Austin Celebrities Who Give Back
July 16, 2019 |
By Dani Dudek
Austin Celebrities

What do Austin celebrities like Matthew McConaughey, Bobby Bones, and Taylor Kitsch have in common? They all love to give back. Whether they have their own charity or kick in to support a cause, you can count on these celebs to do their part.

By the way, have you checked out the Austin based dating app Swoovy? It helps connect good people by doing good. You can either view people who match your profile or find a volunteering event that would make a great first date. You can download at and follow @getswoovy on Instagram.

These are the Austin celebrities who give back.

Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey and his wife Camila established The Just Keep Livin Foundation as a way to encourage high school students to engage in healthy and helpful behaviors. The foundation focuses on four aspects: fitness, nutrition, service and wellness to teach kids to take care of themselves and others.

Additionally, McConaughey is one third of Mack, Jack & McConaughey (MJ&M), an organization he helms with ACM Award-winning recording artist Jack Ingram, and ESPN analyst and Texas coaching legend Mack Brown. Through this joint fundraising effort, the trio is committed to maximizing a return to the community, specifically benefiting organizations dedicated to children’s education, health and wellness. Since the two-day event launched in 2013, the nonprofit has given nearly $14 million dollars to charitable organizations.

Andy Roddick

Tennis superstar Andy Roddick started the Andy Roddick Foundation in 2000. Since then, the foundation has raised more than $20 million to help youth in low-income communities have abundant opportunities to reach their full potential. Through various programs, the organization creates new chances for children to grow in literacy, STEM, art and sports during months and times of day when statistics show they’re typically most at risk and falling behind.

Lance Armstrong

Though he resigned from the organization in 2012, Lance Armstrong is the founder of the Austin based nonprofit Livestrong anti-cancer foundation. And earlier this year, the former US cyclist and a seven-time Tour de France champion ran the Austin Marathon as the Charity Chaser. That role is designed to raise money for the race’s 28 official charities with each person passed on the course. Starting 22 minutes behind the field, Armstrong made his way through the packed course to finish 58th overall. He passed a total of 2,594 people, raising a total of $5,326.

Jared and Genevieve Padalecki

Jared Padalecki has been candid about his own struggles with depression. In 2015, Padalecki launched his Always Keep Fighting campaign through His first t-shirt campaign supported To Write Love On Her Arms, which helps people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. With the second campaign, Padalecki partnered with co-star Jensen Ackles to release a shirt featuring both of their faces. Over 70,000 shirts were sold with a third campaign selling 40,000 more shirts.

Jarpad and wife Gen also partnered with @randomactsorg (a charity formed by Padalecki’s co-star Misha Collins) to raise funds for Houston relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

Jensen and Danneel Ackles

In addition to joining forces with co-star Padalecki on his Always Keep Fighting efforts, Jensen Ackles raised funds for Houston relief efforts in 2017. Ackles’ wife, former One Tree Hill star Danneel Ackles, lead the charge for the Ackles family and their Family Business Beer Co. Very quickly, the group raised $50K from fans, which they matched and donated to Random Acts. They then upped the ante and, in the end, raised just under $500k!

Bobby Bones

Radio and TV personality Bobby Bones has raised millions of dollars with his band The Raging Idiots. According to their website, Bones and bandmate “Producer Eddie” have performed nearly 40 shows (though we’re betting that number has grown since the last site update), benefitting various charities.

He also contributes to and supports The Shop Forward, which has raised over $3,100,000 for a plethora of charities by selling items associated with a cause. Every product sold on The Shop Forward follows the mission of supporting programs and organizations that are effectively working to help others around the world.

On July 21, the Bobby Bones crew will be playing Celebrity Family Feud for the charity of their choice, which we can only assume is The Shop Forward.

Michael Dell

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation was set up in 1999 with the couple raising funds primarily through investing the proceeds of sales of shares of Dell Inc. The organization is dedicated to transforming the lives of children living in urban poverty through improving their education, health and family economic stability. More than $650 million has been given to children’s issues and community initiatives in the United States, India, South Africa as of 2010. Today the foundation has over $466 million assets under management.

Vince Young

The Vincent Young Foundation was established by the former Longhorn and his mother, Felicia. Young was inspired to start the foundation because of his own experience overcoming life’s challenges while growing up in Houston. The Vincent Young Foundation is dedicated to improving the quality of life of underprivileged children with a special focus on promoting academic and athletic excellence.

Drew Brees

New Orleans Saints QB and Westlake grad Drew Brees founded the Brees Dream Foundation to improve the quality of life for cancer patients, and provide care, education and opportunities for children and families in need. Contributed more that $33M to charitable causes globally.

Willie Nelson

Though the singer contributes to numerous charities, his most well known cause is Farm Aid. Started as a benefit concert held in Illinois in 1985, Farm Aid raises money for family farmers in the US. The concert was originally organized by Willie, John Mellencamp and Neil Young. Dave Matthews also currently serves on the board of directors.

Taylor Kitsch

Austin transplant Taylor Kitsch’s ties to the African Children’s Choir date back to his FNL days when co-star Connie Britton convinced him to join her on an introductory tour of Kenya. His commitment intensified with his first feature The Bang Bang Club, in which Kitsch played real-life South African journalist Kevin Carter. In 2012, he made his filmmaking debut with a fundraising documentary about the Children’s Choir and its associated charity Music For Life. “It’s my number one charity, so it was a natural project,” Kitsch told Since then, he has hosted numerous fundraising events in Austin for the organization, most recently on New Years Eve 2017.

Rachael Ray

Technically, Rachael Ray does not hail from Austin, however the mayor did make her an honorary Austinite at SXSW in 2014. After Hurricane Harvey devastated the Houston area, Ray donated $1 million to help support various animal welfare organizations who are actively working in Texas and Louisiana to care for animals displaced by the storm.

In 2016, the chef, talk show host and animal lover shelled out $10K to Austin Pets Alive! as part of her annual Santa Paws campaign. Brooklyn Decker nominated the local animal rescue group. Other donations were made to animal organizations chosen by Texans Miranda Lambert and Tamron Hall.

Brooklyn Decker

In addition to nominating APA! for Ray’s campaign efforts and supporting hubby’s Andy Roddick foundation, Brooklyn Decker stepped up to help raise awareness for the Texas Diaper Bank, following Hurricane Harvey. The Grace & Frankie star shared donation info on her Instagram account so fans could do the same. She also encouraged Red Cross donations and shared Bobby Bones and crew’s Texas Forever t-shirt that benefitted relief efforts.

Justin Theroux

So, Justin Theroux is not technically an Austinite, but we’re officially naming him an honorary one. The star of HBO’s The Leftovers discovered APA! while shooting season two of the series in the Austin area in 2015. He first posted about the organization in 2016, pleading with his Insta followers to give this trio a good home.

Then, in April 2017, Theroux went on Ellen to play the game “Hot Hands.” If he won, host Ellen Degeneres said Shutterfly would donate $10,000 to the charity of his choice. That charity just happened to be APA.

“Austin Pets Alive! [is] a wonderful organization in Austin, Texas that’s a no-kill shelter that I love and I used to go and pet their dogs when I was shooting in Austin, and they are great,” Theroux told Degeneres.

Since then, he’s posted and dropped in at the APA! numerous times.

You can read more about Theroux’s love of APA! here:

And if you want to read even more about Austin celebrities giving back, check out this article on everyone who supported the Houston relief efforts in 2017 here:

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