February marks an important month for the culture including the headliner of this year’s Super Bowl halftime performance. Not only does this history maker excel at her craft, she is a dedicated philanthropist with her own innovative nonprofit.
In 2017, Rihanna received the Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award and in 2021 she became the wealthiest woman in music– reaching billionaire status.
Born and raised in Bridgetown, Barbados, Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation in honor of her grandparents in 2012. CLF advocates for environmental and social justice projects throughout the United States and Caribbean. The non-profit notes these areas are among the most disaster-prone regions in the world and have been especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
CLF’s climate resilience programs develop and construct emergency preparedness solutions, like upgrading infrastructure and keeping health care accessible during crises.
“CLF’s goal is for the Caribbean to become the world’s first climate-resilient zone by helping communities prepare for and withstand natural disasters,” says Christine Platt, Director of Communications at CLF.
These mitigation techniques and models can be expanded into more regions to proactively influence change in the world. The foundation’s latest initiative, With/Stand, embodies a commitment to global collaboration. CLF has funded programs in over 35 countries and all 50 states, spanning climate justice, natural disaster response, covid pandemic relief, education, and racial equity.
“CLF prides itself on focusing its support of climate justice initiatives led by Black, Indigenous, people of color, with 100% of our current Caribbean partners being BIPOC-led. And that’s because we understand that environmental justice is intricately interconnected with racial injustice,” Platt says.
This Black History Month, CLF is running a campaign to honor climate change reform pioneers such as Colonel Charles Young, the first Black Superintendent of the National Park Service.
Platt said “At CLF, we are always celebrating, highlighting, supporting, and amplifying the work of Black environmentalists, both domestically and in the Caribbean.” Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation has spent more than $54 million on justice initiatives in the Caribbean and United States.