There are a great number of famous people around the world that are known for their charity work. It's not uncommon for the rich and famous to use their fortune and notoriety on spreading good deeds.

That being said, there seems to be a strong correlation between success in professional sports and giving back to the community. Today, we will look at the most charitable athletes in the world to see what makes them give back to their communities.

Why Are Athletes So Charitable?

Athletes tend to have a more regional mentality, as many athletes will build their careers in a certain location or within a franchise, sometimes for their entire tenure in the sport. Major franchises will house fan-favorites for years, building a more intimate relationship with the neighborhoods and people that occupy their stadiums.

Even for the decentralized athletes, like MMA fighters or professional wrestlers (both are represented on the most charitable athlete's list), they will have a local pride built into their fandom, often competing for the people that were in their neighborhoods when they were first starting out.

This localized mentality not only brings them closer to the people they influence the most, but it also makes these athletes a part of those neighborhoods. Some may argue the most charitable athletes are fans of their fans, and many recognize the connection between those diehard locals and their continued success in their sport.

Does Charity Help?

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That might be a silly question on its face, but the reality is sometimes it feels like money just doesn't do enough. You can't just throw money at a problem and expect things to improve. Solving the problems of humanity and helping other people build better lives takes the action and effort of countless individuals who take that donated money and turn it into something tangible.

Money alone can't solve the problem, though it is a vital component to running any charitable organization. You need boots on the ground doing the work and helping bring awareness to the world at large. The most charitable athletes on this list have not only donated money, but they have donated their time and public visibility to elevating their causes to the global stage.

Here are 10 of the Most Charitable Athletes in the World

There's a lot more to charity and giving back than just writing a check. While many of the most charitable athletes donate millions of dollars each year, there are some professional athletes that go above and beyond just sending cash.

These are the most charitable athletes in the world, and not just for the sheer amount of their fortunes they have donated, but for their actions in the public eye stumping for their favorite charitable organizations.

J. J. Watt

There's a lot more to charity and giving back than just writing a check. While many of the most charitable athletes donate millions of dollars each year, there are some professional athletes that go above and beyond just sending cash.

These are the most charitable athletes in the world, and not just for the sheer amount of their fortunes they have donated, but for their actions in the public eye stumping for their favorite charitable organizations.

Russell Wilson

The Seattle Seahawks have seen a great deal of success since welcoming Russell Wilson onto the team. This phenomenal quarterback shows his appreciation to the city by making himself a regular helper at the Seattle Children's Hospital.

He has turned the eyes of the charity back on his adopted hometown by starting the “Invested with Russell” organization, which aims to raise money that will be put back into the local community. He's one of the most charitable athletes on a local, neighborhood scale, and the rainy city loves him back for his efforts.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo is one of the most familiar and beloved athletes on the planet. The international appeal of Football has vaulted him to the world stage where his unmatched talent has made him a champion of the sport. Humble by most accounts, Ronaldo honors the legacy of his father by giving back to people in need when he can.

He has donated millions to individuals in need of medical assistance and auctioning off luxury items to fund certain foundations. He's one of the most charitable athletes on the list if you just consider the global reach of his efforts.

John Cena

This big and tough former professional wrestler may look intimidating, but judge him by his actions, and you'll see a kind and caring person. John Cena isn't one of the most charitable athletes because of the money he's donated, which has been substantial.

He's on this list because he marshals huge amounts of time to work with organizations he truly believes in. He's the record holder for most granted wishes from the world famous Make-A-Wish foundation, visiting and spending quality time with hundreds of young fans that dreamed of meeting their favorite WWE icon.

He's also a champion for the Susan G. Komen foundation and works with them to support women's health. Sometimes he wears all pink gear in the ring as a show of solidarity with the foundation and the cause they support.

Colin Kaepernick

Say whatever you will about Colin Kaepernick, but he is someone willing to put his career on the line for what he believes in. That spirit extends far beyond the field, as Kaepernick has donated extreme sums of money and time to charities close to his heart.

He is a big supporter of Home2Heart, an organization that gives help to single mothers in the Atlanta area by assisting them in furnishing their homes with beds and other necessary items. He is also a staunch supporter of the New York Coalition for the Homeless, helping assist the less fortunate people on the streets of New York City.

Serena Williams

This UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador is so much more than just a spokesperson and charitable donor. Serena Williams works with dozens of charity foundations to do everything from fighting the AIDS crisis in Africa to building schools in impoverished parts of Asia.

She has grown a network of goodwill across the globe, all while keeping herself amongst the top-ranked tennis players on the planet.

Michael Phelps

The world record holder for gold medals in a single Olympics, Michael Phelps has become an inspiration for young athletes all around the globe.

His efforts for charity have been legendary, even taking one of his first million dollar endorsement checks and using it to start a foundation of his own. He is also a regular contributor to the Make-A-Wish foundation, offering pool time with young swim fans.

Ronda Rousey

Once the undefeated champion in the octagon, Rousey saw her streak punched out at UFC 193. After that fight, instead of ducking out of the light, she leaned into it.

She turned her fame into a lightning rod for causes she feels passionate about. She is a regular member of the Free Rice Campaign and a staunch supporter of various foundations aimed at improving free mental health clinics around the United States.

Eli Manning

Eli Manning comes from one of American Football's dynasties, which makes it even more amazing that he can crack the list of most charitable athletes because he's competing with the legacies of his brother and father.

The Manning family has done much for their many charitable foundations, but Eli has gone above and beyond to help his community and people in need. He made his NFL bones playing for the Giants in New York, but his charity work extends far beyond the eastern seaboard.

He is a champion for the Eli Manning Children's Clinic in Mississippi. Eli has raised millions for this facility, ensuring thousands of children will receive the outpatient care they desperately need.

LeBron James

The current king of the court, LeBron James might be the king of charity as well. His namesake, the LeBron James Family Foundation, has averaged twenty million dollars in charitable contributions each year since 2015.

Though he's played outside of Ohio, the suburbs of Cleveland have benefitted the most from his contributions. His foundation has sent over three thousand people to college since its inception.

And, say what you will about his moving from town to town, because even his much-maligned move from Cleveland and the publicity that came with it was aimed at pumping more funds into the foundation, netting over two million dollars directed from proceeds of the infamous “Decision” series of advertisements.

Charity: Not Just for the Rich and Famous

We could expand the list of the world's most charitable athletes to fifty, and we still wouldn't run out of people to talk about.

Even though these charitable athletes have means and access to publicity for their works, it doesn't mean that you can't contribute to the same causes they do. While the donations and visible actions are great, none of these organizations could function without a full support team of dedicated and caring individuals from the private sector

We could expand the list of the world's most charitable athletes to fifty, and we still wouldn't run out of people to talk about.

Even though these charitable athletes have means and access to publicity for their works, it doesn't mean that you can't contribute to the same causes they do. While the donations and visible actions are great, none of these organizations could function without a full support team of dedicated and caring individuals from the private sector.

If any of the causes we discussed in this article are near and dear to your heart, or if you are looking for something worthwhile to put time and effort into, consider becoming a patron for a charity or helper organization in your neighborhood.

Just like the world's most charitable athletes, you can show your community how you feel by giving back to it.

Featured Image via Pixabay