (The Hillcrest Avenue Neighborhood Kids Union).
2001 – Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records formed Team Roc, a charity organization affiliated with the New York Mission Society that created basketball leagues for at-risk youth.
September 2001 – Jay-Z donated $50,000 to the World Trade Center relief effort. On The Blueprint album tour he donated proceeds from every ticket sold to the relief effort.
October 2001 – Performed at ‘The Concert for New York City,’ a benefit concert for victims of the 9/11 tragedy. Hov also donated unique memorabilia that was later auctioned off to support the Robin Hood Foundation.
November 2001 –Hosted and performed at the ‘Jay-Z’s Thanksgiving Give Back Concerts’ in New York. Proceeds went to the Team Roc organization.
March 2002 – Headlined and donated to the Urban Aid 2 benefit concert in support of Russell Simmons’ charity that raises funds awareness for HIV prevention initiatives.
December 2002 – Jay-Z surprised a group of youth who were a part of the New York Knicks reading program for inner-city kids. He joined them in class for the day and read to them.
2003 – Formed the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation with his mother Gloria Carter. They founded the charity on the belief that any motivated individual in need should have the opportunity to further his or her education. Since its formation the Foundation has donated over $1.5 million to more than 750 students who would have otherwise not been able to afford a college education.
2003 – Since the first branch opened in 2003, each 40/40 Club has ensured that a percentage of profits is given to music and sport charities in deprived communities. The Club also gives first option on jobs to unemployed young people.
November 2003 – All proceeds from his legendary ‘Fade to Black’ concert went to various charities. During the show he donated $25,000 to each mother of Biggie and Tupac to be used for their charitable efforts.
May 2004 – Jay-Z hosted a charity luncheon for the Golden Gloves Foundation, and along with Team Roc he formed a scholarship program for underprivileged youth who have boxing potential.
July 2004 – Enlisted Beyonce, Tyra Banks, Queen Latifah, Kanye West, and more to design a pair of Reebok S. Carter shoes to be auctioned off. All proceeds went to the Shawn Carter Foundation and Jay matched the donations.
September 2005 – He donated $1 million to the American Red Cross’ relief effort after the devastating Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Hov also put in personal calls to his famous friends to encourage them to donate, and appeared on the BET telethon for Hurricane Katrina to appeal to the general public.
2006 – Sent more than $2,500 worth of designer street wear to the Campaign for Adolescent and University Student Empowerment, a foundation that supports the low-income area of Spring Hill in DeLand, Orlando.
2006 – Funded and co-produced the documentary film Black Sorority Project: The Exodus. The film told the story of 22 female students at Howard University who defied barriers of race and gender to join the women’s suffrage movement and form a new sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, which is still known as one of the nation’s most formidable women’s organizations.
August 2006 – Met with United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan at the organization’s headquarters in New York. He joined forces with the United Nations and together they planned to help fight the global water crisis. He set out on his Water for Life world tour, traveling all over the world filming the documentary ‘Diary of Jay-Z: Water for Life’. He installed pumps and water sewage solutions in impoverished villages all over Africa.
August 2006 – Jay-Z personally-pledged $400,000 to PlayPump International for the installation of water pumps in malnourished villages in Africa.
November 2006 – Performed a concert in New York city for his Water for Life program with the UN. The concert raised almost $300,000 for PlayPump International
November 2006 – Hosted and played in a charity poker game. $403,862 in proceeds went to the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation and AROD Family Foundation.
May 2008 – Established an educational trust for the two children of Sean Bell, the unarmed man shot and killed by the police in November 2006 on the day he was to be married. Jay-Z also made sure Bell’s fiancée, Nicole Paultre Bell, was taken care of and hired her to appear in Rocawear’s ‘I Will Not Lose’ advertising campaign.
June 2008 – Designed a pair of wellington Hunter Boots during his time at the Glastonbury Music Festival to be sold at auction. Proceeds from the auction went to WaterAid to raise much need funds for their work in Madagascar improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation
June 2008 – Donated to the Robin Hood Foundation’s annual fundraising drive. The foundation’s proceeds support 240 poverty-fighting programs in New York City.
August 2008 – Performed at the Africa Rising Music Festival to raised money for Africa Rising, an organization established in 2006 to reflect the culture and positive attributes of Africa’s social, political, and economic progress.
December 2008 – Designed an I/denti/tee shirt in collaboration with Bono for Bono’s charity EDUN LIVE, which works to improve the skills of their clothing workers and aims to foster trade in Africa by ensuring all of its products are 100% African, from “grower to sewer”.
February 2009 – Formed the charity Two Kings with LeBron James. They donated over 150 musical instruments to the Mesa Arts Academy in Mesa, Arizona.
April 2009 – Jay-Z donated $25,000 to the Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now.
September 2009 – Organised the charity concert ‘Answer the Call’, which benefited the New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund. The concert raised $750,000.
January 2010 – Recorded ‘Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)’ with Bono, Rihanna, and The Edge. They performed the song during a live charity telethon. Proceeds from the sale of the song supported rebuilding in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
February 2010 – Donated a signed Gibson Guitar to a charity auction for the Artists for Peace and Justice Foundation.
February 2010 – Jay-Z and LeBron James’ Two Kings charity conducted a counseling session for the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Dallas in Texas.
September 2010 – Performed at the Keep a Child Alive organization’s Black Ball to raise awareness and urgently needed funds to help children and families affected by HIV in Africa and India.
May 2010 – Donated and signed one of his favorite Audemars Piguet to an auction that benefited the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The watch sold for $220,000.
August 2010 – Partnered with Nike to create five pairs of exclusive ‘All Black Everything’ Air Force Ones, which were auctioned to benefit the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation.
November 2010 – Donated and signed bottles of Armand de Brignac to be auctioned to benefit The Compound Foundation, who provides funds and equipment to build recording studios inside local group home centers.
New Years Eve 2010 – Auctioned VIP tickets to his and Coldplay’s headlining show at the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Las Vegas to benefit The Grammy Foundation.
February 2011 – Jay-Z and LeBron James’ charity Two Kings started renovating over 100 public parks and gyms across America.
March 2011 – Raised $42,000 for the Stephen Gaynor School, a non-profit school for students with learning differences, by auctioning the chance to sit courtside with him at two Nets vs. Knicks games.
June 2011 – Donated to auction a coveted internship at Roc Nation, with proceeds benefiting the Mary J. Blige and Steve Stoute Foundation for the Advancement of Women Now.
September 2011 – Hosted a fundraiser at Pier 54 in New York for the Shawn Carter Foundation. The event raised over $1 million in proceeds.
January 2012 – Jay-Z and Beyonce donated a large portion of the gifts given to them upon the birth of Blue Ivy Carter to charities that could pass them on to those less fortunate.
February 2012 – Jay-Z performed two concerts at Carnegie Hall to benefit the United Way of New York City organization and the Shawn Carter Foundation.
February 2012 – Jay-Z donated $25,000 to the Whitney Houston Memorial Foundation in the wake of her untimely death.
March 2012 – Donated the Maybach 57 used in his and Kanye West’s ‘Otis’ video to auction, where proceeds went to Save the Children’s relief efforts for the East Africa Drought Disaster of 2011.
September 2012 – Executive-produced and funded the release of Shola Lynch’s independent documentary Free Angela & All Political Prisoners.
October 2012 – Jay-Z auctioned ten limited-edition signed Brooklyn Nets ‘Carter #4’ jerseys on eBay. Proceeds went to the Shawn Carter Foundation.
September 2012 – Proceeds from Jay-Z’s Made in America festival went to the United Way of Greater Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey organization.
November 2012 – Donated to the Hurricane Sandy relief effort. He also purchased and donated generators to New York residents after they lost power during Hurricane Sandy.
July 2013 – Donated a large sum of money to the Marina Abramović Institute. In 2015 she would publicly accuse him of not donating to her art foundation, but later had to apologize as records show he had indeed donated.
September 2013 – Donated to the Made in Africa Foundation and helped launch the Africa50 campaign, which aims to lift 200 million Africans out of poverty.
October 2013 – Jay-Z releases a holiday collection with New York department store Barneys. After racial profiling issues arise with the store Jay ensures that 100% of the profits will be donated to his Shawn Carter Foundation. Proceeds top $1 million.
2014 – Donated to and supported charities who demand and fight for justice for those discriminated against in the trans-community.
June 2014 – Jay-Z and Beyonce’s On The Run tour donated $1 from every ticket purchased to the Shawn Carter Foundation. A portion of the proceeds from each Chase Lounge VIP Ticket Package was also donated to the Shawn Carter Foundation.
August 2014 – Donated tens of thousands of dollars to pay the bail charges for hundreds of protestors who were arrested during the Ferguson protests after the death of Michael Brown.
August 2014 – Organized the Roc Nation Summer Classic charity basketball game. All proceeds benefited the RC22 Foundation and PitCCh-In Foundation.
September 2014 – Jay performed as the headliner for the Global Citizen Festival and made a substantial donation to the cause. The Global Citizen project aims to end extreme global poverty, as well as focusing on solving epidemics like Ebola, ending the HIV/AIDS crisis, and providing clean water.
December 2014 – Jay-Z paid for and hand-delivered “I CAN’T BREATHE” shirts to the Brooklyn Nets locker room to promote the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement on a national scale.
December 2014 – Met with the Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo about doing a top to bottom review of the Criminal Justice system. Jay pushed them to discuss how everyone can work together to pass a reform package that ensures equality in the eyes of the law.
April 2015 – Donated tens of thousands of dollars to pay the bail charges for hundreds of protesters who were arrested during the Baltimore protests after the death of Freddie Gray.
May 2015 – Donated to the Baltimore Justice Fund. TiDAL live-streamed Prince’s Rally 4 Peace concert and they matched the donations made by the general public during the stream.
May 2015 – Visited Baltimore on Mother’s Day to attend Prince’s ‘Rally 4 Peace’ concert, and backstage he met with Freddie Gray’s family in a visit closed to the press. Hov and Beyonce donated a large sum of money to the family to help them continue their journey for justice.
May 2015 – Jay’s longtime friend and collaborator dream hampton reveals that he has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ campaign, helping to establish new chapters of the movement all over the country.
June 2015 – Supported Roc Nation Sports athlete Robinson Cano at his annual charity event ‘Canoche’ in Seattle. Hov donated a signed bottle of Armand de Brignac, which sold at auction for $5,500. He also made a private contribution to Cano’s charity fund.
August 2015 – Jay Z signed and wrote lyrics on two used skateboards, donated by professional riders Paul Rodriguez and Shane O’Neil, for the Tony Hawk Foundation’s ‘Boards + Bands’ fundraising initiative.
September 2015 – As with every Made in America festival, Hov provides space free of charge to charity organizations in an area called the ‘Cause Village.’
October 2015 – Organized the TiDAL X: 10/20 charity concert. Enlisted his talented friends to donate their time and efforts and held a concert where 100% of the proceeds were matched by TiDAL and donated to charity. The event raised $1,500,000 which the New World Foundation and Harry Belafonte’s Sankofa non-profit group will give to organizations dealing with income and racial inequality, childhood education, and relationships between local communities and law enforcement.