Famous Philanthropists: Taylor Swift

February 20, 2024

When you think of one of the world’s most famous and talented recording artists, who comes to mind? Two words: Taylor Swift.

Singer, songwriter, performer, actress, and Grammy winner – Taylor’s resume holds numerous accolades and achievements. But she is more than just a sold-out-stadium, chart-topping, platinum recording artist – Taylor Swift is a phenomenon. Her ability to reach across genres and connect with people from all ages and backgrounds has positioned her as one of the most influential artists of our lifetime. She's had more than 185 songs on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart, including 40 top-ten hits. To date, she's sold more than 200 million albums. Now a billionaire, Taylor has transformed from a country-crooning teenager to a ground-breaking popstar who breaks the internet when she announces a tour. Her influence transcends the realm of entertainment, leaving an indelible mark on society. She has changed the face of music and made a difference by giving to various causes and movements she cares about.

But how does she use her time, talent and treasure to create impact?

How Taylor Gives Give Gives

Taylor spreads her philanthropy across various organizations – some are large, international nonprofits that provide help to people all over the world. But some are small-scale donations that she supports that are close to home.

Moving to Nashville at 14 to start her music career, Taylor often supports causes and needs in her adopted home state. In 2014, she donated $100,000 to the Nashville Symphony after learning about their financial situation, which would have caused them to close their doors. Her donation kept the music going. 

makaiyla willis, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

In 2012, she made a pledge to the Country Music Hall of Fame for $4 million to help the organization provide educational music programs to local children. Because of this incredible donation, the Taylor Swift Education Center at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville opened in 2014. This state-of-the-art facility provides educational opportunities for young people interested in pursuing careers in the arts, music, and entertainment industry.

A genuine philanthropist, Taylor sees the world's needs and finds ways she can make a difference. When natural disasters struck Tennessee in 2023, Taylor donated $1 million to the Middle Tennessee Emergency Relief Fund to help aid in disaster relief. And in true Taylor fashion, she encouraged her followers to donate their treasure to the organization to help make a difference.

Photo by Omid Armin on Unsplash
A Love Story of Giving

Taylor finds ways to make a difference in every place she calls home and places that are connected to her family and friends.

In 2011, she donated more than $70,000 worth of books to the Reading Public Library in Reading, Pennsylvania. In total, she donated over 6,000 books.

When she moved to New York City in 2015, she donated $50,000 to New York Public Schools. She also promised that any future royalties from her song “Welcome to New York” would go to the school system.

She heard her former high school in Hendersonville, Tennessee, needed to refurbish their auditorium and generously gave $75,000 to make the project happen.

During Hurricane Harvey, she donated to the Houston Food Bank in her mother’s name, an alumnus of the University of Houston.

Her Blank Space Sometimes Has Her Fan’s Names

Taylor is extraordinarily generous in philanthropy, but she also finds ways to give directly to her fans. In 2014, she hosted an event called “Swiftmas” where lucky fans were sent special packages with various gifts.

She learned that one of her fans, an 8-year-old boy named Jacob Hill, needed a service dog. Taylor gave his family $10,000 to help get the service dog and even invited him and his family to a concert where they could spend time with the philanthropic popstar.


Taylor regularly gives to GoFundMe pages to help her fans in need and, during the COVID-19 pandemic, gave directly to several fans while sharing personal messages of encouragement and hope.

An Era of Generosity

Taylor makes it a habit to give to local food banks while on the road touring. In July 2023, Taylor donated to the Silicon Valley Food Bank and helped provide meals to over 500,000 people in the community. She donated to the Tampa Food Bank in 2023, helping to give over 125,000 meals to people in the Tampa area.

She also makes sure her staff is taken care of, gifting nearly $50 million to all members of her Eras crew.

Look What Taylor Can Make You Do

Taylor’s influence goes beyond the checks she is able to write to make a difference. With millions of Swifties following her every move, her real power is her ability to activate people to make a difference by simply asking them to follow her lead. She regularly asks her fans to donate to causes and organizations she cares about and encourages them to find ways to get involved in creating change. One way she has done this is by asking fans to get participate in Global Youth Service Day and shared her own experience volunteering to motivate her fans to do the same. “I've always been really passionate about volunteering. ... I started volunteering when I was about 12 years old, and I didn't really know I was volunteering at the time. That's the cool part about volunteering -- you don't have to use any money. It doesn't cost anything except your time,” Taylor said on CMT.

Akashdoley13, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
Ready for Inspiring Your Students?

Taylor’s incredible talent and world fame pale compared to her passion for helping others and making a difference. And she is an excellent example of what it means for someone to be a philanthropist! So, how can you use Taylor’s philanthropy to inspire your students?

  1. Talk about how music inspires action: Taylor isn’t the first artist to use her craft to talk about causes. Ask your students about other songs or musicians that encourage social change. What makes these songs so powerful? How do they inspire them to look at the world differently or decide to take action?
  2. Use Taylor’s story to inspire: Walk students through Taylor’s personal journey from being an unknown teenager to becoming a mega superstar, focusing on how she uses her star power to give back. How does Taylor draw off her history to impact the future? Identify ways she uses her time, talent and treasure to make a difference in communities and lives worldwide.
  3. Leverage Taylor’s philanthropy to encourage self-expression: Have students express themselves creatively through art, writing or music inspired by the philanthropic works of Taylor Swift. Maybe it’s a poem about feeding the hungry or a poster focusing on a cause they are passionate about. Encourage students to use their unique talents to showcase ways to create positive change.
  4. Have students think globally: Develop a sense of global citizenship by exploring Taylor’s global philanthropic activities. Have students look at examples of how she contributes to international aid organizations or disaster relief and discuss the importance of creating impact locally and globally.
  5. Take action together: Taylor Swift is a doer when creating change. Encourage your students to be doers like Taylor! Guide students through the process of creating a service project that addresses a need they care about in their community. Whether it’s a food drive, coat drive, volunteering at a nonprofit or raising money for a cause, encourage your students to think of ways to emulate Taylor Swift’s passion for giving back. And remind them that being a philanthropist doesn’t mean just giving money – being a philanthropist means using your time and talent, too!
No Need to Calm Down Anytime Soon

Combined with our Project Heart resources, Taylor’s philanthropic story can be a great tool to inspire your students to think of ways to serve others and make a difference in their communities! Our library of free resources provides educators with activities, guides and more to help start the conversation of philanthropy with students to ignite a movement of change-makers who believe they are powerful and important individuals who can make our world better and brighter.

Taylor Swift is an icon not only for her incredible talent but for the way she gives back to make a difference. Her philanthropic journey is a testament to the profound influence one person can have when guided by empathy and compassion. Swift's philanthropic efforts exemplify the transformative power of generosity and compassion. From her support for education to her advocacy for equality and social justice, Taylor’s contributions transcend monetary donations, touching hearts and igniting change in communities worldwide.

So let’s encourage students put on their Swiftie caps, shake, shake, shake off our preconceived notions of philanthropy, and encourage them to find ways to give back in style.