Top 10 Keynote Speakers Who Donate their Speaking Fees to Charity

Hiring a keynote speaker (especially a really good one) can often come with a hefty price tag. In light of the strain your pockets may feel when booking a keynote speaker, we thought you might appreciate a supplemental tug at your heartstrings. Below is a list of philanthropic keynote speakers who donate their speaking fees to charity. Instead of lining the pockets of wealthy CEO’s and companies/organization, these speaking fees go to charitable organizations that work towards making the world a better place.

10 Great Keynote Speakers Who Donate to Charity

1-2. Bert and John Jacobs, Life is Good

If ever there were a company that optimized the importance of giving back to the community, Life is Good would be it. The company was founded on the tenants of optimism, gratitude, and authenticity. Life is Good donates at least 10% of its annual net profits to the Life is Good Kids Foundation to positively impact over 120,000 kids daily facing poverty, violence, and illness. Bert and John Jacobs have lived and breathed “giving” at every stage of Life is Good’s growth and also donate all of their speaking fees to the Life is Good Kids Foundation.

3. James Curleigh, The Red Tab Foundation

James Curleigh, or “JC”,  is the President of Levi. He donates all fees to the Red Tab Foundation which is affiliated with Levi Strauss & Co. The foundation aids employees by providing critical aid to employees who are suffering through unexpected emergencies. The Red Tab Foundation also provides education, and proactive programs to help individuals maintain their financial health.

4. Steve Gross, Life is Good Kids Foundation

Steve is the co-founder and Chief Playmaker at the Life is Good Kids Foundation. The LIG Kids Foundation partners with leading childcare organizations to positively impact the quality of care delivered to the most vulnerable children Additionally, the foundation also supports child care providers, believing that “in order to better care for the most vulnerable children, we must better support those who care for them.” As a Playmaker Steve helps others discover the power of optimism so that they can build resilience and bring greater joy, connection, courage, and creativity to their lives. Steve’s fees also go to the LIG Kids Foundation.

5. John Mackey, Whole Foods Market

John Mackey is the co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods. He is a strong believer in free market principles, to boldly defend and reimagine capitalism, and encourage a way of doing business that is grounded in ethical consciousness. In 2001, Mackey cut his pay to $1 a year and continues to work for Whole Foods out of passion to see the business realize its potential for a deeper purpose, and to answer the call to service that he feels in his heart. Mackey has created several philanthropic foundations at the core of Whole Foods Markets: The Whole Planet Foundation, which works to eradicate poverty in developing nations; the Local Producer Loan Program, which helps fund local farmers and food producers in business expansion; and, the Global Animal Partnership, which works to establish standards for the humane treatment of farm animals.

6. Matthew Beall, Hawai’i Life Charitable Fund

Matthew Beall is the Principle Broker and CEO of Hawai’i Life Real Estate Brokers. Hawaii Life is the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate for the neighbor islands of Hawaii (Kauai, Maui, Hawaii Island, Molokai, and Lanai). Matthew is also a television host of “Hawai’i Life” on HGTV. A portion of his speaking fees are donated to the Hawai’i Life Charitable Fund which works to preserve Hawaii’s beauty and culture by supporting its people.

7. Scott Harrison, charity:water

Scott Harrison is the founder and CEO of Charity:Water a non-profit organization that builds long-lasting public water installations and water sanitation services to communities in need around the world. When completed, those projects provide over 6.4 million people with clean, safe drinking water. Scott was inspired to start Charity:Water after volunteering on a hospital ship off the coast of Liberia as a photojournalist. He quit his job as a club promoter in NYC and turned his full attention to the global water crisis and the world’s 663 million people without clean water to drink. In ten years, with the help of more than one million donors worldwide, Charity:Water has raised over $225 million and funded over 21,000 water projects in 24 countries. Scott donates all of his speaking fees to Charity:Water.

8. Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED

Lauren Bush Lauren is the CEO, Creative Director, and Co-Founder of FEED Projects, she is also a fashion model and designer. FEED is a charitable company whose mission is to create good products that help feed the world. Many may recognize her first  famous burlap tote bags with the word “FEED” printed on them–When purchased, the bag feeds one child in school for one year. FEED Projects has now expanded their product lines to include leather bags and clutches, and t-shirts with all profits funding children’s school lunches.

9. Doc Hendley, Wine to Water

While bartending to pay the bills, Doc Hendley noticed the men and women sitting on the stools seemed to want to be part of something bigger. Inspired from behind the bar, Hendley started Wine to Water with wine tasting and a humble donation jar. Hendley realized that just by using his ability to tend bars and create relationships with people, he might be able to help provide people with clean drinking water. So, at the bars where he worked, he started raising money to fight this water epidemic the best way he knew how, by pouring wine and playing music. Today Wine to Water not only raises money and brings awareness to the lack of clean drinking water in the developing world, but the organization (and also Doc himself) has dug, repaired, and sanitized drinking wells for nearly 25,000 people in five third world countries.  Hendley donates all of his speaking fees back to Wine to Water.

10. Jeff Civillico, Win-Win Entertainment

Jeff Civillico is a Vegas headliner, TV host, philanthropist, and founder of the charity Win-Win Entertainment. Not only has Civillico headlined more than a 1000 Vegas shows, he knows how to get your message across while being a fun and interactive host. See how Civillico gets the audience up and involved in team-building and trust exercises with chair pyramids, live juggling and unicycling. In addition to doing stage and screen events for multi-day events (he’s great for your conference recap videos), Civillico also works as an ambassador for organizations for charity events, offering to donate a portion of his fee in the name of the corporation.

These top-notch keynote speakers not only bring hype, and engaging, meaningful content to your event, but in booking them you are also contributing to charitable organizations that work to help those in need and make the world a better place.

Tasha Harris is the Content Associate at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau. She graduated with honors and a degree in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara.  She also holds a certificate in Publishing from the Denver Publishing Institute at the University of Denver. Contact her at