Pop phenom Lady Gaga is going to Harvard — not to go back to school, but to launch the Born This Way Foundation, her first foray into setting up a non-profit as a charitable endeavor to channel her well-publicized support of gay rights, teens and ongoing fight against homophobia.
Gaga established the youth anti-bullying charity with her mother, Cynthia Germanotta, who commented: "My daughter's foundation was born out of her passion to create a better world where people are kinder and nicer to one another and are accepted for who they are, regardless of how different they may be."
"She has experienced many of the struggles that our youth encounter today, and identifies with the lasting effects they can have without proper support," her mother added. "Together, we look forward to creating a new movement that will engage and empower youth and accept them as valuable members of our society."
Her non-profit foundation focuses on “youth empowerment and issues like self-confidence, well-being, anti-bullying, mentoring and career development,” and will be unveiled on February 29th at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre, to an audience of policy makers, nonprofits, foundation leaders and youth, all committed to “a kinder and braver world,” according to a press release.
Lady Gaga’s pedigreed partners include Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, the Harvard Graduate School of Education, the John D. and Catherine MacArthur Foundation and The California Endowment.
“We share the spirit of the Born This Way Foundation in our commitment to inspire social change, empower youth and foster moral communities,” said Kathleen McCartney, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education. “It is an honor to host this historic event on our campus.”
Gaga is outspoken about bullying of gay youths. In just one example, she reacted to the suicide of bullied 14-year-old Jamey Rodemeyer by tweeting shortly afterwards: “The past days I’ve spent reflecting, crying and yelling. I have so much anger. It is hard to feel love when cruelty takes someone’s life.”
The vocal champion of gay rights just received a GLAAD Media Awards nomination in the Outstanding Music Artist category, but she's not speaking out for awards but to change behavior, stamp out homophobia and empower her fan base — lofty goals, but she has put her money where her mouth is, such as cancelling a deal with Target over its LGBT stance.
Named after Gaga’s latest album, the Born This Way Foundation is a heartening example of a unique entertainer whose rising star is casting light on all it touches. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook — but don't just follow, lead!