Our History of Giving
CLF was founded in 2012 by Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty in honor of her grandparents Clara and Lionel Braithwaite.
A Timeline of Philanthropy
The Believe Foundation honors Rihanna for her support of the organization over the years.
Rihanna starts the Clara Lionel Foundation through her gift of modern radiotherapy medical equipment for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados. The radiotherapy center was later renamed the Clara Braithwaite Center for Oncology and Nuclear Medicine in honor of Rihanna’s late grandmother.
Later this year, when Hurricane Sandy hits, CLF responds by supporting the relief efforts of the Food Bank of NYC.
The singer helms two Viva Glam lipstick campaigns with MAC Cosmetics, raising more than $60 million to benefit women and children living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. This same year, CLF responds to the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
CLF responds to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. CLF also launches its global scholarship program this year. Rihanna forms partnerships with the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and Global Citizen, the international education and advocacy organization, and together they tackle the global education crisis on a broader scale through advocacy. As headliner to the annual Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, to ask the Canadian and French governments to increase their commitments to education. The result: Canada pledges to invest $20 million in the Education Cannot Wait fund. Rihanna also partners with Live Nation this year to donate $1 from each of her ANTI World Tour tickets to CLF, raising over $1.2 million for the foundation.
In January, Rihanna travels to Malawi in her role as Ambassador for the GPE to spend time with key educators, government officials, mentors, and students who are working collaboratively to build a better future for the next generation of Malawians. CLF begins its support for more than 7,000 girls in Malawi to attend secondary school and transition to post-secondary school opportunities. CLF also responds to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in Texas, Puerto Rico, USVI and Dominica as well as the earthquakes in Mexico.
Rihanna receives the 2017 Harvard Humanitarian of the Year award and is honored by The New School at the 69th Annual Parsons Benefit in NYC for empowering young women on a global scale.
In February, Rihanna and CLF participate in the GPE’s Financing Conference in Dakar, Senegal. The conference, co-hosted by Senegal’s President Macky Sall and France’s President Emmanuel Macron, convenes heads of states, NGOs, and business leaders with the purpose of raising $2.3 billion in global funding for education. The day before the conference, Rihanna tweets at President Macron with the hope of influencing the president to increase his country’s financial commitment to the partnership. As a result, France commits to increase their funding to $200 million.
Rihanna is appointed an Ambassador of Barbados.
Under Rihanna’s leadership, CLF launches the Climate Resilience Initiative and announces its first pilot emergency preparedness project--the hardening of reproductive health clinics across the Caribbean. Through "partnerships for preparedness" with organizations and suppliers, CLF begins the work to build long-term, sustainable alliances that prioritize the needs of women and girls through infrastructure hardening projects, gender-integrated emergency response planning, and local capacity building.
CLF also contributes more than $1 million to Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in the Bahamas.
In February, CLF is named one of the world’s Most Innovative Not-for-Profit companies by Fast Company, and Rihanna receives the NAACP’s prestigious President’s Award in recognition of her business and public service achievements.
Shortly after, the global coronavirus pandemic hits. Rihanna and CLF immediately begin partnering with individuals and organizations to provide direct support to communities around the world. Altogether, they leverage more than $36 million to support 45 organizations working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response in 14 countries.
In parallel, the Foundation donates $11 million to organizations leading the charge on police and criminal justice reform.
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